Corporate Rental? Getting STR run-around and no long-term options

10 Replies

Hello all,

So I bought a duplex uptown (good side of Leonidas area, to be exact) in June 2018. I renovated it and listed one side for long-term rental, but missed the wave of Tulane/Loyola students (I live on the other side). I decided to pull the listing, furnished it, and applied for an STR license to airbnb. Needless to say, the city has dropped my application twice now, for reasons beyond my control. While I wait to get that sorted out, I will not rent short term illegally, so my only options are renting for a minimum of 30 days or more.

I was looking into doing corporate rentals. There's a site called "corporate housing by owner." You pay a yearly fee and, depending on the package, you get so many photos, they'll take photos, video, and guarantee a booking in your first 30 days. 

My question is, does anyone have experience with corporate rentals in NOLA? Is it a profitable business? I have a 2bd/1ba shotgun. One covered parking spot, one off-street parking spot (I have no car), dishwasher, washer/dryer, gas and electric, high-speed internet, keyless entry, etc. Similar houses I've seen listed range from $2100-3000+/mo. If I can get $2000, my mortgage would be paid, which helps me out a lot.

I'm really at a loss right now as to how to start making money on my rental side. The other option I'm considering is offering month-to-month or 3-6 month leases furnished and all bills paid for about $2000/mo. 

Whatever the solution, I can't keep paying this full mortgage by myself for much longer. If you have personal experience with any of these things or have website recommendations or other advice, I am all ears. 

Thanks!

I own a personal duplex in the Fairgrounds Mid-City area. My tenant rents the other side out on Airbnb under his own license. Which he got just in the nick of time before the moratorium shut those down. With that said, he had a lot of trouble with getting the license...for no reason at all...until he went down in person to the STR office at City Hall.

If you haven't tried going in personally to get your STR license, I'd highly recommend that before giving up. Right now, it also might temporarily be a total nightmare because they did just change all their rules about STRs. But assuming you have a Homestead Exemption, you should be golden on this. I'd never try to predict local government but, once things die down, you should be able to get one. It might just take a lot of perseverance and cutting through red tape.

I'm actually a bit surprised you haven't been able to find tenants.  Uptown is so popular and in demand, even for non-students.  But, with that said, I've never owned property Uptown so that's just more my impression and not based on experience. 

It's a bit of a long shot, but also check the "Housing Wanted" section of Craig's List.  It tends to be more people looking for roommates, but you never know what you'll find.  I've seen travel nurses advertise on there and other people looking for temporary housing.  I've also seen long-term tenants, often specifically looking for Uptown, who just prefer landlords contacting them.  In fact, I found a great tenant that way.

My only tangential experience with corporate housing is I used to work for a company that put some of our employees up in it.  They didn't use any kind of service to find those rentals.  They called open listings for the area they wanted to put people in, like any other potential tenant would.  They rented the units unfurnished and then paid beau-coup bucks, on a monthly basis, to some company that rented out everything the units needed.  Right down to the towels and silverware (eye roll).  Yet couldn't "afford" to give their employees more than a 3% raise each year.  But I digress, lol.

Maybe list with a real estate agent? I've never done it and I know they'll take a cut of the first month's rent. But it might be worth it for a higher end listing.

Hi @Andrea E. . I am both an investor and a licensed realtor in New Orleans. I know the area well. I have a house for sale over there now that I rehabbed. 

I am not familiar with "corporate housing by owner", so I can't give any advice with regards to that, but I would think that you could get a long term tenant pretty easily over there at a rental rate of about $1/sf.

I suggest seeking out a brokerage/realtor that does corporate rentals if you want to go that route. They can fill you in on all the details and they will have access to a vast network that could help you.

I would offer to help, but I don't deal with rentals at all. Hope you get it worked out quickly!

Thanks Braden! Yea, I have set aside the long-term rental option. I could not make enough going that route to recoup the money I've lost over the last 6 months. Also, with it being furnished now, I have no desire to unfurnish the property. 

I'll see if I can find any brokerage/realtors in the area.

Hi Jennifer and Kimberly, 

Thanks for the advice! Sorry i missed your message earlier, Jennifer. I haven't gone in person yet, because I don't have a car and I'm a full time law student, but I had a feeling that I'd need to show my face. The first issue was that my homestead did not process before they checked, so they just denied me instead of asking for proof of filing. This time, they're saying I'm missing an electrical permit (but not an issue last time?), which I got the inspection the next day and showed proof, but again, they don't see it in "the system" and want to deny me again. 

I've been applying since Aug 10. 

I'll definitely look into the options you both recommend. If i have to go with a realtor, I'd rather choose a full management company so they can do the cleaning, hosting, etc as well. At the very least, I need a good, reliable housecleaner.

@Andrea E. I don't do short term rentals nor have any desire to do them. I will say given what our city has done with changing the rules recently, STR is going to be a hot button issue and will not likely be set for any length of time. I would guess that every election cycle the rules will change.

You mentioned that you were looking for $2000/month for a 2/1 in uptown near Leonidas.  That super strong rent prices and likely not very easily achievable.  As @Braden Smith mentioned, rent in the city are close to $1/ft2 per month with nicer areas and nicer properties going upto $1.4/ft2. But given yours is likely a 800-1000ft2 place, you would need north of $2/ft2 per month.

I also think that corporate rentals are going to be in much more demand in high demand area's like downtown or right near a major employer (Think University Medical Center).

I tried renting a condo in a different city as a furnished rental, it was a struggle.  I ended up renting it out for basically the same price as an unfurnished unit.  Just not alot of demand when I tried.  My guess is you would have the same issue.

One option is to put the furniture in storage and long term rent it. When you get your STR license, then end the long term rental lease when it expires and transition over to STR.

I have a furnished rental in West Carollton (not far from Leonidas) - I don't rent on Airbnb but I have rented it to travel nurses on short-term leases with all utilities included. I successfully rented it myself via Craigslist. Good luck!

Hi @Mike Wood , thanks for the comment. Like I mentioned, the $2000/mo would only be if I rented it long term, furnished, and all bills included. Even if that still put it on the higher end, I would be ok with that, as long-term renting is a last resort for me at this point. 

I am within 2 miles of Oschner Health System (#1 largest employer in NOLA), Oschner Medical Center (#2), Children's Hospital (#5) and Tulane (#6). Like @Emily Coia mentioned (thanks for the comment!), I would be looking to rent to people in the health and medical fields, in addition to grad students or temporary corporate professionals. 

Emily, I think we're in the same area. I'm about three blocks to the west of Carrollton. Would you mind if I messaged you to pick your brain a little more on how to list and rent independent of platforms?

Sure, feel free to message me. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t think you’ll get near $2k even with utilities. Furnishings don’t add too much of a premium and in my experience, corporate rentals are seeking a 1 bedroom so the 2nd bedroom would just be a bonus. My renovated 1/1 rents for $1200, which is probably on the lower end but also helps get it rented quickly. 

I've had good luck with craigslist. I get about $2k per month renting to blue collar refinery workers. For tour area I'd suggest nurses or out of town contract workers. I believe entergy will be building a power plant in n.o. east and the airport terminal is still being built. These jobs last months and the workers get per diem.