Corporate Housing / Serviced Apartments
Corporate housing, as the name implies, is the term for short term apartments that are rented to individuals (or companies) to house company employees on temporary assignments. They are an alternative to staying in a hotel, and are frequently used for extended stay assignments (e.g. longer than 1-2 weeks). You also may find corporate apartments used when someone is moving to a new area, and the company agrees to put the employee up in housing while they search for a permanent home to buy or rent.
Staying in an apartment can create a better experience for the employee than living out of a hotel for several weeks or months, which can be very disruptive to the person. In some areas, it's also more cost effective, especially when you factor in the ability for the employee to prepare many of their own meals, rather than eating out or relying on (expensive) room service. In some countries, such as the UK, these arrangements are referred to as serviced apartments.
Corporate apartments usually come "fully furnished", which, includes all standard furnishings including beds, dressers, sofa and chairs, dining table, desk, TVs, etc. However, they also include linens (towels and bedding), all kitchen- and glassware (from utensils and plates and wine glasses to pots and pans), small appliances such as a microwave, toaster and a coffeemaker, and often electronics such as a clock radio, DVD/Blu-ray player, and sometimes even gaming systems. Most utilities are usually included in the rental price as well.
Apartments of this style are usually found in city centers, close to corporate offices, or near key commuting hubs to the city (mass transit or highway). However, they are often located in more suburban areas as well, such as near office parks. While there are instances of the entire building consisting of these short term rentals, usually they are mixed in with other "long term" residents.
In some cases the employee signs the lease on the apartment, and submits receipts for reimbursement. However, in most cases the company itself signs what is referred to as a "corporate lease," which means the company is the leasee and is responsible for paying for the apartment directly to the landlord, or the company renting the apartments.
While some apartment buildings will furnish and rent corporate apartments directly to tenants and companies, more frequently what happens is that a third party company who specializes in corporate housing will rent a block of apartments directly from the landlord. Part of the agreement is that they can then furnish the units, and re-rent them to corporate clients (at a substantially higher price, of course, to cover the added "extras.").
This arrangement saves the landlord the time and expense involved in servicing those apartments, while guaranteeing them a block of apartments that are leased up for the long term. Since corporate housing is a somewhat specialized and niche market, these third party companies can leverage their size and expertise to more effectively manage the type and style of furnishings, cleaning contracts, marketing, etc.
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