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Kansas residents turn to Airbnb for extra income; Lawrence hosts earn $440K in 2016

This Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015 photo shows a room in the house of Dominic Hrabe which he rented out on Airbnb for Super Bowl weekend in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

This Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015 photo shows a room in the house of Dominic Hrabe which he rented out on Airbnb for Super Bowl weekend in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

January 3, 2017

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— When Deborah Vest of Topeka needed to make some extra money she decided to work with Airbnb, which allows residents to rent space in their homes to travelers.

Vest is part of a growing trend in Kansas, which saw a 175 percent year-over-year growth in Airbnb lodgings in 2016 compared to 2015, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported. Kansas hosts brought in $2.1 million in 2016 and the number of hosts doubled to 600 from the year before.

Lawrence brought in the highest host incomes in 2016, with $440,000, according to Airbnb. Other amounts included $307,000 in Overland Park, $281,000 in Wichita; $81,000 in Olathe; $41,000 in Topeka; $26,000 in Salina, and $18,000 in Hays.

The company found that half of Kansas hosts rent out an extra room in their homes, while others rent out their entire home or provide a shared room.

Vest said she began renting out her basement studio a year ago after a friend recommended Airbnb. The listing offers a living area, bathroom and bedroom for two people.

"I've been real happy with" hosting, she said. "I meet different people from all over the country, so that makes it interesting."

One of her guests was traveling across the country camping but wanted to stay in a house for a night, while another was in Topeka looking for a job and a new home.

Vest, who works full time, said she is able to decide when the room is available and decline a request if she doesn't feel comfortable with a potential guest. She said she earns "play money" that is deposited directly into her bank account.

Comments

Steve Jacob 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Airbnb will be in issue in Lawrence sooner or later. Say I own five condos on the East side, and rent to 10 families at an affordable $800 a month. Why not kick them out when the lease is up and make double thru Airbnb. In a city where affordable housing is an issue, this could be a big deal down the road.

Stacy Napier 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Not to mention that in most areas it violates the zoning laws and some neighborhood restrictions. If you rent a room to temporary lodgers you are a hotel.

Clara Westphal 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Some people you would not want in your home.

Steve Jacob 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Said the same thing about Uber. "Who would want to pick up complete strangers and drive them around? "

Steve Jacob 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Opps, I missed this part..."Vest, who works full time, said she is able to decide when the room is available and decline a request if she doesn't feel comfortable with a potential guest." The company made everyone to pledge, in November after internal reports show it has a racism problem, "We believe that no matter who you are, where you are from, or where you travel, you should be able to belong in the Airbnb community. By joining this community, you commit to treat all fellow members of this community, regardless of race, religion, national origin, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age, with respect, and without judgment or bias."

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