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How Airbnb Is Tackling Multifamily

Valued at $25.5B with over 80 million short-term guests (including Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake), Airbnb has proven disruptive for the hospitality industry. But it’s facing headwinds in multifamily as property managers worry about liability, lawsuits and, yes, getting a share of the revenue. Airbnb’s director of multifamily housing partnerships Jaja Jackson tells us Airbnb is trying to soothe those pain points and turn landlords into partners. Before he speaks at Bisnow's Annual Multifamily Conference – South (our all-day event on July 21 in Dallas), Jaja gave us a sneak peek.


Airbnb believes there are tremendous opportunities for owners, managers and homeowners associations to work together with Airbnb. Jaja tells us the company spent over a year gathering feedback from the multifamily community, and is beginning work in certain cities that embodies that feedback and the spirit of cooperation.

Some landlords are listening.  Representatives from Equity Residential, Avalon Bay Communities and Camden Property Trust have reportedly met with Airbnb to discuss allowing tenants to use the service.


One point of contention: Multifamily reps say homesharing for a day or two is very different than subletting because there is no lease—and no direct way for them to grab a share of the profit from the short-term rental.

Another worry is that apartments that might normally be offered as rentals might be snapped up by investors who rent them out like hotel rooms. If widespread, this could squeeze the rental market, drive up prices, and make affordable housing even more difficult to find.

Jaja says that Airbnb is experimenting with different ways to work with property owners to address those concerns. 


The perceived negatives of homesharing—theft, property damage, squatting—are grossly overstated, Jaja tells us. There have been over 80 million guest arrivals at Airbnb listings worldwide and negative incidents are extremely rare, he says. Airbnb has several ways to ensure both guests and hosts are safe. Jaja tells us Airbnb uses sophisticated technologies and behavioral analysis techniques to help prevent bad hosts or guests from ever using the platform in the first place. 

Second, Airbnb maximizes transparency by requiring hosts and guests to provide their identities. Hosts can require that guests provide a government ID, and Airbnb created a program called Verified ID, which connects a person’s offline identification with their Airbnb profile. 

Additionally, Airbnb provides ways for hosts and guests to communicate and get to know one another before a booking occurs. The goal is to build trust and a track record for users to be able to learn more about each other through publicly available reviews and feedback, Jaja says.

The company also offer protection insurance and a $1M host guarantee to help protect hosts and property.


Jaja views Airbnb as an amenity for the neighborhood. At a time of limited resources, Airbnb offers a more sustainable way to travel that delivers economic benefits to communities that have historically been underserved by the hotel industry. Roughly three-quarters of Airbnb’s listings are outside traditional hotel districts, so guests can live in the diverse neighborhoods that make cities great. Hosts keep 97% of the price they charge for their listing and more of the money generated by Airbnb guests stays in the community and supports local businesses like restaurants, boutiques and local markets. And Airbnb listings in North America consume 63% less energy than hotels on a per guest night basis, Jaja says.

Learn more about how Airbnb is working with multifamily leaders at Bisnow's Annual Multifamily Conference, an all-day affair in Dallas on July 21. Get your tickets here.

Related Topics: multifamily, airbnb, Jaja Jackson