It is important to make a distinction between a serviced Furnished Apartment and a non-serviced Furnished Apartment. The former is also referred to as Corporate Housing, according to the Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA) or Serviced Apartments, according to the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP). These apartments typically include various extras in the rent including internet, cable television, housekeeping, linen changes, a fully equipped kitchen, concierge services, parking and more. These extras differ by company. Lease terms are also usually more flexible with corporate housing or serviced apartments. A non-serviced furnished apartment is typically similar to a traditional apartment rental except is also includes furnishings.
If you are traveling on business (or even for leisure) and are looking to rent a furnished apartment as an alternative to a hotel be careful with where you search. The internet is one of the fastest growing advertising mediums for property owners and it is becoming more difficult for consumers to differentiate between reputable corporate housing companies and private owners renting out non-serviced furnished apartments. Reputable companies are ones with their own websites that provide valuable information and company contacts. Spend time looking through the company websites to identify signs that a company is of a significant size including a proper team to serve you. Even private owners can put together a website which can give off the impression they are a large organization. In cases when you are unsure, call them up and learn about them over the phone. You should always be careful when renting from private owners who have their suites listed on websites like Craigslist and Kijiji. It is wise to tour the suites in person to make sure what you see is what you’ll get.
Look for companies that are members of industry associations such as CHPA (mentioned above) and the Employee Relocation Council (ERC). Often, companies will mention this on their website. You can also go to these associations’ websites directly to look up member companies. These associations require their members to adhere to ethical business practices and therefore you can be more at ease when working with a listed organization.
Customer service is another way to differentiate between a reputable furnished apartment company and a private owner. You will typically get a faster response from a company who manages a portfolio of suites on a full time basis, compared with a private owner who has one or two furnished apartments they rent on the side. The former typically has multiple employees including a Guest Services team whose job is to answer questions and resolve any issues in a timely manner. The latter may be in the middle of a business meeting for his or her full time job when you first call and will only get back to you after 5pm on the drive home. They may also not be so willing to help you right away, especially if they had a bad day.
Access to inventory and quality apartments are additional things to keep in mind when searching for a furnished apartment. With reputable furnished apartment companies, you will typically have various locations and suites to choose from. With a private owner, it is typically one or two suites which limit your options. There are also no guarantees with the quality of the furnishings and how quickly broken items will be replaced. With a company, because they have a reputation to uphold and service levels to maintain, it’s likely quality and service issues will be addressed promptly.
In closing, it is fair to say that non-serviced furnished apartments can still be a viable option for people with a tight budget. However, if you are looking for an alternative to a hotel where you can have more space and privacy but still with some level of service, furnished apartments can be a great option. Just remember to do your homework so that your apartment is about more than just the furniture inside.
We provide a comprehensive directory of furnished apartments in major cities across Canada including Toronto Furnished Apartments and Vancouver Furnished Apartments . Other listings include Extended Stay Hotels and Short Term Housing.
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