​Airbnb reportedly eyeing long-term home rentals

The home rental company may be stepping into Craigslist territory by offering people more permanent places to stay.

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Airbnb reportedly wants to jump into Craigslist's market.

Airbnb

Airbnb is mostly for people who want to get away for a short trip, while Craigslist is used for people who'd like to stay a little longer. But this may change.

Airbnb is reportedly exploring the possibility of adding long-term rentals to its offerings, according to Bloomberg. This means people could use Airbnb to search for months-long stays or even a permanent home.

In just under a decade, Airbnb has gone from a small startup catering to traveling couch surfers to a billion-dollar business with a massive online presence. It lists roughly 3 million homes for rent in more than 65,000 cities in 191 countries.

Initially, the company focused its business model on short-term rentals. But over the last year it has expanded into new areas like with its "Trips" platform, which offers excursions, and luxury vacation rentals. A foray into long-term rentals could give Airbnb an edge into a massive user group: people looking for places to live.

An Airbnb spokesman said the company doesn't have any announcements to make about long-term rentals but noted "examining different parts of the market is standard operating procedure."

Sublets, or monthly, listings have been offered on Airbnb since 2011, but that section of the company's website is difficult to locate and navigate. For example, it asks users to put an end date on their stays, which isn't something most people looking for long-term stays tend to know.

Airbnb has reportedly asked consulting firm McKinsey & Co. to look into the long-term rental market, see whether it's a viable move for Airbnb and whether it can compete with Craigslist, according to Bloomberg. The idea is that Airbnb sees itself as a safer option to Craigslist, which doesn't verify its users or routinely monitor its listings. The cost of long-term rentals on Airbnb or the company's cut is unknown.

First published March 8 at 11:47 a.m. PT.
Update, 4 p.m.: Adds comment Airbnb.

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