Have you ever been on a villa holiday?
If so, the chances are that the villa you stayed in was rented through an agency - but the villa is nearly always owned by a private individual.
The owner has often bought the villa so he or she can retire there later on in life, or spend a good part of the year there at least, and rents it out to cover a part mortgage, maintenance, etc.
And this normally works well.
Search for Tenerife villa holidays for example and up will come a choice of those available via specialist agencies and private owners.
Holidaymakers get to spend time in great accommodation, the agency make some commission and the owners make some money to keep the property in good shape, pay a mortgage and if they're lucky have some left over.
But during a recession this arrangement can become unstuck. If a villa isn't rented out many weeks the owner could have difficulty keeping up with the financial side of things, and if the property isn't maintained the agency might drop letting it out, if they get receive poor reviews.
The upside is that for those who want to rent the agencies and owners are more likely to cut the rental costs down to get occupancy, and some money at least.
There's an article that goes more into this, and also the benefits of a villa holiday compared to a hotel one - to read it click through to this villa holiday blog