Sydney hotels eye renters as demand dips

Some Sydney hotels are listing their rooms on rental websites, adding to a surge in the number of city landlords desperate to find a tenant.

The Sydney CBD rental vacancy rate – the percentage of homes available for lease that are empty – rose from 5.7 per cent in March to 13.8 per cent in April, SQM Research indicates.

The figures coincide with COVID-19 travel restrictions sapping demand for accommodation by foreign students, and a dearth of interstate and international visitors which prompted many Airbnb property owners to seek long-term occupants.

The same statistics suggest Sydneysiders who have been able to hold on to their jobs can now rent a CBD unit for $100 a week less than in May 2019.

A review of online rental listings shows the Veriu Green Square and Burwood Marsden, two hotels that opened within the past six months, offering studios at rates of $295-$324 and $350 per week respectively. Veriu declined to comment and Marsden did not respond.

TFE Hotels told AAP it was “currently testing the waters” by listing seven of its Adina Apartment Hotels in Sydney – including in Bondi Beach, Darling Harbour and Surry Hills – on a rental portal for stays of up to three months.

“The short-term rental market represents a different direction for TFE Hotels and we’re looking forward to seeing how the apartment hotel rooms perform,” senior director of sales at TFE Hotels Shahnaz Bakhshay said.

Hotel consultant Ron de Wit of AHS Advisory said operators of serviced apartments, with their larger room sizes, were best suited to providing residential accommodation.

Frasers Property Australia has announced it is making its CBD hotel rooms available under lease terms of between three and 12 months in what it calls a “fresh new option to the residential rental market”.

Fraser Suites Sydney rooms start at $600 per week, with residents willing to sign a lease of at least three months given one week rent-free.

Outside of NSW, Arise Hotels and Resorts also said it has adapted its approach with the 15 properties it runs across Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

“Arise Hotels are offering three to six month stays in the rental market due to a drop in demand due to COVID-19 in the corporate regions where we are operating,” chief operating officer David Sawers said.

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