We are all familiar with the traditional apartment lease, but what might come to a surprise is that many apartment communities offer shorter leases, month-to-month up to 6-months, than the typical 12-month lease. Finding the right apartment can be a process all on its own, but for those who do not plan to stay in a place long enough to sign a typical lease finding a short term rental has gotten even more challenging. To help make the apartment search process a little simpler here are several benefits and drawbacks to short-term leases, so that you choose the best lease term for your needs.
You Have Options
A huge benefit to a short-term lease is more mobility. Many renters are drawn to renting short-term because of the flexibility to move to another apartment that better suits their needs, after the agreement’s duration, without the penalty of breaking a lease. So whether you have taken a temporary job or are new to a city and want the freedom to explore different neighborhoods, a short-term lease is a very attractive option.
Live The Way You Want
While many renters do not want to worry about moving, many need the reassurance of moving on short notice. One perk to renting month-to-month is the flexibility to either pick up and move, or springboard into a year long lease if you decide to stay put.
Even in a short-term lease you will still need to provide proper notice to your landlord should you decide to move out. A shorter leases term will provide more flexibility, but it is not without regulations and requirements.
Provides Minimal Stability
Signing a short-term lease, such as a month-to-month, can have a negative impact on your rental history. If you are jumping from one month-to-month lease to another it can make you look like a risky credit investment to your next landlord. Too many credit inquiries can tank your credit score, and changing address frequently will leave a bad impression.
Your Rent Can Fluctuate
The freedom to move as you want will come at a higher cost. Landlords prefer long-term residents and the more affordable lease options are those spread out over 12 months or more. Apartment communities will set the rent rate as they see fit in a short-term lease because of the higher turnover in a unit. Most will even charge you more in monthly rent on a short-term lease to help cover the cost of repairs and cleaning after move-out.
A landlord can also change the terms of your short-term lease, after it has expired, which can leave you vulnerable to an increase in rent without enough time to search for other housing options. Short-term leases can sound like a great alternative for those always on the move, but they are not for everybody.
Many apartment communities consider short-term leases risky and not cost-effective, therefore you will have to do some searching to find one. In markets like San Antonio where demand is high your short-term lease options may be reduced. Renting an apartment on a short-term lease might limit your search, but if it important for you then working with a licensed apartment locator in your area who is knowledgeable would be most beneficial.
*A previous version of this article appeared on Angie’s List.