Renting Out Your Home Short Term
Archived Q&A and Reviews
- Renting out our furnished home for a year
- Renting our house for a short term
- Renting out our home while on sabbatical
- Thinking about renting out our home while we're away
We are planning on taking a year long trip in a few years (summer 2018-summer 2019) and would like to rent our home - furnished - for the year that we are gone. Has anyone here had experience with this before and found a great way to do it or is it just Craigslist? I feel like we have a great home for a visiting professor with a family (Alameda, four bedrooms, two baths, good public schools etc.)...is there a good place to list our home for this purpose? thanks! CHS
We had good luck listing our furnished home for a year (while we were on sabbatical) with sabbaticalhomes.com. There is a small charge to advertise, but we found the site easy to use. We got a good number of serious replies, and ended up renting to a visiting academic and family for the year. RK
We are contemplating renting our house while we are away for my husband's work this summer and fall. If we decide to rent it, we are considering two options: renting the house on airbnb (and pay a friend to check in/out the guests, check for damage, schedule the cleaner, etc) or rent to one family for the entire time.
I would love advice from people with experience owning rentals (where to get rental agreements, how much deposit to require, special clauses for a short term lease), from anyone who has experience renting on airbnb, vbro, etc. and from anyone who has rented out their entire home for a few months (if we rent to one family for the entire time, do we pack up our dishes and pots and pans, etc.?)
Our plan is to remove valuables from the house to a safety deposit box and store clothes and personal items in one of the bedrooms. Thank you!
We rented out our house for 7 months and had a positive experience. We rented it furnished but removed our most special/breakable things. The thing that made it most do-able was finding a family that needed it for the right length of time that were home-owners and who knew someone we knew..so there was some personal reference ( through my husband's work). Both of us had young children so they LIKED all the toys and kid gear, so that was also great.Because it was clear to us that we wouldn't worry about them as renters, we dropped the price by, maybe, $200 a month. We also paid for our maid and gardener to keep coming 2 times a month..and they kept us informed of how the house was doing. This was a winning experience. We got the rental agreement at a business store. Oh, and they didn't smoke. They were moving from the East Coast so they/we knew their dates. By contrast the( local) prospective renters who were looking for a short term rental because of a big remodel were harder to work with because they kept trying to change the dates and kept trying to make their dates provisionally based on where the contractor was..which didn't work with our firm dates for being away. Good luck. J
Airbnb or vbro rentals are a lot of work! People usually use those for terms of a week or less. That is too much work for a friend! If you are going to be gone six months, then I would suggest you do a sublet through craigslist. Sublets are generally fully furnished, including sheets, towels, dishes, etc. You may want to check with Berkeley Property Owners Association for information about leases. Make sure your ad has all the details and good pictures. Anon
It is a LOT less work, not to mention wear and tear on your house, to have one tenant or family, rather than a hotel type situation. Be sure to go through all the formalities, such as complete application, credit check or credit report, and check references before the tenants move in. Be sure to have a lease. See the Nolo Book on Landlord Law, (it is at the Library). It has a CD with forms. You will still want your friend on standby to handle tenant issues and answer questions, since you will be far away. Lynn
We have a lovely 3-bedroom home in Berkeley and might be taking a sabbatical for a year or possibly, even 2. Rather than moving our furniture & things, we are thinking of renting out our place furnished. Does this lower the possible rent that we could get? What kinds of things should we consider while we rent out our place furnished? Also, I've heard that tenants rights are very strong in Berkeley -- when we want our home back in a year (or two) is it possible for the tenant to refuse to move? Wondering what the best thing to do is... anon
My husband and I rent properties, some in Berkeley. Financially you can do very well with it if you understand the work involved. The nice thing about a single family home is that Berkeley does treat that differently than a larger complex in terms of rent issues. That said, I would still try to rent to someone who you are very clear with that you will be moving back at a set time. I would put that in the lease. Start by getting the NOLO press landlord/tennant book. Also - you have to be prepared for if they move out early, or don't pay rent, or have a problem with the house and you aren't in the area. You will need a relative or friend, or a property manager to deal with anything that happens while you are gone. Often something that does not act up when you are in the house (like your plumbing) all the sudden starts to clog when renters are there. You need to be OK with real wear and tear. The first time we rented our Berkeley home and had just redone the floors, I almost cried when I saw how scratched they were after a year and a half. It would have been different if we ourselves had slowly caused the scratches, you know? If you leave it furnished, you would need to be prepared for that with your furniture as well as the home. I haven't seen much difference in price for furnished or not, but it will affect who applies to be your tenant - maybe in a good way, maybe in a bad way. So I would think about that more then the impact on the rent. Because who is in your home is the most important thing. Enjoy your sabbatical!
