Pros & Cons Of The Short Term Rental

Given that around 95% of the inventory in New York City consists of "one-year" rentals, it can be challenging for those who are in the market for something different:  a short-term rental.  While the phrase “short-term rental” gets thrown around a lot and can mean any rental less than a year, we’re referring to rentals of more than 30 days and less than 12 months. is the premiere online marketplace for such short-term rentals (including leasebreaks). Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of renting an apartment for less than 12 months.


By definition, it’s temporary.  Sometimes you only need to be in Manhattan for a few months, maybe for an internship or work contract.  Or, perhaps you simply don’t want to be stuck in a specific apartment for a year;  in Manhattan, twelve months could seem like an eternity, especially if you are dealing with a terrible landlord.  You might not want a full year of neighbors who like to blast their music, who are heavy smokers, or who are noisy newlyweds.

You might not need to haul everything you own.  Often these units are furnished, so you don’t have to worry about any furniture.  

You don’t have to sign five thousand documents.  Typically, the application for a short-term rental requires less paperwork than for longer leases.  This is great for students and foreigners, who may not have jobs, U.S. paperwork, or a good credit history yet.  However, the downside is that you often need to pay up front.  (See the con section.)  

You can get a feel for your best fit.  You can try out a neighborhood for a while if you are not sure you want to live in that area.

You might be able to use it as a springboard into a place you already know you would live long-term.  If a building is difficult to get into, sometimes you can “sneak” into the building by this back-door approach: taking over someone’s lease for a few months, and then renewing with the landlord.  Check out the latest leasebreaks on or sign up for the weekly Leasebreak List:


Remember that 95% figure we mentioned?  Finding a short-term rental can be challenging, given that most rental inventory in New York City is for a 12-month lease.  

It comes at a cost.  Short-term rentals often go for premium prices.  However, if you get a short-term rental as a leasebreak, you probably would not have the higher pricing.  Unfortunately, you might also lose the perk of having a furnished residence.  

You’ll probably have to pay for the entire rental period up front. You might not have that kind of cash on hand, compared with paying regular monthly rent.  Also, since landlords with short-term rentals tend not to ask for all of the paperwork required for a 12-month rental, they may even require a guarantor for their short-term units.  They fear that tenants may “squat”, and by insisting on a guarantor they have someone else liable for the rent of the unit.  

Watch out for other, unexpected costs.  Extra charges like “cleaning fees” and “application fees” are not uncommon.   You may even have to pay a hotel occupancy tax:  if the landlord rents out the unit multiple times throughout the year, they have to collect a 5.875% tax, plus a fixed amount per day, per room (e.g. a three-room apartment would be $6 per day).  

Where will you sit?  Sometimes these short-term units are not furnished, and you might find it difficult to rent furniture just for a few months.  

Whatever your circumstances may be, knowing the pros and cons of the short-term rental market will help you be better prepared for the adventure ahead.

For the first time ever, a marketplace has been created designed just for rentals between 1 and 12 months: Leasebreak. Find your apartment today!

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