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Home-sharing without home-owning? How people are hosting on AirBNB without the mortgage

Short-term rentals may very well be the future of the commercial real estate. Here is a look at how a tenant might get into the game on the home-sharing powerhouse, AirBNB.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Short-term rentals may very well be the future of commercial real estate, the booming industry already leaving its mark on the San Antonio community.

Just last year, San Antonio's AirBNB host community earned a combined $47 million in supplemental income while welcoming approximately 420,000 guest arrivals to the region.

But do you have to be a home or building owner in order to profit from the industry? In short: No. But that doesn't mean it is as easy as it may seem. A person illegally renting an apartment on AirBNB could stand to get some stiff fines and suffer possible eviction.

We reached out to AirBNB to help us navigate the benefits of hosting on the site and how a tenant might get into the game on the home-sharing powerhouse.

How much does AirBNB take from host? 


Do you have to be the property owner to host on AirBNB? 

You do not have to be a property owner to host on AirBNB. Tenants or prospective leasees may work out a deal through their landlord or property management company to host a short-term rental on AirBNB. There are also third-party services, like 'Pillow,' that partner with certain buildings in certain cities by renting out numerous units and providing hosting opportunities for leasees that rent through those units. The Airbnb Friendly Buildings Program is a way for landlords, property managers, and homeowners’ associations to let people in their building host on Airbnb. Through this program, Airbnb collaborates with hosts and building owners to:

  • Create specific hosting rules that work for everyone
  • Update leases and other agreements to allow residents to host
  • Help landlords, residents, and HOAs share portions of the reservation income

See here for ALL OF AirBNB's recommendations to prospective hosts regarding HOA and leases.

Can you legally rent anywhere and host it on AirBNB? 

Hosts should look up local laws that pertain to short-term rentals. AirBNB has compiled information that specifically outlines what San Antonio hosts need to do.

Are there services that help you rent a place to host on AirBNB? 

Yes, there are some third party companies that provide support in terms of property management. AirBNB also has a co-hosting platform that makes it easy for nearby hosts to support each other.

What steps does AirBNB take to protect their hosts? 

This link outlines AirBNB's $1 Million Host Guarantee, which provides $1 million in insurance for free on every booking. And this link covers a number of our other protections -- including background checks on all US users.

RELATED: How to make money on Airbnb: Home sharing is big business in the Alamo City

How much money could you make hosting on AirBNB/what is the average income?

It really varies. Many hosts only choose to share their homes for short periods (like big events), or they only share their homes when they're out of town. Others do it year-round.

What else does someone thinking of hosting on AirBNB need to know? 

Hosts tend to be very supportive of each other. It's often quite easy to find nearby host clubs or forums where they'll answer each other's questions and provide advice, including to new hosts.