Alternative Housing During the COVID-19 Pandemic from Lodging
By Fred DeMicco, Executive Director and Professor in the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at Northern Arizona University and Adel Eldin, MD, FACC, FACP, MBA, GGA, Founder, CEO of Quality Affordable Healthcare, Prontocare
The housing market crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic has caused more people to look at extended stay hotels as an attractive solution. People choose extended stay hotels over traditional rentals to accommodate the increasing needs created by relocation, travel, or changing homes with gaps in housing needs such as waiting to get out of a lease agreement. To seize the opportunity, some hotels have started to offer more flexible choices, like those offered at extended hotel stays. This provides many advantages over a short-term lease, which requires a credit check. A lease agreement also needs to be signed with the added payment of the first and last month's rent as a security deposit.
Choosing a long-term hotel stay is as simple as presenting a debit or credit card. You can simply check into (and out of) the hotel freely. There are no condominium fees, no cleaning fees, no security fees, etc. Along with this, there are no bill for utilities, electricity, Internet, cable, TV, etc. Some extra benefits are furniture, stocked kitchens, housekeeping services, laundry rooms, gym, swimming pool, towels, vending machines, clean linens, and free parking.
The switch from cheaper, short-term housing to a long-term hotel stay has increased. Some reasons for this are relocation, medical travel, and temporary displacement due to natural disasters.
Small landlords have been devastated by lockdowns, evidenced by the latest survey published by the National Association of Independent Landlords (NAIL). The survey revealed that the percentage of respondents who received a full rent payment from their tenants plunged to 55% in June 2020, down from 83% in February. On top of this, almost 20% had vacant rental properties due to the pandemic.
Other groups that may also benefit from this extended hotel stay option include medical professionals, corporate businesses, students, government personnel, construction workers, and tourists. National rent prices went up from an average of $1577 per month in January 2019 to $1651 in June 2019. In 2020 there was a significant increase in one-bedroom studio rentals (49.3% increase in Sacramento, CA), while there has been an emptying out in Brooklyn and Los Angeles simply because people cannot afford the rent and have been threatened with eviction due to nonpayment.
There are at least 15 million properties owned by these small landlords nationwide. Many were in precarious financial situations even before the lockdown.
According to the HUD July 2020 "Neighborhood Watch" report, 17% of 8 million insured mortgages are now delinquent. This percentage includes mortgages in forbearance as well as those not in forbearance. Hard-hit metropolitan areas include New York City with 27.2% delinquency, Miami with 24.4%, and Atlanta with 21%.
It is expected that long-term stays in hotels will be an attractive option for many middle-class Americans now and in the future. As more people choose to stay in hotels for the medium- to long-term, it will make sense and provide a marketing advantage for hotels to provide on-site clinics. These clinics can help keep hotel guests safe during the pandemic and can provide non-COVID care as well. Clinics can also help triage patients by doing testing and contact tracing to assess the best way of providing medical services in a safe and convenient way.
Acknowledgment: This Paper is sponsored by the GloMed.Education website https://glomed.education/.
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