vacation rental

Long-Term vs. Short-Term Vacation Rentals: Which is a Better Investment?

Vacation rentals can be rented short-term or long-term. Short term residents can rent for 3-10 days while long-term renters typically remain in the residence for around a month. An investor wants the most return on their investment, but many factors can affect your monthly income. These are some of the things to consider before choosing long-term or short-term.

Rental Income 

Renting long-term may give a lower rental revenue for the month because someone is less likely to pay $150 per night if they plan on staying for 30 days or more. Most vacation rentals offer a discount for those that are planning to stay this amount of time. Naturally, this means that you’ll receive less monthly rental income for a long-term guest. Short-term visitors are likely to pay more per night depending on the location of your vacation rental. At the end of the month, you’ll have much more income.


One of the biggest parts of a vacation rental is keeping your accommodation filled. Long-term guests stay for a month or more, which means you have to market a lot less compared to short-term guests. It isn’t unusual for a vacation rental owner to spend several hours advertising their property for people to be able to book on various websites, and they don’t always fill all their slots. 

Long-term rentals may also have issues with squatters. This is when someone stays in your house for an extended period of time without paying. It can be difficult to kick a squatter, especially since they can cause damage to your home, which requires repair before renting the property again. 


Many laws are tailored toward short-term rental properties. For example, if you wish to visit your property and you’re renting to a long-term resident, you have to provide adequate notice. However, a short-term vacation rental owner can enter their property immediately once the guests leave. However, some homeowner’s associations may have restrictions against allowing you to rent your property to someone that doesn’t intend to stay for 30 days or more.

Monthly Utilities 

Utilities at long-term rentals can sometimes be quite pricey, but it’s possible for you to have the guest pay for these costs. It does require you to advertise initially that you expect them to pay for the lights, gas, water, and other expenses. Keep in mind that charging for utilities could affect the amount of time that your property remains occupied.

Short-term residents usually don't pay for monthly utilities, meaning you need to account for that in your monthly expenses whether there are tenants or not. It’s possible that you can include these services as part of the nightly price, but it’s necessary to remain competitive with the other vacation rental properties in the area. A higher cost may cause some people to look elsewhere for residence. 

Personal Use

Long-term renting means you’ll have someone in your vacation rental much longer than a short-term guest. This can make it difficult to take a break and personally use your home for a week or so between renters. Short-term renting gives you more opportunity to use your vacation home to spend some time relaxing in a beautiful area.  

Last Updated: September 13, 2016