Ever stayed in an Denver Airbnb that didn’t actually look like someone’s home? Maybe it was the abundance of “Colorado is awesome” posters or something, but it just didn’t feel like a person lived there? It may have been a commercial Airbnb.
An analysis from FiveThirtyEight suggests that about one in every ten lodgers gets that experience. In metro Denver, about 190 Airbnb listings are commercial, representing 10.6 percent of all the listings in the city.
And even though only 10.6 percent of listings between June 2015 and May 2016 were commercial, they represented 32.3 percent of all the money earned from Denver’s Airbnb scene. Which would mean over $6 million in revenue for them, according to the analysis.
Exactly how many listings are commercial is contested. Colorado Public Radio found last fall that most Denver hosts, 80 percent, had only one listing. FiveThirtyEight defined a commercial listing as one where the entire home or apartment is rented at least 180 days each year, based on a New York attorney general’s standard.
Naturally, Airbnb disputed that:
“Company spokesman Christopher Nulty … also called the 180-days-booked standard ‘arbitrary,’ and said an approach based on days-booked could never accurately identify units that would otherwise be long-term rentals.”
At any rate, these listings have been targeted by the Denver City Council for removal, with new regulations requiring a license to list your property on short-term rental sites. And to list a property, it needs to be your primary residence.
I assume for most people, it would be hard to crash with your friends for more than half of the year while people stay at your place.
The general line of thought behind the new regulations is that if you don’t live in a place you’re listing online, you are only potentially displacing other residents and possibly driving up rents. (To me, the seminal look on the subject will always be Benjamen Walker’s New York After Rent series, if you’re interested more on this.)
Anyway, Airbnb hosts in Denver have about three months left to get their license from the city.