Whether you’re hoping to let out your home for a few months or arrange a short-term tenancy on a rental property, it’s important to get to grips with the rules before you go ahead. 

Here we explain how short-term lettings work, what the rules are, and some other things you might want to consider.

What is a short-term let?

A short-term let is simply as it sounds – a rental agreement that lasts for a short period of time, typically anywhere between four weeks to six months, although it can be as brief as a single night. Letting a property for a short period of time can be a lucrative option, as you may be able to charge more rent than longer-term lets. However, there are additional costs to consider, and regularly letting out a property for short-term periods can be time-consuming. 

Short-term lets generally fall into one of two categories:

Residential short-term lets

This type of short-term let tends to be offered for longer periods of, for example, six months, compared to a holiday let that may be offered for weeks or days. It’s likely that all furniture will need to be provided and bills may be included in the arrangement, but not always.

Residential short-term lets can be a good option if you want a relatively consistent stream of rental income for a set period.

Holiday lets

Holiday lets are usually much shorter-term, enabling you to let your property or room for as little as a week or one night. Since the introduction of platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo, renting your property out – whether it’s your home or a rental property –  for short periods of time has become increasingly popular as a means of producing additional income.

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Why arrange a short-term let?

Of course, there are many reasons why you might want to let a property out for weeks or months, rather than a longer-term period. You might be planning to sell the property soon, or just to test the waters before committing to anything long term, or the property might be in a popular holiday location, so you can get more income renting it on a short-term basis.

If you are only letting a property for the short term, you may also be able to make use of it yourself during periods when it isn’t let

Who might be interested in a short-term let?

If you’re renting a property out for a short period you may attract, for example, someone looking for somewhere to stay while on holiday; a contracted worker who works in different locations for short periods; someone wanting to experience living in a different location for a while, or perhaps someone who is waiting for other more permanent housing to be arranged/finalised.

Can I let my property for a short period?

If you’re considering letting out your property for a few weeks or months, it’s important that you understand whether this is an option for you and what the rules are. Here we outline four of the most common scenarios:

Short-term letting as a homeowner

If you own your home outright, the good news is that you’ll probably have the easiest time letting out part or all of your property, as you won’t need consent from a mortgage lender to do so. 

However, if your property is a leasehold property, or if your property is a managed flat or part of a housing association, you will likely need permission from the freeholder and any other authorising parties before you can let it out.

Short-term letting with a residential mortgage

If you have a standard residential mortgage and you are thinking about letting out part or all of your property for a short period, it’s vital that you check your mortgage agreement, as many lenders have terms and conditions that prohibit you from letting out your home without their permission. If you breach these terms, there’s a risk that you could be committing mortgage fraud. In the worst-case scenario, this could see you incur a hefty fine or even face a prison sentence. 

However, your lender might offer ‘consent to let’, which is essentially a short-term solution. This allows you to let your property for a set period, usually on a residential basis (i.e. to a single person for six months). Bear in mind that every lender approaches this differently, but it’s becoming increasingly common for lenders to include Airbnb as an acceptable way of renting your property in their consent to let criteria, so it’s worth asking if they will allow this. 

Not all lenders will agree to give you consent to let, in which case you will either need to wait until you’ve paid off your mortgage to let it out or explore alternative mortgage options, such as a holiday let mortgage or a buy to let mortgage.  Learn more in our article Can you change a residential mortgage to a buy to let mortgage? 

Short term letting when renting

Many landlords will not allow their tenants to sublet their properties, but this depends on your situation, the relationship you have with your landlord, and the type of property.

It is essential that you do not let out your rented home without the express, written consent of your landlord, as you could be committing housing fraud which could mean that you, your landlord, and those you sublet to could all face fines and possible prison time.

Short-term letting with a buy to let mortgage

While you may think that there is little difference in renting out your property for a short period of time versus a longer period, a large number of buy to let mortgage lenders will have specific terms and conditions outlined in their mortgage agreements stating the type of tenancies allowed. These also usually include the minimum / maximum tenancy periods they will allow. 

Again, if you are looking to rent out your buy to let property on a short-term let basis it is vital you discuss this with your lender first. If you breach the terms of your mortgage agreement, you could face a number of penalties including repossession, fines and prison time. If your lender does not agree to you letting out your property on a short-term basis, you may need to explore alternative mortgage options, such as a holiday let mortgage, which we cover below, or a buy to let mortgage. Find out more about buy to let mortgages in our guide Understanding buy to let mortgages.

What is a holiday let mortgage?

Specialist holiday let mortgages are generally more expensive than standard mortgages. They also aren’t widely available, and you may need to seek help from a specialist broker to find the right deal for you. Although the holiday let market is predicted to grow by 4% per year, according to Hodge Bank, they might become more readily available in the future.

Holiday let mortgages have some similarities to buy to let mortgages, but your lender is aware that the property will be let for short periods of time and factored in the specific risks associated with this scenario. To reflect these holidays let mortgages usually require:

  • High deposits – usually between 25% and 35%, but as with standard mortgages, the higher the deposit, the better the rate you are likely to get on your mortgage.


  • Higher interest rates – Holiday let mortgage interest rates are usually higher than a standard residential mortgage, and in some cases higher than buy to let mortgages, so it really pays to shop around before applying. Find out more in our guide Holiday let or buy to let: which is better? 
  • Interest-only – Much like buy to let mortgages, holiday let mortgages are likely to be arranged on an interest-only basis, so when the mortgage term ends, the value of the original amount borrowed will need to be repaid. During the mortgage term, you will only pay interest on the amount borrowed.


