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Airbnb to launch apartment rental service and give landlords a cut

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Home-sharing service Airbnb has a pitch for renters stretched thin by inflation: Rent out your apartment to guests to offset the rising cost of living. 

The short-term rental service is partnering with some of the biggest landlords to helps renters find an Airbnb-friendly apartment where they can live and host at the same time. 

“Airbnb-friendly apartments are part of Airbnb’s broader efforts to help more people tap into the economic benefits of hosting at a time when many are trying to keep up with the rising cost of living,” the company said in a statement announcing the new initiative Wednesday. 

Airbnb has an inventory of more than 175 host-friendly apartment buildings in more than 25 markets across the U.S., the company said. Renters can list an empty room on the site or rent out their entire apartment while they are away.

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Airbnb’s new partners include buildings operated by Equity Residential, Greystar, Sentral and others. Prospective renters can browse Airbnb-friendly apartments on Airbnb’s website.

Airbnb said the initiative brings the company back to its roots, when co-founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia took in strangers to help cover their rent. 

“Airbnb was founded during the Great Recession when Brian and Joe needed help affording their rent, and now Airbnb-friendly apartments build on that founding story by making it easier for people to reap the economic benefits of hosting,” Airbnb co-founder and chief strategy officer Nathan Blecharzyck said in a statement. “As the cost of living continues to rise, renters can use the extra income earned by hosting part-time on Airbnb to contribute to their rent, save for a home, or pay for other living expenses.”

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More than 40% of Airbnb hosts use the income they earn on the platform to help them cover higher costs of living, according to an Airbnb poll. The new program says it aims to extend that opportunity to more Americans. 

It is also a way for Airbnb to grow at a time when dozens of U.S. cities and states have banned short-term rentals. In New York, for example, all short-term rentals of entire homes are illegal. Housing activists have accused Airbnb and other short-term rental companies of exacerbating the housing crisis by turning much-needed dwellings into de facto hotels.

Landlords will get a cut of up to 20% of the total booking revenue from Airbnb sublets, the Wall Street Journal reported. 

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