We have been preparing our first rental home to be listed for several weeks now and listed it last night. We received 4 applicants in less than 12 hours! But here is the catch, 2 of them are victims of the recent tornados. While they have insurance to pay the bills (a good thing for me) they can't sign long term leases, since there is no telling when their home will be rebuilt. They will pay a premium, but only sign short term leases. The other applicants will sign a long term lease but no premium. The business side of me says that the long term lease is the better option, the compassionate side of me wants to offer my home out to a qualified tenant who has lost everything. But its scary to think that we will be suddenly vacant at Christmas! Any guidance or help in a situation like this!! Not what I was expecting as a first time landlord.
You can do a short term lease at a higher rate. Or provide a furnished unit for more! Also, rebuilding usually takes more time than people anticipate, so it's likely the short term tenants (who suffered a loss from a tornado) would be there longer. It's okay to follow your heart sometimes. It's good business to be a community player and to help out at times of natural disaster. You can cover your needs by negotiating the right price. It's okay to follow your heart sometimes.
Although it is harder to rent during the holidays, unless you are in a cold weather climate, I wouldn't worry much about the time of year. Places do rent at all times of the year, especially nice properties at a good value. Also, there is no guarantee the people who sign the long term leases will actually stay long term.
I would pick the candidate who you think is most likely to pay the rent and utilities on time and is most likely to take good care of your property and most likely not to cause any problems or drama. Make sure they meet your minimum rental criteria. And make sure your screen well and verify everything they tell you!
The potential tenants that lost their home will probably only stay a short time , they need a place now , but their situation will change when the insurance gets sorted out , they will either rebuild or buy again . Insurance will only pay for a short time .
As mentioned already the short term while waiting for a home rebuild could turn into long term depending how many homes were lost. My in-laws lost there home to a fire and insurance paid for 20 months while they rebuilt.
Originally posted by @Marcia Maynard :
I would pick the candidate who you think is most likely to pay the rent and utilities on time and is most likely to take good care of your property and most likely not to cause any problems or drama.
^^This. While it's understandable you are feeling compassionate, as you said it will not help your business if there's a vacancy come December.