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Airbnb now wants you to rent out your rental

Lakshmi Varanasi   

Airbnb now wants you to rent out your rental
  • Airbnb plans to help renters list their homes to earn additional income.
  • The company says it could help mitigate the impact of skyrocketing rental rates.

Airbnb is on a mission to help renters earn a little extra income — and probably keep a little for itself, too.

The company announced plans on Friday to help renters list their rental homes on its platform. Airbnb plans to work with city and state governments to "advocate for short-term rental rules that allow renters to share their home."

Despite the stories of Airbnb hosts who turn millions in profit by renting out their properties, Airbnb said that more than 40% of homeowners in the United States who rent properties on the platform have used the extra money just to stay in their homes. About 10% said the money helped them avoid eviction or foreclosure.

So, as rental rates skyrocket across the country, Airbnb said its new initiative could also help renters "stay in their homes."

In 2022, a record 22.4 million renter households were cost-burdened, meaning they spent more than 30% of their income on rent and utilities, according to a report from Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies, which Airbnb cited. The report also noted an "all-time high" of 12.1 million renter households were severely cost-burdened, meaning they spent more than half their income on housing costs. As a result, those with the lowest incomes spent 39% less on food and 42% less on healthcare than their "unburdened counterparts."

One of the roadblocks to Airbnb's renter initiative is that "a lot of the early laws that were made limited short-term rental to homeownership," Theo Yedinsky, the vice president of public policy at Airbnb, told CNN.

More recently, towns and cities across North America have begun cracking down on short-term rentals, requiring licenses and, in some cases, asking short-term rental owners to live in the property as their primary residence.

One promising sign for Airbnb, at least is that Virginia signed a law earlier this week that requires localities that issue short-term rental permits to property owners to issue the same permit to tenants — provided they have permission from the property owner. Cities like Raleigh, San Diego, and Tulsa have also passed "renter-friendly" policies, Airbnb said.

"Homeownership should not be a barrier to entry when it comes to sharing your home," Mike Signer, Airbnb's North America policy director, said in the company's announcement. "The vast majority of Hosts in the US share their space to help cover the rising cost of living, and we want to partner with cities to develop sensible short-term rental policies that grant renters the opportunity to do the same."

Airbnb did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

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