Airbnb launches first hosting platform for apartment renters

Airbnb introduces Airbnb-friendly apartments

Airbnb partners with several major landlords and management companies to list designated apartment buildings where tenants are permitted to offer short-term on-site subletting.

The company said Wednesday that a new page on its website will list so-called Airbnb-friendly buildings, which will allow renters to host their apartments just as homeowners can.

Typically, rental buildings prohibit tenants from subletting for short stays.

To start, Airbnb lists 175 apartment buildings in more than 25 major markets, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Denver, Seattle and Phoenix. Some cities, such as New York City and Washington, DC, are not available due to local short-term rental restrictions.

The platform will help tenants host their rentals and help the buildings attract tenants who may want to host. How much tenants can earn will vary.

“It depends on the building, it depends on the location, there are a lot of different assumptions,” Nathan Blecharczyk, co-founder of Airbnb.

Given how much rents have risen over the past few years, along with home prices and other rising prices, renters are increasingly looking for ways to supplement their income in order to make their monthly payments. Rents are starting to ease, but are still up 10% from a year ago, according to Apartment List.

Last year the rent increased by more than 15% compared to the previous year.

The new page on Airbnb’s website will also offer a calculator that shows how much money the renter can potentially make per month. The calculation changes depending on the number of bedrooms and the number of nights each building allows, as well as the potential asking rents, given the building’s amenities.

Apartment buildings may also charge the primary tenant a fee of up to 20% of the price for each Airbnb use. For the buildings that have been in test mode so far, Airbnb said renters have been hosting an average of nine nights a month with an average income of $900 a month.

All hosts in the participating buildings must be the primary resident, and the buildings may limit how many nights per month the apartment can be sublet. This is generally between 80 and 120 nights per year. The restrictions, which are enforceable as the transactions all take place on the portal, are intended to prevent investors from participating and subletting the apartments full time.

The apartment building owner or management company also has the right to review the listings before they go live and disable a listing if it doesn’t meet the building’s standards. They can also authorize a public ID from all potential sub-letters.

Equity Residential and UDR, which are apartment real estate investment trusts, or REITs, and Greystar, the largest apartment management company in the United States, are among the big names offering apartments with hosting privileges on the new Airbnb platform.

“We believe this platform will provide the right tools for both owners and residents to effectively manage short-term rental activities without impacting the overall housing supply,” said a Greystar representative. “We are partnering with Airbnb on this innovative approach to participating in the 21st centurySt century’s sharing economy in a thought-provoking way.”

CNBC producer Lisa Rizzolo contributed to this story.

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