As a result, funding and new companies have flowed in.
Blueground, a company first launched in Greece and backed by $28 million in venture capital, has around 115 corporate-stay units in the Los Angeles area and is adding "like 20 every month," said Christopher Tin, the company's local general manager.
Some firms -- instead of taking the traditional corporate housing route of operating in newer, high-end apartment complexes -- have moved into older, renovated buildings. That's still a minority of the business, but Curtis said older buildings can be attractive because corporate clients are seeking cheaper housing as rents have skyrocketed and there's a growing interest in "buildings that have soul."
Diamond said he wants to create an "experience." Renovated units at the Hollywood building include custom-made furniture, hand-painted wallpaper and robes and slippers branded with the name of his company, StayTony.
Leases at the company's properties are for a minimum of 31 days and tenants stay on average for three months. Diamond said landlords pay for the renovations and give StayTony a management fee. So far, two of the units at the property near Hollywood and Highland have been converted, with plans to start on a third soon.
Diamond said his company is providing a need -- temporary housing -- at rates cheaper than a hotel. Like other corporate rentals, renters include people in town for business, but also other people who are looking for temporary housing such as those going through a divorce. If they want, they can stay for a year or longer.
Pedja Terzin said he and his wife chose to rent a roughly $3,100 studio at another StayTony Los Angeles building because, as e-commerce workers, they can work from anywhere and wanted to move back to the United States after traveling in Europe for months but weren't positive where they wanted to settle down.
"One or two months, and then that is going to be enough for us to see if we dig the Los Angeles style," the 36-year-old said from London.
Danny Monempour, the owner of the building near Hollywood and Highland, said he doesn't believe his partnership with StayTony hurts the housing market. Even before renovations, apartment units weren't cheap. And, since the company's leases are for at least 31 days, he doubted many would-be occupants would have chosen a hotel if StayTony didn't exist.
"I would argue we are not removing housing stock," he said. "They are still apartment units."