Airbnb Investment in Apartment Buildings Irks Tenants

August 16, 2018

Airbnb has unveiled big plans to turn at least 14 apartment buildings into home-sharing units by the end of next year. But some tenants of two newly branded Airbnb complexes aren’t completely happy about their buildings changing into a “hotel-like” atmosphere.

Illustration depicting room sharing

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Airbnb has teamed with Niido, a real estate development company, to form “Niido Powered by Airbnb” to brand buildings across the country. Their first project was a 324-unit complex in Kissimmee, Fla., and the latest to open is a 328-unit existing apartment complex in Nashville, Tenn. Apartments can be leased to long-term renters or short-term visitors. Vacant units will be rented out as short-term rentals.

Niido’s 328-unit building is called the Olmsted, located in downtown Nashville. Current residents of the Olmsted will be urged to sublet their units to Airbnb travelers for a maximum of 180 days per year. Airbnb and Niido will get to take 25 percent of the income residents generate.

“Niido Powered by Airbnb” is part of Airbnb’s goal to team with real estate developers and facility managers. Airbnb has faced resistance traditionally from such groups who have argued the home-sharing company enables renters to illegally sublet their apartments. Now, Airbnb is looking to team up with those critics. Brookfield Property Partners LP has agreed to invest up to $200 million into Niido’s efforts to turn residential apartment buildings into Airbnb-branded complexes.

“We’re trying to make sure that home-sharing is not done in the shadows,” JaJa Jackson, a global partnerships director at Airbnb, told Bloomberg when the branded apartment idea was first announced. “This partnership shows how landlords, developers, and Airbnb can work together.”

Not all residents, however, may be happy about the change in ownership to their apartment complexes. The Niido and Airbnb conversion in Kissimmee, Fla., had some residents venting they “didn’t agree to live in a hotel.” In Nashville, residents have voiced the same concerns. They said they learned in a letter that “Niido Powered by Airbnb” had bought their apartment complex, and that the building would become a permanent Airbnb complex.