Airbnb’s New Revenue-Sharing Program with Landlords Off to Shaky Start

Airbnb’s attempt to bring landlords into the fold by offering them a cut of revenue is off to a shaky start. In an effort to get landlords to allow their tenants to rent units on Airbnb, the rental giant launched a program last month that offers landlords a cut of revenue between 5 and 15 percent from Airbnb guests in their buildings.

Theoretically, the program could potentially radically expand Airbnb’s inventory. In many of Airbnb’s most popular destinations, like New York and San Francisco, apartments make up the majority of the housing market, and a partnership with landlords could unlock millions of apartments currently closed to the firm, valued in August at $30 billion.

But a month in, the returns aren’t promising. Landlords are concerned about getting entangled in legal and regulatory issues, as well as dealing with the risk of unknown guests. Legislation passed in June that would fine short-term Airbnb hosts $7,500 for listing their apartments for fewer than 30 days and safety and liability issues pose an even bigger problem for landlords.