Airbnb Partners With Building Owners To Let Renters Act As Hosts

Tenants can become short-term rental hosts for as much as half of the year under a new approach that connects renters with buildings that allow Airbnbs.

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Airbnb leaders said this month, they were looking for ways to bring more supply to the world’s leading short-term rental platform; and on Wednesday they announced their latest target: Long-term interest rates.

“Renters interested in hosting a spare room, or their entire apartment when they’re out of town, can browse more than 175 Airbnb-friendly apartment buildings,” the company announced Wednesday morning.

In a strategy shift, the company said it would unveil tools for renters to find apartment buildings that allow tenants to make money by renting out their spaces on a short-term basis. The update helps renters keep up with the higher cost of living, but there are strategic benefits of the change for Airbnb, the company says.

The changes are part of an ongoing effort to achieve what CEO Brian Chesky recently called the “holy grail” of increasing the supply of short-term rentals and encouraging travelers to search where there’s more demand. The move means Airbnb is growing what has historically been one of the company’s largest markets: Urban areas.

“Airbnb was founded during the Great Recession when Brian and Joe needed help affording their rent, and now Airbnb-friendly apartments build on that founding story by making it easier for people to reap the economic benefits of hosting,” said Nathan Blecharzyck, Airbnb’s chief strategy officer. “As the cost of living continues to rise, renters can use the extra income earned by hosting part-time on Airbnb to contribute to their rent, save for a home, or pay for other living expenses.”

The updates move the company into a third-party position of connecting prospective renters with property management companies during their searches for apartments.

The updates will allow prospective renters to browse units in buildings that specifically allow for short-term rentals. They can then use a calculator to estimate how much they can earn acting as part-time Airbnb hosts.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on the update. Airbnb is partnering with 175 buildings managed by a dozen companies, including some of the nation’s largest property managers, such as Greystar Real Estate Partners and Equity Residential, according to the article.

Those companies will get a cut from the Airbnb sublets of about 20 percent, the outlet reported.

Airbnb did not immediately respond to questions about which markets were part of the initial launch and how many units it expected could be added as part of the change.

CNBC reported the markets include Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Denver, Seattle and Phoenix. The company is avoiding markets like New York City and Washington, DC over stringent restrictions on short-term rentals, the outlet reported.

The update comes after a period of a meteoric rise in monthly rent that has only recently begun to slow. The price of rent is up 10.2 percent in September compared to a year before and more than 25 percent compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company is rolling out the new feature in just over two dozen markets after an apparent trial period this summer. Between July and October, renters who rented out part or all of their apartments earned an average of $900 per month, the company said.

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