Every year, thousands of employees relocate to Canada to fill positions for international corporations. Some of those workers will stay permanently and may choose to buy a home or sign a long-term rental contract. But when you move to Canada to fill a temporary position, finding short-term accommodations will be an important priority. Many companies decide that Corporate Housing is the best solution for transferees in this situation.
What is Corporate Housing?
Corporate Housing refers to fully-furnished residential property—usually an apartment or condominium, but sometimes a house—that is rented on a temporary basis to professionals and corporate staff members. As an alternative to spending several weeks or even months in a hotel, this option has grown popular in recent years. A corporate housing stay usually lasts at least four weeks.
This type of accommodation includes not only an expanded living space but also the full range of services and amenities you would expect in a private residence. This includes everything from utilities and secure wifi to coffee makers and cozy couches. It is an especially common practice in Canada and the United States.
What are the advantages of Corporate Housing?
Rather than a long-term stay in a hotel room, HR departments and transferees are finding many benefits to using corporate housing. Not only are companies saving money, but their staff are feeling more comfortable and enjoying their stays in Canada.
When you stay in corporate housing instead of a hotel, you can end up saving a lot of money. Typically, it will cost a bit more than the price of an ordinary home rental. But that’s based on the fact that these units are fully furnished, including bath and kitchenwares as well as utility set ups. Even with the cost of these conveniences, you will still pay less than you would for a nice hotel room or suite. But more important than just the price, is what you end up getting for your money.
Personal Living Space
Even in a more high-end hotel, you never really get over the feeling that you’re living out of a suitcase. With corporate housing, however, you have a house or apartment that really feels like home. Corporate Housing companies normally offer a variety of options, ranging from one to three bedrooms, to accommodate individuals as well as families. In the end, these residences have about two or three times the square footage of hotel space. This ensures that every transferee and their whole family has room to spread out and literally make themselves at home.
Also, having a fully equipped kitchen means that you can eat at home. This is one more way that you will save money over living out of a hotel. And furthermore, you’ll be able to prepare some of you favorite meals, dishes you might not find in Canadian restaurants. This can be a great way to help cope with homesickness, in case that’s ever a problem for you or your family.
Convenience and community
Part of living in a hotel means being surrounded by other tourists and visitors. Most hotels are situated to be close to freeways and fast food restaurants. And you always feel like you’re just passing through.
But with corporate housing, you live in a real residential community among families and locals. Generally, these units are in quieter, safer neighbourhoods, but also within proximity to all the important amenities. Temporary residents can therefore have easy access to grocery stores, gyms, schools, and medical services, without having to spend an inordinate amount of time fighting traffic or getting lost in a foreign city. And speaking of traffic, you can usually count on having adequate parking space and being close to public transportation.
Smooth transitions with Corporate Housing
Ordinarily, corporate housing is a service best suited for temporary job assignments. But it can also be advantageous for long-term and even permanent relocations. Not that you want to stay in corporate housing on a permanent basis. But it can make for a smooth transition as you get to know your new city and shop around for your house or apartment.
Newcomers can be easy targets for unscrupulous landlords, although this is not a very common problem in the friendly land of Canada. But even so, the more time you have to familiarize yourself with a new city, the better your chances of finding the best deal. And corporate housing can provide you just the time and security you need to start getting settled without feeling rushed.
What are some potential disadvantages of Corporate Housing?
One issue that can come up with corporate housing has to do with the fact that many Corporate Housing companies have gotten into the Relocation business, and vice versa. You can rest assured that this is NOT a problem with ARIANNE Relocation.
Conflicts of Interest
When a relocation service is engaged in the business of corporate housing, they will naturally try to steer their clients towards one of their own properties. While this might be the client’s best option, they need to be aware of all their choices. And based on the specific location of their employer and their family’s particular needs, other housing options might actually make more sense.
The job of a relocation specialist is to work as an advocate on behalf of their client. That means providing them with as much impartial, unbiased information as possible. In this way they can help their clients to make decisions and arrangements that will be in their own best interests.
