Short-term rentals in London: Everything you need to know

Introduction

Welcome to our guide to short-term rentals in London. Here you’ll find everything you need to know about London short lets, and it's our intention that after reading, you’ll be able to make an informed decision about which lets align best with your needs.

Our guide runs through the entire short-term rental process, starting with definitions, and covering what to expect, pricing structures, legal considerations, and much more.

Here’s what you’ll find inside -

  • What are short-term rentals?
  • Why choose a short-term rental?
  • How much does a short-term rental cost?
  • What will you find inside a short-term rental?
  • The small print: Understanding the legal stuff
  • How to find short-term rentals
  • What are the best areas in London to rent?
  • Short-term rentals with Dolphin Square

Let’s jump straight in.

What are short-term rentals, and who uses them?

Short-term rentals are just that: Property rentals on a short-term basis. This timeframe can span from a day to any upper limit, although as part of the appeal of short-term rentals is their flexibility, people usually stay no longer than a few months.

This type of rental property is seen as an alternative to hotels and long-term lets. They’re best suited to people who need flexibility, quick move-in times, and fewer restrictions than what you might find in a hotel.

Whereas hotels operate on fairly rigorous traditions, short-term rentals are more flexible. Sites like Airbnb are indicative of what to expect from this type of rental: Arrange a booking with the owner, usually less formally than a hotel, and turn up to find your own private apartment for the duration of your stay.

Unlike most hotel rooms, short-term rental apartments usually have some type of kitchen, a dedicated living space, and just generally feel more homely. And when you’re travelling for business, there’s a lot to be said for feeling at home away from home.

If you’re looking for an apartment to rent on the short-term - that is, flexible enough for short stays and with no 6- or 12-month contractual obligation - then this rental option should align nicely with your needs. 

Now we’ll go into a little more detail on the benefits.

Why choose a short-term rental?

Let us paint you a little picture. You’re coming to London for business, to take part in a project that’s expected to last three months. It could be a little more, could be a little less - all depends on how smoothly things go.

You want somewhere to live for the duration of your trip. Spending a few months hotel room doesn’t seem too appealing, nor does renting out an apartment on a 6-month lease. Even if the project takes longer than projected, half a year is too long to be viable or cost-effective. (And even if your company is covering your rent costs, they’re unlikely to sanction so many surplus months).

This is the perfect example of when a short-term rental is the right choice. You can book on an open, rolling basis to ensure that your apartment is available for the duration of your visit, regardless of how long that turns out to be. You can enjoy the homely aspects of a professionally-maintained, serviced apartment that’s designed to feel like home, rather than whiling away your downtime in another soulless hotel room.

As well as feeling homely inside, short-term rentals carry a suite of other benefits. The majority are in secure complexes with security and concierge staff, on hand to deal with any queries and ensure the safety of you and your belongings. Many have on-site parking, too, giving you the potential to save a lot of money if you bring your car to London.

And if you’re not driving, most corporate short-term rental buildings pride themselves on having excellent transport links around our capital. Dolphin Square, incidentally, hits the mark on all of these points. We have full security and concierge staff, free parking for visitors, and are located around the corner from Pimlico Station: Right on the Victoria Line.

We understand, from years of experience, the realities and demands of corporate travel. We know that you don’t want to be dealing with endless hassle when you arrive and throughout your stay. Rather, you want to get here, get your keys, and settle in - ready to take on whatever business you made the trip for.

We’ve built our entire service offering around this premise.

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How much does a short-term rental cost?

With all the perks highlighted above, you may be wondering how much a short-term apartment in London costs. And it may surprise you to find out that the answer is often less than a hotel room in an equivalent location.

In this section, we’ll run through the pricing structure of our studio, one-bed, and two-bed short-let apartments. We’ll give information on what you’ll pay, and what you’re paying for. Our hope is that this will illustrate how a short-term rental can be a viable and cost-effective option for corporate travel.

Studio apartments

A studio apartment is the perfect amount of space for a traveller who’s here on business. It’s cosy and compact, with everything you need to settle in, stay fed and watered, and keep well-rested.

