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Airbnb’s Next Step: An Apartment Complex Designed For Home Sharing

The company has teamed up with a Florida developer for a project that lets landlords and tenants share home-sharing profits.

Airbnb’s Next Step: An Apartment Complex Designed For Home Sharing
[Photo: Joel Filipe]

Airbnb may have found a way to make landlords, tenants, and possibly even lawmakers happy. The home-sharing platform has teamed up with Florida developer Newgard to create Niido, a concept apartment building designed to support home sharing. The 324-unit tower will go up near theme park-laden Orlando, in the nearby town of Kissimmee, Florida, within the first quarter of 2018.

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“This partnership shows how landlords, developers and Airbnb can work together to create value for everyone and better serve tenants,” Airbnb’s director of global multifamily partnerships, Jaja Jackson, said in a press release.

Renters will be able to offer up their home on Airbnb 180 days out of every year while Newgard will have the opportunity to claim a percentage of the money tenants make from renting out their home. Just how much they’ll take is unknown, but the landlord gets to decide. As a part of the contract, tenants get an app that provides keyless entry to apartments and allows Niido management to assist them with cleaning and linen services for guests—much like a hotel.

Newgard is developing several buildings, both residential and commercial, with millennial tastes in mind. Buildings often promise mid-century-modern furniture and restaurants nestled into ground floors. The company’s latest project involves giving tenants access to bike- and car-sharing facilities. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Newgard is also in the hotel business. It’s currently working on a combination boutique hotel and residence called Gale in Fort Lauderdale that’s slated to open around the same time as Niido.

In addition to giving Airbnb an opportunity to toy with a more consistent, hotel-like experience, Niido is also an attempt to create a model that satisfies all of the company’s critics. Landlords can’t directly list whole apartments on Airbnb–only tenants can. Government officials in certain cities like New York have argued that when landlords rent units directly on Airbnb, it constrains housing supplies for local residents.

Airbnb has taken some steps to eject bad actors from its platform, but removing listings means lost revenue. By setting up housing that’s designed specifically for home sharing, Airbnb might be able to protect its users from government crackdowns and fines. Landlords, who might not be keen on the risk that comes with having renters that let their apartments from time to time, are kept happy by getting a cut of the returns. Meanwhile, tenants get like-minded neighbors who won’t complain about their transient guests.

That said, tenants may have reservations about giving up more money to landlords. After all, many may be subletting their apartments on Airbnb in the first place because their rent is too high.

About the author

Ruth Reader is a writer for Fast Company who covers gig economy platforms, contract workers, and the future of jobs.

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