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Should I lease out my holiday home on a short-term or long-term lease?

Some of the usual rules governing tenancies don't apply for short fixed-term tenancies of less than 90 days duration.  You don't need to worry about the rules concerning fair market rent, tenant eviction notice periods, or rent increases following substantial improvements to the property.

Rental returns for short term tenancies will normally be higher than for long term leases, especially if the property is fully furnished. But as holiday seasons represent only part of the calendar year, this higher short-term rental yield must be balanced against the security of income that a long term lease situation provides.

You should consider the tax treatment of your holiday home by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). While all rental income is taxable and needs to be declared on your tax return, your ability to deduct expenses related to the holiday home (such as interest, insurance, depreciation and Council rates) may depend on how often and for how long, the property is rented out.

In general, you will be allowed a deduction if you can demonstrate that these expenses are related to the earning of rental income. The amount of time that the property is rented out may impact on this assessment. If you only rent the house out for 10 weeks per year, you may only be able to claim the deduction at a rate of 10/52 - i.e. pro-rata, based on the weeks that rental income was generated. 

If the IRD believes that your expenses are private in nature, and are not a legitimate expense that led to the generation of rental income, they will likely be denied. Visit the IRD website for more information, or contact a First National Real Estate agent.
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