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Coliving spaces offer rent waiver, relaxed payment timeline

StayAbode has slashed its pricing by 20-25% in locations near tech parks, and is giving the option of deferred payment and rent waiver to those who’ve been laid off.

Last Updated: Jun 29, 2020, 10.22 AM IST
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Stanza Living has introduced some subsidies on the service component of the monthly rent package.
BENGALURU / KOLKATA: Rajesh Kandukuri, an archery coach in Bengaluru, has seen his income dry up over the past few months after his classes stopped due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This week, though, some pressure was eased off him when his coliving space provider Zolostays informed Kandukuri that he need not pay rent till September.

Coliving platforms such as Zolostays, CoHo, Colive, StayAbode and Stanza Living are helping out residents – mostly working professionals – who are finding it difficult to pay rent because of layoffs or salary cuts, by offering full or partial rent waivers and relaxed timelines for payment.

“We decided to waive off rent for all residents who have been laid off from their jobs as a fallout of the pandemic,” said Nikhil Sikri, cofounder of Zolostays. This is applicable till September 1, and also holds true for some residents who have stayed with them for over six months and intend to return after the pandemic, he said.

Such initiatives help coliving platforms retain residents who might otherwise end their contracts because they cannot afford the rent. Already, occupancy is on the decline at most such spaces with residents moving back to their hometowns after losing their jobs or because of extended work-from-home options.

“A lot of our residents have been hit by the current situation and taken salary cuts, and we are now giving discounts to both our existing residents as well as newcomers,” said John Jacob, associate vice president at CoHo.

Depending on case-to-case basis, it waived off upto 50% of rentals for some residents, and even offered complete rent waiver for some who have lost their jobs, Jacob said. CoHo has 3,000 beds spread over Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, and Chennai.

Colive has given a 50% waiver for the June rent for those who have been laid off or are stuck in their hometowns, its CEO Suresh Rangarajan said. Nearly 400 residents have been given this waiver so far.

Stanza Living has introduced some subsidies on the service component of the monthly rent package.

At StayAbode, the average occupancy has been 95% over three years of its operations, falling to 73% in June. Next month, occupancy is expected to decline to nearly half, said Viral Chhajer, CEO of StayAbode.

“Many residents are terminating contracts because of affordability issues or because they’re going home and unsure about coming back,” he said.

StayAbode has slashed its pricing by 20-25% in locations near tech parks, and is giving the option of deferred payment and rent waiver to those who’ve been laid off. “Earlier, we were expecting the situation to improve by August, but now it doesn’t look like things will get better before December. Right now, the focus is on survival,” Chhajer said.

Hence the decision to offer rent waivers and relax payment timelines. “If we can retain even some of the residents, that’s good for our business,” said Sikri of Zolostays.
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