Letter to the editor: Make long-term rentals more desirable for owners

Jack Kriss

Let’s seek opportunities to improve efficiencies of long-term rentals, making them as desirable for owners as short-term rentals while benefiting our communities.

Long-term rental property owners face many potential challenges: significant damages, filthy conditions and lower and/or unpaid rents. There are costs that result in negative returns. Conversely, these challenges are mitigated for short-term rentals. How might these challenges be minimized to create positive returns and encourage more long-term rentals?

First, like short-term rentals, long-term agreements might include routine cleaning. Yes, tenants might have increased monthly rent, but they would enjoy guilt-free playtime. The owner benefit would be a reasonably clean asset, reducing greater costs at the end of a lease. Community benefit: more jobs.

Second, include routine inspections, perhaps during cleaning. Damages or necessary repairs would be identified and fixed early, reducing the chance of it becoming a future costly event. Community benefit: more work.

Third, require employer sponsorship for long-term tenants. Sponsorship connects invested locals to transient tenants. Employers might not be held liable for tenants, but their influence could be significant, particularly for future references or timely final paychecks. Community benefit: increased accountability.

Fourth, local government entities should consider development of a VRBO-style website for our area, connecting long-term renters, property owners and employers. An integrated feedback system could provide background and past rental history on tenants and property owners. Community benefit: an accurate inventory of available housing and an efficient mechanism for matching tenants with property owners.

Fifth, a la Winter Park, offer per bedroom subsidies or other financial incentive such as reduced property taxes. Community benefit: reduction in taxes and/or lower long-term rental rates.

Finally, employers should continue to investigate the feasibility of providing employee housing.

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