How to Find a Short-Term Rental

Are you studying abroad in the United States for only one semester? Or did you sign up for a summer-long internship in a different state? There are endless reasons you might be interested in a short-term rental, but you may find that landlords and property managers are less willing to consider this type of lease. If that’s true of your situation, consider these tips to help you find (or negotiate) a short-term lease!

What is a short-term lease?

Before diving into more details, you might be wondering, “What exactly is a short-term lease?” Or maybe you want to know, “How long is a short-term apartment lease?” A short-term lease is a rental contract that lasts for six months or less. Whereas a traditional lease locks you in for a full twelve months, short-term agreements involve a smaller commitment from the renter. While short-term leases are an excellent option for people who need to relocate temporarily, they can be challenging to come by.

Whatever your reasoning, a short-term rental comes with a ton of pros (and a few cons) that may influence your decision-making process. 

Pros of a short-term lease

  • Offers incredible flexibility (i.e., less commitment) for those transient seasons in life
  • Eliminates the need to provide 60+days notice before moving out
  • Provides the ability to get to know the area before signing onto a year-long lease
  • Can come furnished, saving you the hassle of moving your furniture (or paying more to hire a moving company)

Cons of a short-term lease

  • Requires you to move more often — and begin apartment hunting all over again
  • Are typically more expensive than 12-month terms, depending on the specific unit and/or how well you can negotiate with the landlord
  • Allows the potential for the landlord to change the standard terms of the lease (increased security deposit, altered pet policies, changed move-out requirements, etc.)

How to find short-term rentals

Despite their numerous benefits for renters, property managers do not favor this kind of lease. That’s because they have to find new tenants more often, which can make them apprehensive about accommodating short-term requests. 

Still, short-term apartments are gaining popularity among digital nomads, college students, and more, which is why it’s essential to know how to find short-term rentals in the event you need one someday.

1. Call around to leasing offices

The first step in your search strategy should be calling around to leasing offices in your area (or the neighborhood you’d like to live in). Since online listings may not highlight the option for a short-term lease, make a quick call to the property manager and ask whether they offer short-term agreements.

If you notice on their website that specific units have been sitting empty for a while, you can inquire about those apartments specifically; vacant spaces mean lost revenue for landlords, so they may be more open to discussing a month-to-month contract.

2. Practice your negotiation skills

While many landlords don’t specifically offer a short-term option, some are more than willing to negotiate a deal — so don’t be afraid to speak up! When it comes to negotiating a short-term lease, your best bet is to explain a bit about your situation and give context for why you need a place for the next few months. 

If you need a short-term rental for work, or you’re beginning the process of buying a house, you might be able to convince the landlord to make an exception and allow you to have a shorter stay in their building. 

Another great negotiation tactic is to prove you’d make a great tenant by providing rental history, pay stubs, or bank statements for the landlord to review. By showing proof of income or agreeing to a credit check, management knows you earn enough to cover the cost of rent (and can trust you to pay on time). 

If you want to take things even a step further, you can consent to a background check, find a cosigner for your lease, or offer a list of professional references. All of these efforts will help demonstrate you’re a responsible renter who’s ready to move in!

3. Complete the application process

Once you’ve found an apartment to live in short-term, you’re wise to do your due diligence and research the management and the apartment community. Read through online reviews to hear what former tenants have to say about the building (or who operates it), and make sure everything sounds fair and reputable. 

If you feel confident you’ve found a winner, you can complete the application by submitting all the necessary information or upfront fees. These fees could include the security deposit to reserve your spot. 

Find a short-term rental with ApartmentSearch

Although securing a short-term lease is sometimes easier said than done, ApartmentSearch can support you in finding a temporary home that suits your taste (and your budget)! Just visit our rental property search engine, and select the ‘short-term’ tab at the top to help you find a great place to call your own for the next little while.  

As you’re searching for a short-term lease, keep in mind that some communities offer furnished apartment units! A fully-furnished apartment provides convenience for renters who find themselves short on time or without moving help.  

And if your new apartment doesn’t come furnished, remember CORT Furniture Rental has everything you need to turn your limited-time space into a cute and comfy one!