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Living in a Rental With a Short-Term Lease Agreement

Whether you’re looking for a temporary home or long-term housing, it’s crucial to examine your lease agreement before moving. After all, getting into a long-term lease agreement can eliminate your ability to move quickly if necessary. On the other hand, a short-term lease agreement can provide more flexibility. So let’s go over the basics of a short-term lease agreement and who they’re most ideal for. 


Contents of This Article: 

What Is a Short-Term Lease Agreement?

Whether you’re a vacation rental owner, landlord, or property manager in Philadelphia, you’re likely no stranger to a short-term lease agreement. A short-term lease agreement is a lease that lasts anywhere from three to six months and can be month-to-month. While most lease agreements are 12 months or longer, short-term lease agreements offer more flexibility for renters who don’t plan to stay long. 


Short-term leases also may refer to vacation rental stays. For instance, if you’re staying at an Airbnb for a week or two, you’ll likely need to sign an agreement stating the landlord’s terms and conditions. That said, short-term rentals are usually more cost-effective than staying in hotels if you’re staying somewhere for a week or more. 

However, short-term lease agreements are also used in traditional rental homes. Whether you’re relocating for a job, visiting family for an extended period of time, or renovating a primary property, short-term lease agreements can be highly beneficial. 

Essentially, living in a rental with a short-term lease is the same as living in a typical rental home but without the commitment of a year-long lease. Next, let’s discuss some more differences between a short-term and long-term lease agreement. 

Short-Term Lease vs. Long-Term Lease

Short-term leases offer flexibility and convenience, which is why some people opt for them instead of long-term leases. On the other hand, long-term lease agreements are great for people looking to stay in one place for an extended period of time. They generally offer more stability and cater to tenants that plan to live in a rental property for a year or more. For instance, long-term leases are ideal for people who: 

  • Relocate permanently for a job
  • Establish a family and want stability
  • Value long-term security in a rental home
  • Don’t want to move from their current location
  • Have long-term financial plans

While most landlords offer long-term leases, there are several reasons people seek a short-term agreement instead. Here’s who they’re most ideal for. 

Who Are Short-Term Leases Ideal For?

Rental housing is generally more convenient than buying a home for most people. However, it largely depends on the property type, your lease terms, and the length of your lease agreement. For example, people looking for stable housing for a year or more often look for a rental home with a year-long lease. 

On the other hand, some renters don’t want to be locked into a lease agreement for an entire year. In that case, short-term leases are much more ideal. That said, short-term leases are ideal for the following tenants and scenarios: 


  • Relocating for a job and need temporary accommodation
  • Visiting friends or family for an extended time period
  • Renovating your primary property
  • Waiting for your property sale to close
  • Moving around the country for work or school
  • Overseas traveling for a month or more

Of course, short-term leases are helpful in more than just the above scenarios. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any downsides. Read along as we review short-term lease agreements’ pros and cons. 

Pros and Cons of a Short-Term Lease Agreement

When it comes to rental housing, tenants need to do their research before signing a lease agreement. After all, you could unknowingly agree to a long lease or terms you don’t agree with. As such, you’ll want to evaluate the pros and cons of a short-term lease agreement before moving into a short-term rental.

Benefits of a Short-Term Lease Agreement

  • Flexibility– Short-term leases only last a brief period of time, depending on where you’re renting. Instead of committing to a year-long lease agreement, you can decide to end your lease and move when it’s most convenient for you. 
  • Easy Transition– If your year-long lease expires, but you’re not ready to move out yet, your landlord might offer a month-to-month agreement until you find alternative housing. This makes your transition from a long-term rental much easier and less stressful. 
  • Less Financial Penalty– If you break a long-term lease, you’ll have to pay fees and risk losing your security deposit. However, short-term leases offer more flexible move-out dates, meaning you won’t have to pay fees for leaving when you choose.
  • Usually Furnished– Depending on what type of short-term rental you choose, like a vacation home, it may come furnished. As a result, a furnished apartment or Airbnb saves several costs for renters. 


Disadvantages of a Short-Term Lease Agreement

  • Less Stability– If you’re looking for a long-term place to reside, a short-term lease can be more costly to renew. As such, you may look for a long-term rental home instead. 
  • Lower Availability– Short-term rentals carry more liability for landlords, so they may be hard to find when you need them. In fact, some landlords may not even offer a short-term lease, which reduces the number of short-term rentals available. 
  • Higher Rent– Since short-term rentals are often less stable for landlords, they generally have higher rates than long-term rentals. As such, you can expect to pay more for a short-term rental than you would over time in a long-term rental home. 
  • Short Termination Notice– Just as you can lease a short-term lease when it’s convenient for you, your landlord can do the same. While they still have to give notice, you may have to move even if you’re not ready. 

How to Find a Suitable Rental Near You

If you’re looking for rental housing, it’s important to evaluate your lease agreement before moving in. First, consider your goals and plans for your new rental property, whether you’d rather have a long-term or a short-term lease agreement. Both have pros and cons, but short-term leases are aligned for those needing more flexibility. On the other hand, long-term leases are great for those that don’t plan on moving any time soon. 

If you’re looking for a new home, Bay Property Management Group can work with you to find the best rental for your budget and needs. Check out our current listings and contact us to learn more about the property!

Need More Advice? contact us today!

In addition, if you own rental properties and need help facilitating lease agreements and tenant screening procedures, we’ve got you covered in that sector, too! Contact BMG today to learn more about our services in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Northern Virginia, or Washington, DC.