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Temporary homes: At home in transit

Jan Zimmermann
Jan Zimmermann
Editor of mapolis architecture magazine

Temporary homes fill the gap between permanent fixed accommodation and a short hotel stay.

It would seem that there are two basic types of homes in terms of time: long-term homes, i.e. fixed abodes, and short-term homes (e.g. while traveling), at a hotel, a boarding house or the like. But what if your stay at a place is not long enough to make a move into permanent accommodation with all your belongings worthwhile, nor short enough to justify the high price for a hotel? In these “borderline cases” temporary homes provide a solution.

Under the concept of temporary or furnished accommodation fully equipped homes are rented and let for periods between several weeks and several months. The tenancy is arranged under a temporary tenancy agreement and no notification of termination is required on its expiry. The prices are quite a lot higher than those for unfurnished homes, but still considerably lower than those for hotel or boarding house accommodation. Apart from the location and the size, the equipment is decisive for the price.

Popular “ready-made home”

The target group for this housing concept is big and varied. Apart from project participants and employees during their trial period, it is suitable for new arrivals who have not found a suitable home yet. Big companies rent furnished apartments for their employees. And even someone who is not properly at home anywhere due to frequent job-related moves will prefer a kind of temporary “ready-made home”, if possible. Apart from that, temporary homes are also a “stopgap solution”, e.g. for victims of a home fire or people living in separation.

Higher yields for landlords

Landlords can charge much higher rents for furnished apartments, which – by the way – are not subject to any rental indices or rent control regulations. Of course, the furnishings and equipment purchased initially should be as long-lived as possible. With a rent appropriate to the equipment of the apartment the investment will reach its breakeven point within a few years. But it is always important to satisfy the taste of the clients. The high fluctuation of the tenants means more work due to frequent transfers etc., but also offers the possibility to adjust the rent more often at short intervals.

Altogether the high-priced, individual ready-made solutions for the “homo mobilis” are quite a profitable business for landlords. Highly mobile and low-priced social solutions for the accommodation of larger groups are, however, provided by “modular housing” – more in our blog post Modular homes: A quick solution for more housing.


Temporary homes are the answer to the increasing demand for mobility (mainly for job-related reasons). As opposed to a hotel or boarding house, they are a kind of “real” temporary homes. Another advantage: Even apartments in highly desired locations become vacant at shorter intervals.

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