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Airbnb gets into the apartment game

The home rental site works with major Florida landlord to let tenants rent out their apartments on a short-term basis. But, they'll have to share the income.

Airbnb partners with major landlord to allow for short-term rentals in its buildings.

Most landlords don't allow tenants to sublet their apartments on Airbnb. That's because it typically comes with increased risk and no profit for them. But a major landlord in Florida is trying something new: working with Airbnb.

Airbnb said Thursday that it's partnering with Newgard Development Group to allow for short-term rentals in a 324-unit building in Kissimmee, Florida. Tenants who live in this building can freely put their apartments on Airbnb for up to 180 days per year. The catch is that they have to share the income with Newgard.

This partnership "eliminates barriers by encouraging home sharing and creating solutions that work for everyone," Newgard CEO Harvey Hernandez said in a statement.  

In just under a decade, Airbnb has gone from a website for couch surfers to having a massive online presence. It lists millions of homes for rent in almost every country on earth. That growth, however, has come with challenges.

The company has waged extended battles with landlords, regulators and housing advocates in major cities around the world, including San Francisco, New York, Paris, Berlin and Barcelona. So, over the past year, the company has been working to make nice with lawmakers while also shift its business model.

Airbnb has gone from being solely a home-rental service to a semi-travel agency, in which travelers can book excursions and make restaurant reservations through its site. It's also acquired smaller companies like the high-end vacation rental service Luxury Retreats. The new partnership with Newgard appears to be yet another way Airbnb can broaden its focus.

"This partnership shows how landlords, developers and Airbnb can work together to create value for everyone and better serve tenants," Jaja Jackson, Airbnb's director of global multifamily housing partnerships, said in a statement.  "Together, we're making it easier for more hosts to share their space."

Airbnb and Newgard are branding their partnership as "Niido." Under this approach, they will give Newgard residents tools for renting out their apartments on Airbnb, such as a "Niido" app that helps with guest check-in, cleaning and linen service.

The companies said this is just the beginning. They plan to continue working together to design new "Niido" apartments and buildings built specifically for subletting to short-term renters and tourists. The designs will have features like keyless entry and shared common spaces.

"As the cost of living increases, apartment renters are under intense financial pressure," Hernandez said. "Niido's unique multifamily home-sharing model provides a powerful solution to this ongoing problem by delivering extra income for tenants while creating enhanced experiences for their guests." 

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