How Being an Airbnb Host Has Become a Full-Time Job

  • April 7th 2017

by Nena Perry-Brown

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How Being an Airbnb Host Has Become a Full-Time Job: Figure 1
Badia’s Airbnb listing for an upstairs two-bedroom unit in her house.

Many localities are still trying to navigate the new world that Airbnb’s independent short-term home rental service exemplifies. Meanwhile, New Yorkers are making hosting guests a full-time job.

As the New York Times reports, some Airbnb hosts have been able to turn hosting guests at their homes into a lucrative enterprise.

One host, in Park Slope, Brooklyn, owns a duplex topped by a separate two-bedroom apartment. Between the upstairs apartment and a spare room in the duplex where she lives, Evelyn Badia grosses almost $100,000 annually from Airbnb hosting — a step she felt compelled to take after her freelance production career sputtered.

Airbnb hosts are not exempt from the pitfalls of the on-demand economy; even if listings gross enough to replace a traditional job, a lot of the money goes back into the property for upkeep and the host must still contend with slow rental seasons.

Also, earlier this year the NYC’s Office of Special Enforcement began enforcing a state law targeting illegal advertisement of “transient rentals”, issuing $65,000 in fines to nine individuals and entities. One was Tatiana Cames, a real estate broker who had subdivided a four-unit Brooklyn building into five Airbnb rentals. Inspectors found that the interior alterations violated the building’s certificate of occupancy and fined her $1,000 per Airbnb listing — listings that had netted 30 percent of her annual income.

And while this case may epitomize the removal of long-term housing that Airbnb opponents point to to justify their concerns, Cames says that an apartment she offered in her primary Clinton Hill residence sat vacant for months without finding a tenant — likely because she cannot compete with newly-constructed developments. Then there’s just the mathematics involved: Airbnb listings can often make $6,000 per month during peak season while the average one-bedroom in New York rents for $2,700 per month.

However, there are still a lot of complicated issues surrounding these sort of short-term rentals, which some say remove as much as 10 percent of potential long-term housing from the citywide rental market.

Additionally, the site creates a market for hotel-like activity without being subject to the taxes incurred by the traditional hotel industry. Eleven rural counties in New York have come to terms with Airbnb to collect hotel taxes from hosts; there are no such agreements in place in New York City. In general, short-term rentals of fewer than 30 days are prohibited if not in the host’s primary residence.

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This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/how_being_an_airbnb_host_has_become_a_full_time_job/12425.

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