Japan’s SpaceMarket to launch Airbnb-style site

26 Sep 2017

Internet giants Rakuten and Lifull are not the only firms in Japan gearing up for January 2018, when the country’s new law for renting private accommodation will go into effect.

Tokyo-based real estate start-up Space Market Inc. is already accepting listings from accommodation owners, but the site will only launch officially once the Private Lodgings Business Law, which legalizes time rental of private accommodation on certain conditions, has gone into effect in January.

The start-up’s site will be at Stay.SpaceMarket.com.

Daisuke Shigematsu, chief executive officer of SpaceMarket (from his Wantedly profile with thanks)

The law, which was passed by Japan’s upper house in June this year, legalized sites such as Airbnb.

“Thanks to the new housing law, many businesses and individuals can legally rent their homes,” the company said in a news release. On its site, it will be possible to rent accommodation for as short a period as a few hours. And for a maximum of 180 days.

The law allows private accommodation to be rented out for a maximum of 180 days in a year (calculated cumulatively).

Properties rented out in this way, will have to register with their local authorities, which may – in turn – implement their own restrictions. 

Established in January 1984, Space Market has been running a space-sharing platform at SpaceMarket.com for the past three years. Currently, the site has 12,000 properties rented for various purposes, such as parties, shootings and conferences.

The company said it often receives inquiries for attractive spaces to rent, such as old, private homes, for short-period accommodation.

“We will continue to provide space for business use, such as conference rooms, halls, convention centers and offices all over the country, as well as public facilities owned by local governments, commercial facilities, shops, shopping districts, temples, shrines, and aquariums,” the company said.

“We plan to turn unique, idle spaces in Japan, such as gymnasiums, grounds, amusement parks, planetariums, remote islands and private homes, into shared accommodation for companies to rent.”

PropertyPortal Watch reported that the site is likely to charge fees, based on competition analysis, from both hosts and guests.

Rakuten Lifull Stay is also awaiting the legislation to take effect before launching its vacation rental service, tentatively titled ‘Vacation Stay’. The launch is expected next year, but the group is doing a lot of spadework to bring its tourist-focused venture into the limelight.

For instance, it partnered with international vacation services – most recently, with a Chinese holiday rental site (we reported). 

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Tariq Ahmed Saeedi

Tariq Ahmed Saeedi writes stories on sharing economies in Asia – particularly Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Iran. He has been with the AIM Group for the past two years. Tariq is also a spotter, monitoring global industry’s updates. He carries more than 15 years of writing experience. Tariq frequently contributes economic/tech news and analysis to a daily The News International and a magazine. He has also written features and interview articles for various other publications and some of his write-ups have been cited for references in reports by the World Bank and archived in Florida Institute of Technology’s library. Tariq has also narrated corporate website content for Audi importer in Pakistan and others. He started his career from a television’s current affairs department in 2003 and later joined the country’s premier news agency Pakistan Press International.