Does Flexible stays have a future in affordable housing

Increasingly more and more institutional landlords (both Purpose Built Student Accommodations but also more recently Build to Rent operators) are beginning to understand the value of short-term rentals and the added benefit a service like this brings to their operations. 

There have been plenty of case studies that show a significant increase in both revenue and occupancy for institutional landlords which in the face of mounting operational expenses adds real value. In fact, so much so, that forward thinkers in the space are incorporating it as part of their core strategy, rather than approaching it as an afterthought. One such company is Alumno Group and their CEO David Campbell.

The real challenge is whether or not a service like that can have any meaningful role in the affordable housing sector as well. David Montague, former CEO of L&Q says that it’s still to be seen whether a service like Staykeepers can provide value. “There just isn’t enough of it (affordable housing) to go around. So it’s a bit more of a challenge in affordable housing, but this is not to say that isn’t possible”.

One way to test drive this is through regeneration i.e. demolishing old stock and replacing it with new buildings. As those buildings are prepared to be torn down, is there a better use for it? A temporary use for it perhaps, so people can be put in those accommodations and generate some revenue.

David continues to point out that in London, local authorities struggle with temporary housing and people who are looking for emergency housing and are stuck in expensive bed and breakfast accommodations which aren’t very suitable long term. So perhaps there is a way to solve this temporary accommodation crisis. 


“When there are no entities, there just isn't enough housing. So it's a bit more of a challenge in affordable housing. That's not to say that it isn't possible.

And we are having a conversation about what might be possible. For example, local authorities, housing associations, house builders, developers are all involved in regeneration. And that's about demolishing older stock and, building new in its place. Well, as that stock is being decanted and before it's demolished.

Is there a better use for it? Is there a temporary use so that we could make some money out of it and put people into much needed housing Albeit on a temporary basis in London and elsewhere. Local authorities really struggle with temporary housing. There are so many people that need emergency accommodation.

And they find themselves in expensive bed of breakfast, accommodation, or unsuitable, private rented accommodation, this huge waiting list of people that need somewhere temporary to live Could the short stay industry offer local authorities a means of solving their temporary accommodation crisis?

And one more thing that we're thinking of is whether. The the problem with over occupation, just too many people in one house and the problem of under occupation, too few people because the children have left and it's just mom and dad left. Whether you could put those things together, whether an intermediary like Staykeepers could help to deal with over occupation and under occupation.

So we've got lots of ideas. And so it would be easy to jump to the conclusion that that there's no place for short stand affordable housing. But I think if we get together. With those people that are providing affordable housing, we can really help to solve the temporary accommodation and the longer term accommodation crisis that this country currently faces.

And do you think there are traditional values or misconceptions around short stays that can be left in the past slash busted?

I think that there are misconceptions about short stay and a couple spring to mind. The first is that it is just about filling the empties. And so you've got a new block and you do your best to fill it with with longer stay customers. And you're left with a few at the end. And so you pick up the phone to Staykeepers and say Can you help us fill these last few homes?”

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