“Standby” apartments offer cheap rent with sudden departures

A Landing apartment in Austin, Texas. Photo: Courtesy of Landing

A fully furnished apartment in a great city for $1,295 per month. month – 33% below the national median – no lease, no deposit and all utilities included. Does it sound too good to be true?

  • Of course, there’s a catch: You may have to move with three days’ notice.

Details: “Standby” living is a new housing offer from Landing, a subscription-based nationwide rental network of furnished apartments.

  • Designed for the post-pandemic economy, work-from-anywhere is similar to the concept of flying standby: You can get an apartment cheaply, but you might get bumped by a higher-paying customer.

Why it’s important: Living on standby isn’t for everyone, but it’s an affordable option for people looking for maximum flexibility — including remote professionals, contract workers on temporary assignments, or those moving to a new city.

  • Empty nesters could also find it an appealing way to explore the country.

How it works: The Landing’s standard members pay $199 annually for access to rent one of the company’s 20,000 apartments in more than 375 cities.

  • Rentals are month-to-month, starting at a minimum of 30 days, with the best rates for those who commit to six months. Members can move to another apartment – or another city – at any time with two weeks’ notice.
  • The rent varies greatly depending on the market and the size of the apartment. In Chicago, for example, they range from $1,300 to $9,400, while in Dallas they range from $1,500 to $13,000.
  • Landing furnishes and manages the apartments on behalf of building owners.

What’s next: Landing recently launched a “Standby” membership at a lower price.

  • Standby members have access to the same fully furnished listings (except in New York and California, where short-term rentals are limited).
  • But: The apartments they occupy remain available for standard Landing members to reserve.
  • If a standard member wants their apartment, standby members are given three days’ notice to switch to another landing apartment at no extra cost.
  • If standby members choose to move to another home, they can also give three days’ notice, but they must pay a $150 cleaning fee.

What they say: “We wanted to experience a lot of new places and not be locked into a six-month contract,” said consultant Allison Lawrence, a standby tenant whose current one-bedroom apartment overlooks downtown Austin, Texas.

  • Her device would typically go for $2,500 to $3,500, she told Axios. “It’s definitely a steal.”
  • After nearly two months, she and her husband recently received their first “bump” notice, but were lucky to get two weeks’ notice. They plan to move to another unit in Austin, but are looking at New Orleans in the future.

Another standby renter, Ulysses Solis, is an avid skier who has stayed at several homes in Salt Lake City this winter. He has been bumped every other week.

  • It’s cheaper than staying in a hotel that costs $300 to $400 a night, he said. “Even if I stay just three or four days, it pays for itself,” he tells Axios.
  • His pro tip: Pack light and don’t buy groceries at Costco.

The backstory: Landing was founded in 2019 by Bill Smith, who was frustrated by the time-consuming hassle and cost of finding a place to live while working temporarily in San Francisco.

  • “Every other transaction had moved online, whether it was transportation, grocery shopping and even car purchases. But the home hadn’t changed,” he told Axios.
  • So Smith, who sold his last company, Shipt, to Target for $550 million, decided to create a subscription service for all-encompassing, flexible living.

The big picture: Nearly 19 million Americans plan to move because of flexible work arrangements.

💬 Joann’s thought bubble: After recently paying Airbnb $4,500 to rent a small cottage in central Florida for three weeks, I might be willing to try the standby of living somewhere else.

  • After all, flexibility is what being a digital nomad is all about, right?

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