Why are Short-Term Leases Harder to Find?

Short-term leases offer renters a ton of flexibility. If you need to move for work, family, or any reason, you'll be able to do so without breaking a longer lease. If you're new to an area, a short-term leases (especially month-to-month leases) gives you the freedom to explore the city and all of its neighborhoods so you can find the best match for your lifestyle. 

Despite the advantages of a short-term lease, there are a few downsides for both renters and landlords. In fact, these downsides are far greater for landlords and apartment communities, making short-term leases more difficult to come by. Few feel that there is much benefit to offering them.

Short-term leases cost apartment communities more money,  and are therefore harder to find and more expensive than longer lease lengths.
Short-term leases cost apartment communities more money, 
and are therefore harder to find and more expensive than longer
lease lengths.

When short-term leases are made available, they're typically more expensive than a traditional 12-month lease. The reason being is that short-term leases cost landlords and apartments more

Apartments and landlords prefer longer leases to short-term leases because it means that they will have to spend less time and money preparing the apartment for the next resident. If a lot of people go for 6-month leases (or even shorter), those apartments have to be prepped every few months for the next renter, and the process of doing so eats away at a lot of resources.

Each time residents move out, the apartment community has to advertise that the apartment is available and work on getting it ready for the new renter. The combined cost of deep cleaning, repainting, replacing damaged carpeting, and making necessary repairs adds up.

If a landlord or apartment can't find someone to move into the apartment immediately, they lose revenue for each month the apartment sits empty. This is money that they wouldn't have otherwise lost had the original renter signed a longer lease.

In summation, short-term leases are more expensive and are riskier (i.e. more unstable) for apartment communities to offer, making them less common. When they do appear on the market, apartments need to price them higher to recoup the money that they'll sink into preparing it for the next renter a few months down the road.

Paying more each month isn't the only drawback for renters, though. If you renew your short-term lease, you'll be paying even more in the long run. When you renew once your lease is up, your may even see your rent go up a little. Apartments and landlords can modify the lease terms on short-term leases more frequently and raise rents just as often.

These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of RentJax.com or any of our advertising partners.