A $15,000 stay in Chicago has long been considered a luxury that only those in the upper echelons of society can afford.
Now, as Airbnb hosts struggle to keep up with the demand for accommodation, the company has made a major adjustment: It will no longer charge Airbnb hosts for extended stays.
Instead, it will offer a $50 per night refundable deposit to hosts who agree to be temporarily suspended from Airbnb in exchange for staying on the platform for at least 90 days.
“The majority of Airbnb hosts are doing it to get money back from Airbnb, and we want them to be compensated,” Airbnb’s chief operating officer of global marketing, Matt Weinberger, said in an interview with TechCrunch.
The move comes as Airbnb continues to face criticism for a surge in violent crime, including murders and other assaults, in New York City.
But Airbnb is still widely viewed as a boon to the housing market, with a host who stays on Airbnb for 30 days earning an average of $6,500 per month, according to an analysis by Bloomberg.
“We are doing what’s right for hosts,” Weinberger said.
“This will help to prevent Airbnb from taking away revenue from hosts who stay on the site for too long.”
Airbnb declined to comment on the move, but said it is “committed to supporting hosts and ensuring their safety.”
Airbnb is not the first tech company to rethink its stance on temporary stays.
Last year, Google and Microsoft announced that they would suspend temporary stay listings in some cities, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has also said that he would stop using Airbnb in some places.
Airbnb is expected to roll out its new refund policy on March 20, and Weinberger noted that it will be rolled out to all Airbnb hosts within a month.
Airbnb’s policy on extended stays is different from the policy of its competitors.
Airbnb has a separate refund policy for hosts who use its platform to stay for longer than 90 days and is now accepting deposits for hosts that opt to stay longer than 180 days.
The policy does not apply to hosts that stay for a longer period of time on the company’s platform, or who have been suspended for longer periods of time.
Airbnb will also start to pay host fees in exchange, including a $2 per night fee and an $8 per night “per host” fee.
Airbnb says it plans to roll this policy out to hosts as quickly as possible, as well as offering hosts a refund of any deposit made by staying on its platform for a specific time period.
Airbnb expects to start charging hosts $25 per night in exchange on March 21, and will start charging $5 per night for stays that last longer than two weeks.
Airbnb hosts who opt to use the company-funded platform for longer can continue to stay on Airbnb.
The company will begin accepting deposits on March 28.
“While we are not going to do the entire refund program, we will refund all deposits that were made in accordance with the policy,” Weinberg said.
The announcement comes as the number of Airbnb-hosted Airbnb rentals in the U.S. is growing rapidly, with the company doubling its listings in just two months.
Last month, Airbnb said that it has more than 3 million hosts, up from less than 800,000 in January.
Airbnb hopes to continue to attract new hosts as it expands to new cities, including San Francisco and Washington, D.C.