Prices for our studio apartments start at £680 per week, which is fully inclusive of fees and all utility bills.

One-bed apartments

A one-bed gives you a little more space to take up. Instead of a combined living and sleeping area, you can enjoy a separate living room and bedroom. Great if you want a place to decompress and unwind before heading to bed.

Our one-bed apartments start from £770 per week. Again, this number is inclusive of all rates, fees, and bills.

Two-bed apartments

Two-bed apartments are great for groups of colleagues who want their own space, or for corporate travellers who want to bring their family along for the trip. You’ll have two separate, private bedrooms, along with all the facilities offered by a studio or one-bed.

Dolphin Square two-bed short lets start at a very competitive £1001 per week.

Serviced Apartments Central london

Inside a short-term rental: What to expect

Now we’d like to dig deeper into what you can expect from a Dolphin Square short-term rental. While we can’t tell you what to expect from other providers, rest assured that our offering is a cut above the rest.

Here’s what you can expect to find inside - 

Kitchen facilities

Whether a kitchenette or full kitchen, all of our short-term rentals contain facilities for preparing and cooking your meals. Part of feeling at home is the ability to make the food you want, when you want it, rather than relying on room service, take out, or the kettle-cooking experience offered by most hotel rooms.

Washing machine

Another important part of feeling home from home is the option to do your own laundry. It’s the little touches that distinguish a short-term let from the alternatives, and all of our apartments feature washing machines.

Maid service

Now here’s something you might not have at home, but which you can enjoy at a Dolphin Square short-term let. Our apartments all feature a weekly maid service complete with towel and linen change. Enjoy the feeling of being at home, whilst also enjoying the privilege of not having to deep clean.

King size beds

We want our guests and tenants to sleep well, which is why we’ve furnished every bedroom with a king size bed and premium linens. There’s nothing worse than laying on a hotel bed and discovering it’s too small, and has a suspicious hollow in the centre of the mattress. You’ll find nothing of the sort here.

Full Wi-Fi available

Nowadays you can’t afford to stay somewhere that’s not connected to the internet. This is especially true when travelling for business, too. We’ve ensured that the whole of Dolphin House offers high-speed connection so that you’re always online when you need to be.

Extra amenities

There’s more to feel at home than a cosy, welcoming apartment. You also need the diversions that make your time special. At Dolphin Square, we’re confident we’ve got this under control.

Your short-term rental contract includes one membership to the DSQ Gym, where you’ll find the latest gym equipment and a plethora of courses to keep you active and social. You can also enjoy the use of our tennis and squash courts and our pool.

There’s a Bar & Grill restaurant on-site, too, along with a Moroccan-inspired spa where you can be pampered to your heart’s content.

Parking

We mentioned parking earlier. Dolphin House has a private underground car park which you can use for a small additional charge. As we’re located outside the London Congestion Charge Zone, bringing your personal vehicle isn’t as expensive as you might think.

Short Lets Apartment

The small print: Understanding the legal stuff

As you expect, short-term rentals come with some legalese. It’s fairly standard stuff - tenancy agreements, check-in fees, and so on. In this section we’ll briefly touch on some of the legal stuff you’ll need to bear in mind.

The information below pertains to Dolphin Square short-term lets, but you can expect to see similar for other providers. Each provider will run through the terms and conditions of your rental before you move in, so don’t worry too much about memorising everything now.

Tenancy agreement

You’ll be asked to sign a tenancy agreement which outlines the terms and conditions of your stay and dictates the rolling rental period.

Check-in fee

We roll our check-in fees into your monthly rent, so there’s no additional fee to pay for the service provided on arrival.

Credit check on application

We also include credit check costs in our rent, meaning there’s no additional charge here. We carry out a credit check on each applicant to ensure they’re likely to be able to afford the duration of their rental.

Deposit

A five-week deposit is included in your initial payment and will be returned upon departure. We inspect rooms after they’re vacated, and any damages will be subtracted from your deposit before it’s returned.

Insurance

You’ll want to take out your own insurance policy when staying with us, as your tenancy doesn’t include contents insurance. This means that if your items get damaged, you’re not eligible to claim costs from us.

