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Airbnb is powering new purpose-built short-term rental buildings

This past weekend I was in a condo building here in Toronto with large signs in the elevator saying, “No Short-Term Rentals Including Airbnb Are Permitted. Trespassers Will be Prosecuted.” It was the first time I had seen anything like this, but it immediately signaled to me that the building must be having a problem with short-term rentals. Why else would you deface the elevators? There are some buildings that allow short-term rentals, but most don’t.

However, over the last few years we have started to see purpose-built short-term rental buildings. In some cases, existing apartments buildings were “converted”, as was the case with Niido’s two properties in Nashville and Orlando. Here tenants in the building can rent both unfurnished and furnished apartments and then rent them out on Airbnb up to a maximum of 180 days per year. To date, I think these are the only two properties to use the “Powered by Airbnb” moniker, but more are on the way.

The developer behind Niido — Newgard Development Group — recently launched a new Powered by Airbnb brand called, Natiivo. This one looks to be focused on for sale product, with two upcoming projects in Austin and Miami. Both projects will have hotel licenses in order to avoid any regulatory risk going forward. But this makes me wonder how materially different this model is from the condo-hotels we’re already familiar with.

For landlords and developers, the goal is obviously to maximize rents and prices. Allowing (or explicitly encouraging) residents to rent out their place and earn some extra cash, should help with that. And given the way I started this post, we also know there’s a desire to do this, particularly in places with strong tourist demand like in Nashville and Miami. But the reviews are mixed. Not everyone wants to live in a hotel. But then again, not everyone wants to co-live. To each their own.

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