  • Tougher affordability assessments – Many holiday let mortgage lenders will want to see that you have a stream of income that is separate from the holiday or short-term let. This gives them the assurance that if you have periods when the property isn’t let, you’ll still be able to cover the mortgage payments. They’ll also look at your projected letting income, and many will want to see evidence of this from a reputable holiday lettings agency.


  • Higher stamp duty – You’ll need to pay Stamp Duty when buying a property that costs more than £250,000, with the rate of tax you need to pay rising alongside the property value. If you’re taking out a holiday let mortgage on a second property, you’ll also pay an additional 3% Stamp Duty on top of usual rates for your new property. You can read more about this in our article Stamp Duty explained.

Want to speak to a mortgage advisor? Speaking to an experienced mortgage advisor can help you to understand your options and get a great deal on your mortgage.

If you’re looking for expert mortgage advice, you can get a free consultation with an independent mortgage adviser at Fidelius. Speak with a qualified, FCA-regulated, independent mortgage adviser you can trust. Rated 4.7/5 on VouchedFor from over 1,000 reviews.

How to arrange a short term let

The most important thing to do before you advertise your property is to make absolutely sure that you have permission to do so, whether that’s from your mortgage lender, landlord or housing association. The consequences of breaking a mortgage or rental agreement can be severe, including losing your property, not being lent to again, fines and prison time.

Decide how you want to let

Once you’ve got the green light to start letting your property, you’ll need to consider whether you want to offer short-term residential accommodation or a holiday let. The answer to this question will likely be swayed by the type of property you are intending to let. For example, if you are looking to let your spare room or annex to someone for three to six months then a residential let might be right for you, whereas if you have a self-contained property in a popular tourist destination or beauty spot, then a holiday let might be better.

Check local authority rules and regulations

It’s likely that wherever you are in the UK, there will be a number of rules and regulations you need to abide by. For example, in some areas of Greater London, you can rent your property out for up to 90 nights a year without issue, but for anything more than this, you might need to get special planning permission from your local council.

You will also likely need to meet a number of health and safety conditions, including gas and electric safety requirements and fire safety as a minimum. 

Wherever you live, your best bet is to get in touch with your local council to understand exactly what rules, laws and regulations you need to follow. While it may seem like another hurdle to get over, checking before you get started could save you a lot of stress later down the line.

You can find the contact details for your local council here.

Prepare your property for listing

When you’ve decided how you want to let your property, you can consider the more fun side of things, such as decorating and furnishing the property, if needed, alongside taking photos and creating your listing. It’s common practice for short-term lets to come fully furnished and often with kitchenware and other home appliances so your tenant or holidaymaker doesn’t have to bring anything with them.

Get insurance

While some short-term lettings websites will provide you with liability insurance that will cover you for injury of anyone who stays in your property or any items that are stolen or damaged during their stay, you will also want to make sure your property, furniture and possessions are protected.

If you have a mortgage of any type on your property, you’re legally required to have buildings insurance, but as you’ll likely be furnishing the property, you’ll also need contents insurance so that you’re protected if anything is damaged or stolen. Learn more about home insurance in our article Your essential guide to home insurance.

A standard contents insurance policy is unlikely to cover you for a short-term let, so you may want to consider short-term letting insurance, also known as short-term landlord insurance. It’s not the most common product, so you might have to look for specialist insurers, but you’ll have the reassurance that you are covered if anything happens. Find out more in our guide What is landlord insurance and do you need it?

Whichever product you go for, make sure you read the fine print and that you’re completely honest when applying for your insurance, if your insurer finds out that anything you claimed wasn’t accurate, they may not pay out when you make a claim.

Determine your price

Finding the right price point for your property is important. You don’t want to price it too high and risk getting no interest or too low and failing to make a profit. To see what kind of prices your property can attract, have a look at similar properties in your area, and take particular note of any additional or separate fees that they outline. 

Make sure you remember any additional costs you’ll have to pay. Short-term lets usually include the cost of all bills, so you’ll want to factor this into your calculations, but don’t forget about paying for things like council tax and insurance.

List your property

How you list your property will depend on what type of short-term let you have chosen, but there are a number of reputable platforms you can use:

  • For short-term residential lets, most estate agents will offer a short-term lettings service, but this will usually come at a cost, or you could explore platforms such as SpareRoom where you can list your property for free, or pay a small fee to have your listing prioritised.
  • For holiday lets, there are a couple of well-known sites such as Airbnb where you can list your property for free and only pay a service charge when you make a booking or Vrbo which allows you to list your property for a fee each year.

Whatever you opt for, most of these platforms offer a help centre, an advice service, or a community platform that can help you navigate exactly how to go about listing your property.

Don’t forget about income tax

Any income you get from your short-term let property is just like any other income, so you will pay tax on all income that exceeds your personal allowance, which in the 2022/2023 tax year is £12,570, and includes your rental income. You can read more about this in our article How is my buy to let property taxed?

If you have a holiday let, there are appealing tax benefits. As they’re classed as a business rather than an investment, you’re able to deduce 100% mortgage interest costs from rental income before your tax bill is worked out. You also get capital allowances for property improvements and wear and tear. However, you’ll need to factor in regular change-overs which can be expensive if you need someone to do this for you.

If your gross annual income from letting out your property is £1,000 or less, then thanks to property allowance rules, this income is not taxable and it doesn’t need to be reported to the taxman. You cannot claim any loss or deduction for property expenses if you use the property allowance relief. Find out more about the property allowance at Gov.uk

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