February 6, 2023

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Airbnb is partnering with apartment buildings across the U.S. to curate a list of places that allow tenants to sublet to short-stay renters. Now you can sign a lease knowing that if you end up struggling to pay rent you’ll at least be able to list your spare room on Airbnb.

The new Airbnb-friendly apartment program currently includes over 175 buildings in 29 cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Austin, Phoenix, and Miami. Potential long-term renters can browse apartment buildings by location, and sort them by highest rent, lowest rent, or how close they are to downtown. 

Like any other property website, Airbnb’s long-term rental listings include checklists of amenities, floorplans, and carefully curated real estate photography to help you imagine the type of person you could be if you lived there. Potential renters can contact each individual building’s management via Airbnb to ask specific questions, schedule a tour, or if they want to sign a lease.

But unlike other property websites, Airbnb also lists how many nights per year tenants are allowed to sublet the apartment for short stays, which is determined by each individual building. It further includes an earnings calculator potential renters can use to estimate how much they might earn by listing the place on Airbnb. This is adjusted according to the size of the apartment, how many nights per month they intend to rent it, and based on the past year of similar Airbnb bookings.

This income isn’t a sure bet, with a lot of assumption and conjecture still involved in the equation. There’s no guarantee that the tenant will be able to rent out their spare room at Airbnb’s calculated listing price, and it’s unlikely that it will actually be booked for every single day it’s listed. Still, it’s potentially useful for helping potential renters make reasonable estimates.

Some apartment buildings do discourage or prohibit short-stay rentals, so it’s good to know this shouldn’t be an issue for anyone who finds their long-term rental through Airbnb.

Airbnb has copped a lot of flack for ostensibly contributing to higher rental costs, so proposing renters pay said higher costs by subletting on Airbnb may feel a bit bitter. But rent still has to be paid, and there’s a good chance you or your friends have used an Airbnb before regardless of any impact you feel it may have on housing affordability. You are also part of the problem.

There is of course the chance that people will use the Airbnb-friendly apartment program to find places they can sublet full time. In the end, it will be up to the owner to determine what type of tenant they take on.



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