Tourist rentals, particularly short-term rentals (AirBnb), have been hit hard by the lock down imposed by the government to get out of the coronavirus emergency (COVID-19). The near-total blockade of transportation and the ban on roaming freely on the streets of art cities has led to the elimination of tourism, which experts say will cost landlords 40 percent of annual revenue by 2020.
Recovery will not be easy
Judging by the timing with which the curve of contagions is slowing, and considering that Italy was one of the first nations to be hit by the virus, the recovery of the tourist rental market will be slow and difficult. As soon as Italians are considered ‘safe,’ we will have to warn against so-called return contagions, which for a tourist would mean going on vacation and being subjected to 14 days of quarantine. For this reason, we believe that those in the tourist rental business will have a very slow recovery and strongly recommend that they focus primarily on domestic tourism.
The rental market in large cities
Fortunately, in large cities it will be possible to find a loophole to be able to start over with one’s real estate income as soon as possible, as long as one makes a small change in one’s rental arrangements.
In recent years, the boom in short-term rentals has led to a shortage of rental apartments for workers and students, who have often had to adapt by seeking accommodation in the suburbs. Right now, however, we can take advantage of this domestic market to make up for a physiological shortage of tourists from around the world.
How to convert an apartment intended for tourists
Changing the destination of one’s rental apartment is not always possible, and there are several cautions to follow. So let’s see what considerations every landlord should make before converting his or her apartment to rent:
1) Do you have valuable furniture or furnishings?
If your apartment is considered ‘high-end’ you need to be careful before converting it to a medium/long-term rental as the focus on furniture is not exactly the same. You could
make changes or address only a trusted target audience.
2) Is your apartment ready for a medium/long stay?
Living 3 to 6 months in an apartment is not like spending a weekend there. To name one, the kitchen must be well equipped if you want to host a renter for longer. Usually a tourist has little time, so they prefer to dine out or order take-out food. A mid-term renter on the contrary will need more housewares and home accessories to appreciate your apartment to the fullest.
3) Is your apartment ideal for students or a family?
Depending on the layout of your apartment and its furnishings, you can decide whether to convert it to a family rental or a student rental. On this aspect you also pay close attention to the possible types of contracts: if you rent to students you can opt for a transitional contract, but if the goal is to rent to a family the standard contract is 4+4, you will have to propose a specific contract to fix a shorter period of time.
4) Are you an at-risk person and prefer not to have contact with many people in the next 12 months?
This is also a very important aspect to consider.
So what is appropriate to do with one’s rental apartment?
Unfortunately, we do not know how this situation will evolve, and we do not want to ‘convince’ you to change the destination of your apartment. The right thing to do depends on you, the type of your apartment, and above all, it depends on something we cannot directly control, which is how the spread of the virus will evolve and what steps will be taken to ensure safe tourist rentals.
If you do not want to change the destination of your apartment, we still recommend that you lengthen the minimum number of days you stay inside your apartment. With a minimum of 7 or better yet 15 days, so as to target a different type of tourism and decrease the number of check-ins/check-outs.
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