The speed and dramatic impact of COVID-19 has had far reaching effects and a severe impact on every aspect of our economy. With our tourism industry and ability to travel receiving the biggest blow, many businesses have had to swiftly adapt in order to survive. With a slow recovery predicted, some have taken to reneging on old promises and falling back on weak contracts to reduce their exposure and risk.

One such industry that has ended up in this situation is that of short-term rentals and specifically the hotels, suites and apartments within Brisbane’s inner city and surrounds that has so heavily relied on tourist and business travellers. As the demand for short-term rentals started to rise in the early 2000’s and inner city apartments began to flood the market, many owners were attracted by the promise of a guaranteed rental income by large letting companies who monopolised the management of entire buildings. It was a safe way to enter into the real estate investment market, but now property owners are furious.

In swift succession following the start of the COVID-19 crisis, what was a guaranteed rental income has been significantly reduced, and for some now only 50% of all rental income. However, with such severe travel restrictions in place, 50% of nothing is still nothing! Now, with so many empty apartments on the market and little chance of reprieve within the next 12 months, owners are desperately seeking alternatives, with their safest option being to find a long-term tenant. Following a similar model to Air BnB, short-term rental agencies are not geared up to seek or place long-term tenants and their long-term leasing partners have already exhausted their limited databases.

As a result, quick-thinking owners are moving to list their inner city apartments with boutique letting agencies such as Bell Estate Agents who still have high quality tenants ready to place. BEA has an excellent reputation for exemplary service and a ready database of valuable long-term tenants looking for inner city living. In the past week alone, Bell Estate Agents has taken on multiple new unit listings at 420 Queen Street, 128 Charlotte Street and 18 Tank Street with the list growing daily. Jonathan Bell, owner of Bell Estate Agents says, “the long-term rental market is still performing well. We are leasing properties within 7 days at the asking price on long-term leases”.

However, to ensure the team can maintain their high level of service and give each owner the highest chance of placing a tenant, BEA will be capping the number of properties per building. Above all else, Bell Estate Agents value their clients and their reputation for 100% home owner retention. Although several managed buildings have maintained a minimal guaranteed income, the big players have already demonstrated how quickly they’re willing to backflip on this. So, if you’ve found yourself in this unfortunate situation or don’t want to risk missing out on securing a permanent tenant, now is the time to capitalise on this unique opportunity. For more information or to arrange an obligation free rental assessment, contact Jonathan Bell.