Help Battle the Coronavirus Pandemic With Your Rental Property

Help Battle the Coronavirus Pandemic With Your Rental Property

One issue that all rental property hosts and owners have in common during this pandemic is the massive drop in occupation rates, especially in popular tourist cities that are impacted by a growing number of COVID-19 cases. The State of New York, for example, has more cases than any country in the world, surpassing the total in other hard-stricken countries like Italy, Spain, and China.[1] Over half of these cases have taken place in New York City, decimating the local tourism industry. Subsequently, most forms of travel are severely limited through state government orders, with the travel industry reporting a severe decline in sales.

This, of course, isn't good news for those who rely on occupancy rates for additional or primary income, especially if their property was made as an investment, or they had recently transitioned into being full-time rental property owners.

However, there is a way to maintain occupation rates depending on the location of your rental property and help battle the pandemic by providing housing options for medical professionals.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, one of the hardest impacted states, recently made a plea for medical professionals on her official Twitter account. In her video message, she asks "If you’re a medical professional anywhere in the United States, Michigan needs you. Please visit to volunteer to help the residents of our state fight #COVID19."[2] Besides requesting volunteers, medical professionals are being offered higher salaries to work in hospitals battling the coronavirus.

Similarly, Governor Gavin Newsom of California has publicly requested for more medical professionals to consider moving to California, and is making efforts to create more flexible legislation in order to approve various types of medical workers.[3] Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City has requested for at least 45,000 more clinical staff members by July, and Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York echoed his sentiments, making a plea for professionals across the country to consider contributing to the efforts to battle COVID-19.[4] Even retired professionals are being requested, with many answering the call to help. [5]

1. Advertise your listing for specific cities in the housing section of Craigslist. The aforementioned cities and states, in addition to other large metropolises with a need of medical professionals, are experiencing higher traffic to these sections. Putting your rental property in these sections will put you in direct communication with medical professionals are who considering the move, instilling confidence that they'll have a secure place to stay while working temporarily. Sections to consider for your listing include "rooms wanted," "sublets/temporary," and "vacation rentals."

2. Reddit communities. Several Reddit communities have sprung with the purpose of matching housing for medical professionals and others in need. In one particular post titled "NYC RN In Need of Housing," the author states she needs accommodations for her and her two children from April 7-11th in the 10029 zip code.[6] Responding to these requests through a comment or making your own post increases exposure and helps others in need of housing. Other communities on Reddit include /r/Residency, /r/MedSpouse, /r/ems, and /r/medicalschool, the latter which is important since many medical schools are providing the option for students to graduate earlier to help efforts against the coronavirus, where they will be looking for housing away from their university campuses.[7]

3. Newer short-term housing services specifically aimed for medical professionals, such as Kopa. Unlike traditional rental websites, Kopa sprung exists to promote housing for medical professionals, with significantly lower listing and transaction fees, and promised discounts for professionals with medical credentials. Their service has gained traction over the past two months with multiple partnerships and recommendations by health-care professionals.

4. Restructure your current listing to appeal to the needs of healthcare professionals. Many listings on Airbnb, VRBO, and other platforms are still targeted at vacationers, but sending a request to website support systems will allow you to change the listing title to target medical professionals. Airbnb specifically designed an informative resource for COVID-19 responders, making it easier to initiate changes to your listing. [8] A simple modification to your listing will also improve exposure through search engines and social media. Make sure to include multiple terms associated with medical professionals in your listing, including “nurses,” “doctors,” “physicians,” “volunteers,” and “COVID-19.” Additionally, write about your proximity to hospitals and be specific with the travel times. Mention the various delivery services for groceries and other essential needs if they are available nearby. The more information, the better. Finally, provide a further incentive, such as a discount to your regular rate, to help spread the word.

By transforming your listing description and utilizing the various platforms available for medical professionals, you can increase your rate of occupation and still enjoy revenue from your property rental. Most importantly, these efforts will help provide housing for medical professionals in need, contributing to the efforts against the coronavirus.