Airbnb is helping find renters an apartment so they can Airbnb it

Airbnb really wants you to Airbnb an apartment. So its latest step is to find renters a place, which they can also list on the travel booking platform.

Today, the company introduced a new program called “Airbnb-friendly apartments” in the U.S. It allows renters to find an apartment in more than 25 markets — including Austin, Houston, Phoenix, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Miami, San Diego, Sacramento and Tampa — where they can Airbnb a spare room, or the whole apartment while they’re away.

At the launch, the company partnered with local building owners to list 175 “Airbnb-friendly” apartments across different regions. Renters can head to the company’s dedicated site for the program and hunt for properties in a specific location. Once you select an apartment, you can use an earnings calculator that estimates how much you can earn from listing the place on Airbnb.

Image Credits: Airbnb

You can directly contact the building manager from Airbnb’s site to schedule a tour of the property. On the program FAQ, Airbnb specifies that it doesn’t own any of these properties. It also mentions that renters will have to follow local laws and building rules about putting their place on Airbnb, along with the company’s own community guidelines. Rental and lease agreements are handled directly between landlords and renters, however, with Airbnb staying removed from that part of the process.

Airbnb claimed that in a recent poll conducted by the company — results of which are not public — three-quarters of “US adults support allowing renters to share their apartments on a short-term basis.” The company has presumably struck up a partnership with property owners to allow renters to list their properties on a platform and earn some money from the arrangement. However, Airbnb didn’t disclose specifics of its partnership arrangements.

“Traditionally, renters have been excluded from sharing their homes part-time because of strict lease terms. We think this program will help more renters benefit from Hosting on Airbnb to earn extra money to help cover the rising cost of living,” the company said in an email response.

Airbnb mentioned that while it doesn’t take a cut from the rent, building owners “take a revenue share of between 20-25% of a host’s booking amount.”

Airbnb and its hosts have been blamed in the past for listing out properties without proper permission. Earlier this month, New York City published stricter rules for hosts asking them to submit full diagrams of the listed property along with proof that the property is a permanent residence. In France, it’s mandatory for the renters to take written permission from the landlord to sublet the house. Last year, the city of Paris fined Airbnb $9.6 million for hosting illegal listings that were not properly registered with the authorities.

The company said that its new program gives access to tools that property managers can use to view and approve listings, see the number of hosts and booked guests at any time and put a cap on annual nights that could be listed on Airbnb. These tools also give the ability for property managers to pause the listing in case a host breaks the building rules.

The travel booking company — which already has more than 4 million hosts on its service — wants to build a vast network of hosts on the platform. Earlier this month, it released new tools for hosts, including a guided setup with a super host and better coverage for damages. At that time, CEO Brian Chesky told TechCrunch that he doesn’t want to “get to a supply-constrained era” when it comes to hosts. The Airbnb-friendly apartment program is another way for the company to have more listings on its platform.

Update November 30, 8:45 PM IST: Post updated with responses from Airbnb about tools available to property managers.