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Short term rental business takes hit from COVID-19

Business Advisor Gillian Jackson and Dennis Chung, a member of the Pensions Industry Association of Jamaica
 
Industry experts have concluded that the short term rental business in Jamaica is almost non-existent due to the impact of COVID-19 on the island.
 
They are also warning of more disruptions in the real estate sector in the short to medium term.
 
Business Advisor Gillian Jackson and Dennis Chung, a member of the Pensions Industry Association of Jamaica, have cautioned that the loss of income for some property owners and the lack of tourists will result in foreclosures and loss of property value in some instances.
 
The COVID-19 pandemic has effectively shut down the short term rental business worldwide, due to the restrictions in travel.
 
Prior to the pandemic, Jamaica enjoyed a vibrant short term rental market, with industry stakeholders reporting purchases of property specifically to handle such rentals.
 
According to Miss Jackson, feedback from the industry indicates that, for many property owners, the business model has changed to match the current reality as the short term rental business, which includes Airbnbs, is "near to death".
 
"There are persons that have transitioned to the long term rentals (and) there are persons who have locked up their house and said they are not letting in anybody at all because they don't want to deal with the long term rental and its complications," she revealed.    
                               
Mr. Chung also shared another angle of the problem which will have more negative consequences in the long run.
 
In the past few months, a lot of apartments have gone up and a lot of people have taken mortgages....but when you think about it, the knock-on effect is that if people don't have an income coming in they might not be able to pay their mortgages, but also very importantly, they may not be able to pay the maintenance to keep up these properties. And therefore, what I fear for is that the value might be affected because people can't maintain properties properly," he reasoned. 
 
Miss Jackson and Mr. Chung were both speaking Thursday night during the RJRGLEANER Communications Group virtual town hall meeting.
 


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