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Airbnb launches new program to rent out apartments in Portland

Airbnb launched a new program called "Airbnb-Friendly Apartments." It'll allow certain apartment renters in Portland to host part-time.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The ability to rent out a house or room on short-term rental sites has typically been limited to property owners, but a new program will give some Portland apartment-dwellers the same opportunity for the first time.

Airbnb has launched a new program called "Airbnb-Friendly Apartments" that will allow certain apartment renters in Portland and about 30 other cities to become part-time hosts to Airbnb guests.

"Historically, renters have not had the ability to host like homeowners to keep up with the rise in cost of living and monetize their most expensive asset," said Jesse Stein, who helped create the new program. 

Stein said Airbnb has already partnered with more than 175 apartment buildings around the United States, including three in Portland: The Indigo and Sawbuck downtown and the Enso in the Pearl District.

Participating residents at those buildings will be able to rent out their units on Airbnb for up to seven nights per month, essentially short-term subletting their apartments. Those who sign up would need a plan for where they'll stay on the nights when their unit is rented.

"We've partnered with landlords and real estate owners across the U.S. to provide renters, in their buildings, the ability to host when they travel," said Stein.

The company provided a breakdown of how much renters could expect to bring in at each of the Portland buildings, listed against the cost of monthly rent. Sawbuck rents for $1,580 a month and a renter could bring in an extra $647 a month if they sub-rent it on Airbnb, according to the company's list.

A one bedroom at the Enso rents for $1,827 a month, but that renter could earn $833 a month if they sign up for the deal. The most expensive location is the Indigo apartments. It's normally $2,117 a month and renters could pocket up to about $855 using Airbnb . 

The program is new enough that it doesn't have any renters signed up in Portland yet. Some residents in the participating Portland buildings say they don't think the idea is for everyone, even if they like the passive income.

"I personally would not participate," said Sydney Holmes, who has lived at the Indigo apartments for three years. 

Holmes said she sees the appeal for the program but couldn't see herself renting out her space with her personal belongings to a complete stranger. 

"It's a little bit unusual I think. And I understand why they're doing it. Just to give people another opportunity to utilize their space," she said. "But it's very different when you live in the space versus when you own the space and its primary purpose is to be rented out."

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