AgentRentals

Capitalizing on ‘stealth lodging’ niche

Connecting homeowners with people seeking short-term rentals is a $2.5B industry

After Todd Hunter and his partner acquired a West Hollywood, Calif., property with a guest house in the back, they had to decide what to do with the extra living space. The most obvious choice was to turn it into a rental, but a neighbor mentioned Corporate Housing by Owner, a website that connects private homeowners with people seeking short-term rentals such as traveling executives or actors. "We priced it out both ways, as an unfurnished rental and as a fully furnished monthly with higher-end design and appliances," Hunter said. "We live in a place people want to come to, so we decided to try to go the corporate housing route. If it didn't work, we figured we could always take out the furniture and make it a full rental." The space was nicely decorated, professional photographs were taken, and the property was posted on Corporate Housing by Owner's website on a Wednesday. That afternoon, Hunter got his first query. A second followed the next day. Hu...