Check with the faculty housing office. Another family on sabbatical would be ideal for your home. If you make the lease term less than 12 months, most tenant protections will not go into effect. If you work with the university, the family that takes your home will be better vetted than if you random-access through Craigslist. Amelia the Realtor
Yes, tenants are well-protected in Berkeley, as landlords must have ''good cause'' to evict. But if you are leaving your home temporarily and it is understood you will return, you have good cause to evict your tenants if they do not leave as agreed. From the Berkeley Rent Board website, here is the provision (one of the good causes in Berk. Municipal Code sec. 13.76.130 A.):
''10. A landlord or lessor seeks in good faith to recover possession of the rental unit for his/her occupancy as a principal residence, where the landlord or lessor has previously occupied the rental unit as his/her principal residence and has the right to recover possession of the unit for his/her occupancy as a principal residence under an existing rental agreement with the current tenants.'' anon
Look at sabbaticalhomes.com. It costs a small amount to advertise, but potential renters can view for free (the opposite of the Ca housing office, which reduces the number of potential tenants who will see your ad!).
It's intended primarily for those associated in some way with academic institutions, so tends to be people on sabbatical, most of them looking for furnished places to spend the year. You can also look for a home exchange there, which might also suit your needs. R.K.
We're considering moving to China with our 9-month-old daughter for at least a year but don't want to give up our Bay Area home. What are the pros & cons of renting our home in this market? Some say we should sell and invest the money rather than put up with the landlord headaches from thousands of miles away. We do have some relatives here, but we can't expect them to keep a constant eye on things. How much work would an agent do on our behalf? Thanks! Sean
I strongly urge you to get someone to manage your rental. A property manager will advertise the house, screen potential tenants and run credit checks, select a tenant, collect the rent, handle any problems with either rent collection or household maintenance and, if necessary, evict the tenant. You will get a monthly check minus a certain percentage and beautiful records at the end of the year for your taxes. If your house is in Berkeley a good property manager will know to pay interest on your deposit each December to your tenants, among other things. If your house isn't in Berkeley, it is still good to have someone who is knowledgeable about state laws, because laws are changing all the time.
Plus, should your tenant leave while you are still out of the country, there is now a law that they are entitled to a walk-though prior to vacating in order to give them a chance to mitigate any deductions from their deposit. It therefore is a great idea to have a specialist who can handle doing this so you don't have to come back to do it.
Also, you should be aware that you will pay a significant tax to the State of California should you decide not to return and you sell your rental house. Talk with a tax specialist about this. Been there, done that
1. You can register with eHousing.com, Metrorent and Homefinders. They all allow property owners to list properties for free. The Montclarion and East Bay Express also work. Try the UC Berkeley housing office. They have listings that are viewable only to faculty (e.g. professors teaching at Berkeley for just a year).
2. The two most important things to check with renters are their credit rating and their references (i.e. current landlord). If their application is incomplete or information is inconsistant, that is a bad sign.
3. The NOLO books are pretty good. Also consider joining the Rental Housing Association of Northern Alameda County. Then you have access to lease forms, information and advice from the California Apartment Association, and credit reports.