For various reasons related to their livelihoods or personal preferences, some people choose to live semi-nomadic lifestyles, requiring temporary and flexible housing arrangements.  Most people, at the very least, travel and vacation away from home.  Bloomberg News reports that 70% of the hotel market in the U.S. is dominated by large chains, 1 the vast majority of which fall under the ownership of about 12 hotel groups.  Local economies, nomads, and travelers will all benefit greatly from the creation of locally-owned, community-owned, small scale, and/or peer-to-peer solutions for the provision of temporary housing, including hotels, B&Bs, hostels, boarding houses, rooming houses, campgrounds, RV parks, and guest houses.

The provision of temporary housing tends to be subject to a different set of regulations than the provision of leasehold interests.  First of all, although definitions vary by jurisdiction, the right to stay in a place for fewer than 30 days is generally seen as the granting of a license, not a lease.  Housing provided for longer periods under other special circumstances may also be treated as a license, not a lease; for example, provision of college dorm rooms to students and provision of housing in connection with employment, such as for lighthouse keepers, are sometimes treated as licenses, not leases; this makes them easier to terminate at the conclusion of an academic year or at termination of employment.

The provider of a license is often seen as the operator of a business, subject to local business tax, to sales tax, to special hotel tax rates, and to local business regulations.  Because the person staying in the space is generally not considered to have full possession and control of the space, the owner/provider has a higher threshold of responsibility to provide a healthy and safe environment.  Regulations may require the posting of exit signs, adherence to heightened fire codes (which may mandate the installation of sprinklers), prohibitions on smoking, and so on.

Hotels, boarding houses, and other temporary housing providers are generally not allowed to operate in certain residential zones of a city, particularly in single-family residential zones.

  1. “Big Hotel Chains Aim to Dominate Europe After Conquering U.S.” by Nadja Brandt and Armorel Kenna, Bloomberg News, Apr 29, 2010.