AirBnB vs. a furnished apartment?

Before the launch of AirBnB, a web-based marketplace that facilitates short-term property rentals, furnished apartments were the most common properties for prospective tenants to lease on a short-term basis. It can be tough for a prospective renter to know which option is best. Both AirBnB and traditional furnished apartments offer short-term rental options that are ready to occupy and enjoy. Understanding the differences between AirBnB and furnished apartments, as well as thinking through your own goals, constraints, and preferences, can help you choose the best option the next time you are in need of a short-term property rental.

How does AirBnB work?

AirBnB allows homeowners to make part or all of their own homes available for short-term lease. Many AirBnB properties, if not the primary residence of the homeowner, are likely to be attached to the homeowner’s primary residence, often in the form of a basement or mother-in-law apartment. AirBnB also allows hosts to offer a single spare bedroom for short-term rental, with “house rules” for the use of shared spaces such as kitchens and bathrooms. Finally, AirBnB utilizes an across-the-board review and ratings system that offers both the host and the guest the chance to publicly review their experiences with each other at a specific property and rate certain aspects such as cleanliness, average response time, safety and security, etc. AirBnB offers protections to both parties so that if either a host or a guest breaks established guidelines or otherwise behaves unethically, these issues may be disputed and handled by representatives of AirBnB in accordance with corporate policy and any applicable local or federal laws and regulations.

How are furnished apartments different?

Furnished apartments typically are not occupied by the property manager, and due to the cost of maintaining a furnished apartment for short-term leasing, furnished apartments are typically not owned by a single homeowner but are rather managed by a property management company who likely manages and maintains several similar properties simultaneously. Guests are unlikely to interact with a furnished apartment’s property manager nearly as often as they would with an AirBnB host. Short-term leases of furnished apartments also usually offer protections to both parties in the event that either party behaves unethically, but because lease terms vary from property to property, it is wise to closely read the terms, ask questions, and be sure that you understand all aspects of a short-term lease before you enter a contractual agreement to rent a furnished apartment.

How do I know which is better?

Think about what kind of experience you’d like to have at your short-term rental. Do you want to have a chance to meet a local and have coffee with your host? Then AirBnB might be a good option. Or, do you want to be sure that you have all of the privacy and autonomy that you would have at home? Then a furnished apartment might be a better fit. 


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