by Benedictus Robert Yota
JAKARTA, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) — The business of rooming houses, locally known as kosts in Indonesia, has been hit hard since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Kosts provide an affordable means of accommodation for Indonesian young employees, university students, and freelancers. However, some occupants have moved out of their kosts, due to a work-from-home policy for many companies as well as the study-from-home regulation for universities and schools.
“Since last year, I was required to work from home. Several months after the policy was introduced, I decided to move out of my rooming house to save money,” said Renaldo Steven, an employee at a startup based in Jakarta.
He finally decided to move back to his parent’s house in Bandung city, West Java province. It has been more than a year since Steven last went to his office.
Generally, rent for Indonesian rooming houses can go from as low as 500,000 rupiahs (about 35 U.S. dollars) to as high as 5 million rupiahs (350 U.S. dollars) per month, depending on the number and quality of the facilities provided such as a private bathroom, air conditioner, internet connection, laundry, parking space and room size.
As a way to keep tenants from leaving, some kost owners have cut the rents.
During his last few months living in his kost, Steven’s landlord gave him a 20-percent monthly rent discount, from 2 million rupiahs (140 dollars) to 1.6 million rupiahs (112 dollars).
Karim Munaf, an owner of a 120-room building located in South Tangerang city, Banten province, has also given a 15 percent discount to some of his tenants.
“Before the pandemic, the occupancy rate for my kost building was at 100 percent. However, it has since dropped to 70 percent during the pandemic, which was the reason we cut down the price,” Munaf told Xinhua recently.
Meanwhile, Irvano Putra, an owner of a 12-room kost house located in the Senayan area, South Jakarta, also mentioned that his occupancy rate has dropped during the pandemic, from also 100 percent before the pandemic to currently 40 percent.
However, Putra also expressed his confidence that the business would rebound to the pre-pandemic level once the situation returns to normalcy.
The Indonesian government extended public activity restrictions, locally known as PPKM, till Aug. 23 for regions in Java and Bali and areas outside the two islands.
In addition, the government will evaluate and decide whether or not to extend the restrictions for regions outside Java and Bali by next week.
The daily number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia increased by 17,384 on Monday, taking the total to 3,871,738, with the death toll growing by 1,245 a day to 118,833, according to the health ministry.
Originally Appeared Here