Some larger corporate housing companies have vast networks of real estate across North America. Their ability to provide accommodations in thousands of different cities confers a certain degree of convenience, but sometimes they over reach. When the company that provides corporate housing is also selling travel insurance, phone contracts and financial services, you might encounter more conflicts of interest. Again, a foreign transferee can often get better results and save money by working with an experienced and reliable relocation specialist with more local knowledge.
Opportunism and inexperience
Corporate Housing is an exciting and fast-growing industry right now. That’s because it does a great job of providing a valuable solution for the international business community. But it can also mean that some property owners are jumping into the business with dollar signs in their eyes but not enough good sense in their tool box.
A landlord, for example, who is used to renting apartments to self-sufficient tenants could start renting to corporate clients hoping to charge more rent for his/her units. But the landlord is not necessarily prepared to provide the services and amenities to justify that higher price in rent.
In another case, the property owner might expect a huge demand for corporate housing, but then have trouble finding clients. As a result, a large apartment complex could end up with a very high vacancy rate. This could lead to safety and security problems, and a possible shortage of services.
For these reasons, and to avoid other similar scenarios, it’s important to work with a trusted and established housing provider.
In the end, corporate housing in Canada comes with a number of benefits. As a solution to the issues faced by human resources departments and their transferring staff members, corporate housing can be a win-win for employers and employees alike. Not only does the company save money on the cost of accommodations, but the transferees and their families end up feeling more comfortable and secure while living in Canada. And because they are more comfortable, that means they can continue to perform well at work with minimal disruptions.
At the same time, it’s important to perform your due diligence. Make sure you are working with a reputable and trustworthy company. You might also want to hire a relocation specialist to help ease the transition process and ensure that everything goes right.
Where can I find Corporate Housing in Canada?
Corporate Housing is widely available throughout Canada, but especially in the major cities that are home to more corporate offices.
Preferred Corporate Housing is probably the largest corporate housing provider in North America. With housing options in more than 75,000 cities across Canada and the U.S., PCH is everywhere you you want to be.
Corporate Stays has luxury properties in several Canadian cities, as well as Europe and the United States. They pride themselves on their high, executive standards.
Corporate Suites of Calgary has two locations in central Calgary and offers stays of three days up to one year. Their thoughtfully designed, tastefully decorated apartments appeal to those looking to enjoy upscale accommodations with all the comforts of home, below standard hotel rates.
Exec Suite has 5 properties located in the heart of Calgary near restaurants‚ businesses and shops. Each location features a different and functional floor plan. Options include everything from quaint studio apartments to three-bedroom town homes. Available at weekly or monthly rates.
Princeton Executive Suites are located in the heart of downtown Edmonton and available for minimum stays of one month. Apartments are fully furnished and most have views of the city. Edmonton’s core business and entertainment districts are just minutes away.
Montreal Stays provides business travelers with a curated and handpicked collection of comfortable, modern furnished apartments located in the heart of the city.
Montreal Executive Apartments offers luxury, open-concept suites, designed and furnished with an eye for detail. Each apartment features quality furnishings and a fully-equipped kitchen, including in-suite washer/dryers. Clients also have access to the rooftop spa with pool, hot tub, sauna, steam bath and gym.
McKellar Park Suites Spacious apartment-style suites feature a separate living room, separate bedrooms, separate kitchen, four piece bathroom and outdoor parking.
Vista Corporate Housing grew from the joining together of a select group of existing companies, with substantial collective knowledge and experience of Toronto’s furnished apartment market. They offer concierge service, housekeeping and much more.
Glengrove Suites provides furnished apartments at five locations in Toronto with a range of services and amenities to meet every traveler’s needs. Minimum stays of just three nights.
Sterling Furnished Suites has furnished apartment rentals in multiple locations around Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby and throughout the Lower Mainland area. A wide range of suite sizes, options and extensive furnishings are available. Most units are within a 30-minute drive to Downtown Vancouver.
Suite Living is part of Sterling Suites, but at a different website.
To learn more about relocating to Canada for work and business, take a look at some of our other helpful articles.
ARIANNE has been providing relocation services for transferees and their families for more than 20 years. Our clients’ comfort and satisfaction is always our number one concern. Check out our full range of products and services to see how we can help make your relocation for smooth and successful.
PHOTO CREDIT: High-rise condominiums in Yaletown, Vancouver (Wikipedia)