3 reasons to combine short term lets with your BTR and PBSA community (and how to do it)

What springs to mind when you think about a short term let?

  • Tourism and weekends away?
  • City workers who just need a place to rest their head for the week before returning home for the weekend?
  • Or one-off tenants who perhaps don’t care about the community or the building dynamic?

Well, that attitude could be holding you back. Short term lets come with an abundance of opportunity for both the live-in communities and landlords of Build-to-Rent (BTR) developments, co-living, multifamily units and Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA).

The economy is adapting to suit a more transient lifestyle. Remote workers and gig economy workers are picking up short-term career moves that could see them reside in a new city for shorter periods. And with housing prices on the rise, renting is becoming a much more viable solution for families and individuals.

Let’s take a look at how and why short term lets can be successfully combined with your existing BTR and PBSA communities.

Filled rooms provide income

Filled rooms are more valuable than void units. It’s that simple. If you were looking for a short term let yourself - say, for a month or two - would you prefer to pay for a hotel? The answer is most likely no. You would need something in between.

Ask yourself, what do you consider to be a short term let? One month? Perhaps three?

We must drop the preconception that associates short term lets with travellers and careless holidaymakers. A filled bed generates more income and increases the value of your building. Not to mention, many short-term lets convert to long term after experiencing the lifestyle. A welcoming community and cohesion of management techniques will help to deliver a consistent dynamic that makes that transition so much easier and more attractive.

These are real people with real needs to be met. Why not grasp that opportunity by welcoming this market into your community?

A changing landscape

The demand for private rental accommodation continues to rise. With house prices increasing, the dream of buying property is often reserved to just that - a dream. It is predicted that by the end of 2021, there will be 5.79million households renting.

Along with the burgeoning gig economy, and the increase in remote and agile working, people’s jobs are becoming more transient and flexible. This not-so-new phenomenon affords workers the luxury of moving either away from or into big cities or testing out a new lifestyle. Real estate professionals have to adapt in order to cater for this entire new pool of renters. And in this changing market, how certain can you be that your long term lets are truly here to stay? Being open to short term lets will arm you with protection and diversity in the face of the unexpected.

A solution for term breaks in accommodation

In Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA), hundreds of void units are available between term time - sometimes up to twelve weeks during the Summer.

Considering short term lets is one of the best ways to introduce temporary renters into those units, keeping the building lights on, and revenue optimised.

Developing creative ways to maximise your revenue through short term rentals is not just reserved for Build-to-Rent (BTR) landlords. PBSA in coveted locations and big cities are attractive to many short term renters who may be interning, working, attending cultural events or conferences or learning a language in another city. To miss out on that opportunity could lead to big losses in revenue.

How to create a successful combination in your build to rent asset or PBSA

As we know, maintaining the right dynamic of communal living relies on a carefully balanced, holistic approach. The correct management of community, facilities, people, and budget. It comes down to meeting expectations across the community and ensuring everyone feels safe, comfortable, listened to, and cared for.

The worry is of course that introducing short term lets into your BTR and PBSA community may result in a lack of cohesion that creates poor living standards or problems for your long term lets.

How can landlords begin to consider opening up to shorter term rentals, while protecting that dynamic?

Partnering with a service provider such as Staykeepers means you don’t have to take on that risk alone. Staykeepers use their technology, data, and historic trends to find the right people for your rooms and apartments, and sell units at the right price. With a range of services available to support landlords and management, Staykeepers can ensure your existing customer base is cared for, while opening up your building to new markets.

However, it is down to the building operators to make the following decisions:

  • What do you consider a ‘short term let’? A month? Two months? Three?
  • What is important to your long term renting community and what can you do to preserve this? Events, facilities, location? Are there rules and regulations that could be introduced to protect your assets if indeed you have evidence that short-term tenants have caused an issue in the past?
  • Do you have other plans to fill void units if long term lettings are low. If so, are they as reliable and abundant as the current pool of short term renters?
  • How will you welcome short term lets into the community in order to maintain the dynamic? Operators and management should be fully briefed on how to carefully balance the two, while welcoming short term lets as potential future long-term renters.
  • Can you nurture the operations team to evolve their attitudes to short-term tenants and instead view their experiences, skills and characters as a vital and dynamic addition to your building?

Property developers and landlords were shaken by the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to protect themselves and ensure the value of their properties, adaptation is necessary. As mentioned above, communal living is holistic and inclusive of everyone’s needs and expectations - it should not discriminate. Diversifying your rental pool could be the solution to securing regular income and protecting yourself from uncertainty.

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