Businesses Renting Rooms for Hourly Service Diversifying

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A room in a condo in Kawasaki that is available for renting on an hourly basis

Businesses that rent rooms and other spaces are diversifying. There are cases recently of individuals renting out their homes and shops, not the typical conference rooms or shared offices.

In the new form or services, lenders can earn extra income utilizing in-between time and borrowers have a wider selection of spaces to choose from.

This new form of business is attracting attention as an emerging market.

¥100,000 a month

One such rental space is an owner-occupied condo in Kawasaki. It has an open kitchen, dining table, chairs and sofa in front of a large TV.

A 30-year-old male company employee lives in the condo and uses the space as his living and dining room. He occasionally rents the room for photo shoots for advertisements and posts on social media.

The man began renting space in his home in February. He is registered with Spacemarket Inc., a Tokyo-based company that brokers rental services of vacant spaces. Since February, renters have occupied the space about 10 times a month.

He stays out of the house for two to eight hours while the space is being rented, and he can decide for how long the space is available for rent and what part to offer for the service.

The man has earned ¥100,000 a month at the most via the service.

“Since I began the hourly rental service, I’ve been able to spend tens of thousands of yen more on my hobby each month,” he said. “I feel especially glad when borrowers praise the interior of my home.”

Furniture, home electronics

Compared with rental conference rooms, homes have more furniture and home appliances.

Spacemarket compensates property owners if furniture or other items are damaged.

“People in their 20s and 30s have less resistance about renting their homes for hourly fees,” a company spokesperson said, noting that an increasing number of people have been utilizing such forms of rental services.

In addition to individuals’ homes, an increasing number of bars, izakaya pubs, other eateries and parking lots are offered for hourly rent.

The business hours of eateries are limited to daytime and nighttime. While operators face difficulties in securing workers, they can rent their spaces when closed instead of extending service hours. By doing so, they can earn some extra revenue.

Borrowers praise these services because they can have fun in such spaces without worrying about others staring at them.

Homemakers or mothers with young children can hold gatherings. People with common hobbies can get together and share their passions. Company employees can gather to casually exchange opinions. Such people have the need for these types of rental spaces.

Also, renting parking lots when not in use can partially ease the shortage of parking spaces in tourist areas or be used at the time of special events such as fireworks festivals.

The new rental services are contributing to resolving tasks in local communities.

Up to ¥4.8 trillion

Space rental services have existed for some time. However, in the wake of the proliferation of smartphones, the sharing economy has taken root and spread rapidly, as seen with the sharing of cars and private lodging.

According to the Sharing Economy Association Japan, the market size of rental space businesses in fiscal 2018 reached ¥500 billion. Although the figure fell to around ¥320 billion during the novel coronavirus crisis, it recovered to about ¥380 billion in fiscal 2022.

The association predicts that the market size will expand to between ¥2.5 trillion and ¥4.8 trillion in fiscal 2032.