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Short-term rentals are a rapidly expanding market, and apartment buildings are no exception to this trend. There are more than 4 million short-term rental listings worldwide. On any given night, more than 4 million people are staying in short-term rental listings around the world. What does this new market mean for apartment building owners? In a recent study from the National Multifamily Housing Council, 43 percent of leaders from the nation’s largest apartment firms indicated that their residents have listed their homes on short-term rental sites without their approval. This means millions of unapproved residents have already rented their apartment unit on short-term rental sites without any form of control or visibility by the building’s owner.

The Opportunity for Owners in the Short-Term Rental Market

This emerging market for short-term rentals is only projected to expand. Apartment building owners are placed in an interesting position with regards to this rapidly expanding short-term rental market. How can they embrace this new technology and allow their residents to take advantage of this attractive opportunity without sacrificing control or transparency?

The Long-Term Problem of Short-Term Rentals

In the ten years since short-term rentals have started to become a popular lodging option, apartment building owners have faced difficult choices about how to manage short-term rentals in their buildings. Should they outright ban the use of short-term rental software in their buildings? This decision would perhaps drive away the growing millennial market: 78 percent of millennials want the option to lease their units short-term to allow for flexibility and extra income. Should property managers evict renters who post their unit as a short-term rental? This can seem extreme and prevents the building owner from earning future rent money from the offending residents. Should they let these short-term rentals continue without any sort of control or transparency? This can be unsafe and chaotic. In addition, allowing short-term rentals to continue uncontrolled could mean accidentally violating new city rules regulating this market.

The Solution

Pillow, which was started in San Francisco in 2013, emerges as a solution to allow apartment building owners to capitalize on this new market safely and on their own terms. This intuitive software allows property owners to facilitate short-term rentals for their tenants with control and transparency. Pillow’s dedicated team works hard to make the short-term rental market work in everyone’s favor.

Offering Pillow is also an easy way to appeal to the large millennial market. In fact, every building that has adopted Pillow has seen an average of three to six more leases signed each month that can be credited directly to this attractive amenity. This makes sense: the average host can earn an extra $3,500 each year just by renting out their unit four nights a month. Pillow is a unique solution to the question of short-term rentals that benefits building owners, renters, and guests.

Pillow’s Platform Provides a Safe and Structured Way to Host

This all-in-one platform also allows apartment property owners more transparency into the short-term rental market. They can view their residents’ hosting schedules and guest check in and out dates and times all in one easy dashboard. Building owners will also receive real-time notifications when guests check in and out, and daily and weekly reports on rental activity delivered straight to their inboxes. Alexandra Handler, Property Manager at Archer Tower shares one example when rental activity information became useful: “Some stranger walked up to the front desk and said they had been locked out of their Airbnb, immediately we looked on Pillow and saw the person wasn’t even supposed to be in the building.”

Pillow offers a convenient booking platform for guests while maximizing control for property owners. With this app, building managers can set booking preferences. Building community managers can quickly view the online accounts of potential guests and require photo-ID. Pillow will also provide a criminal background check for all guests. Through this software, apartment building owners can cap the number of consecutive nights a tenant can rent their unit. Additionally, building owners can limit how many units can be rented out during certain times of the year, like the holiday season, or disable rentals for specific dates. Pillow allows property managers to limit the number of nights per year that individual units can be rented or place a limit on what percentage of units can be hosted at any given time. This helps to ensure that the property is operating in accordance with local short-term rental laws. Many cities across the country have enacted regulations to limit the number of days hosts can rent out their apartments. Without monitoring the short-term rental activity of their tenants, apartment building owners can find themselves accidentally in violation of the law. Pillow can help apartment building owners responsible short-term rentals. However, individual residents are still responsible for obtaining any necessary licenses or registrations or paying any short-term rental operator fees as required by the city or state.

How Pillow Makes Property Management Easier

In addition, Pillow’s software allows owners to enforce building rules, like quiet hours, smoking regulations or pet policies. Property owners can decide whether to allow children or infants in their units, or whether to allow guests to throw parties in their rented units. Pillow also ensures deposit and insurance requirements, and in the rare event of accidental damage, the property of every host is covered up to a million dollars. Pillow works to ensure that offering short-term rentals is as easy as possible for apartment property owners. Property managers can auto-schedule cleanings after every completed reservation using vetted cleaners. An automated guest guide is sent out to every guest 24 hours before checking in to review expectations for the visit. They provide automated lease modification and enrollment for renters who choose to utilize the service and give the property owner a percentage of revenues from each reservation.

Helping Building Managers Control Short-Term Rentals in Multifamily Building Settings

The “onboarding process” to join Pillow as an apartment building typically takes three weeks. In the first week, Pillow will start to do initial preparation work by reviewing building leases and resident information. They’ll also have a conference call to review the building guide and go over a timeline and introductory demo session. In the second week, they’ll have an hourlong demo call with property managers to review communication flow and reporting, client care and accessibility. In addition, they’ll send out an email and direct mail campaign to current residents informing them of the new amenity. The third week is just a 30-minute follow-up call to discuss how things are going and answer any outstanding questions. Pricing for this service is done on a per-unit, per-month basis and factors in each property’s individual demand profile. To determine the property’s demand profile, Pillow analyzes the number of active short-term stays within a three-mile radius of the property.


Overall, Pillow is the best solution for apartment building owners looking to take control of the emerging short-term rental market. This rapidly expanding business opportunity is only projected to grow, and property owners must choose to handle this new reality in a way that benefits them. Pillow allows for control and transparency in what can otherwise be a frustrating situation. Pillow’s dedicated team makes it simple to implement this easy-to-use software in order to monitor and control the tenant’s short-term rentals. Adopting this software benefits building owners, renters, and guests by providing clear expectations and streamlining the short-term rental process. If you own an apartment complex or management company and are interested in facilitating short-term rentals, email or visit

About Pillow

Pillow is solving short-term rentals for multifamily properties, allowing building owners and property managers to have control and transparency over short-term rentals while enabling their residents to rent their units short-term on short-term rental sites. When someone books a short-term rental reservation with a resident, building owners are earning 10 percent of each booked reservation allowing them to invest back into their communities or help cover management expenses. Additionally, building owners receive daily and weekly short-term rental activity reports with key reservation information including dates, guests’ names and contact information. Pillow charges an 8 percent fee per completed reservation: the average property manager can make 10-30 percent more than typical market value by offering short-term rentals in addition to traditional leases.

If you own a multifamily complex or management company and are interested in providing short-term rentals, email or visit

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Written by Todd Conway | June 02, 2018

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