We have on-site liability insurance to protect against loss or damage arising from break-ins, fires, or other such circumstances.

Expenses

Often you can claim corporate short-term rentals as business expenses, although this will vary depending on your exact circumstances. We recommend looking into this, though, as it has the potential to be a cost-effective option.

How do you find a short-term rental property in London?

Finding a short-term rental in London has never been easier, thanks to the ever-increasing number of rental properties and the continued advent of online letting sites.

If you’re looking for a short-term apartment in London, our first recommended port of call is the Dolphin Square short lets site. Here you’ll find all of the studio, one-bed, and two-bed short lets we offer. Each features full information about what you’ll find inside, along with top-level information on the terms of your tenancy.

Alternatively, you can head to Google and search for something along the lines of “short-term rental in London”. This will bring up a wealth of letting sites, all of which will offer its own selection of properties that might fit your needs.

Where possible, we recommend choosing a letting agent with demonstrable credentials. Unfortunately, there are some bad actors in London (and everywhere!) who would rather make a quick buck than offer a good service. And while there are strict controls on who can and can’t let in London, some nefarious agents slip through the net. Be careful and make sure you don’t get stung.

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The best areas in London for short-term rentals

While “best” is quite a subjective term, there are some things to bear in mind when looking for a short-term rental in London, especially when travelling on business. 

Here are some factors that might determine what your “best” looks like -

What are the transport links like?

When you step out of your front door, how easy is it to get where you need to go? This is a big city, and it’s not unrealistic to commute up to an hour, even when living and working in London.

For a lot of people, the best areas to live are ones that feature painless commutes. Places where transport won’t be heaving during rush hour, and where multiple transport options exist.

At Dolphin Square, we’re close to the tube, bus stops, taxi ranks, bike rental points, and even riverboat services. 

What are the cultural opportunities like?

After a long day, you probably don’t want to just sit in your apartment and do nothing. Many of our visitors love to explore, and with as rich a city as London on their doorstep, why wouldn’t they?

The best areas carry cultural capital. Whether it’s the historic culture like Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, and Buckingham Palace, or more bohemian culture like Camden Market, make sure to choose somewhere that will scratch your explorative itch.

What else is nearby?

Although London is a vast and infinitely varied city, there are some areas where not a lot is going on. The neighbourhoods where people live, and travel from when they want to do something exciting.

Choosing a neighbourhood with a nice amount of background activity goes a long way toward cultivating an authentic and immersive London experience. Somewhere with cafes, parks, interesting shops, and small bits of history peppered throughout.

Ultimately, ‘the best’ comes down to what you want from a place. We’re not going to rattle off a list of neighbourhoods here - rather, plant some seeds to get you thinking about what your best might look like.

And we’ll also say that we think Pimlico fits the bill completely on all of the points above!

City of London

Short-term London rentals with Dolphin Square

In short, we believe that our short-term rentals offer travellers to London everything they need to get settled, and to spend their trip in homely comfort. We’ve been doing this for a long time, and we’ve refined our service into something truly special. Whether you need a studio apartment to use as a base for a busy and outgoing London life, or a two-bed apartment where your small family can nest for the duration of your stay, we’ve got you covered.

With our competitive pricing and generous amenities, we really believe that our short-term apartments represent value for money. You don’t have to compromise here. You can get home from a tough day and relax, whether in your private, professionally-maintained apartment, or in our bar, gym, or spa. Whatever you need, we’ve got it.

Add to that parking, meeting facilities, concierge staff, excellent transport links and much, much more, and you’ve got something truly special. We’d love to show you around, so why not book a viewing today?

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To conclude

This guide has given you all the information you need to make an informed decision on short-term rentals in London. We’ve explored the reasons to choose a short-term let, the aspects that distinguish them from hotels and long-term rentals, and the difference this will make for you, specifically.

We’ve explored the features, amenities, and pricing structures you can expect from a short-term rental in London. This information is invaluable when searching for a let, and when comparing the different options available to you.

It’s our hope that you now feel able to move ahead with searching for and selecting the short-term let that aligns perfectly with your needs.