United States: Guide To: Short-Term Renting: AirBnb® vs. Traditional Renting In Philadelphia

Last Updated: June 25 2019
Article by Rabinovich Sokolov Law Group

Are you a real estate investor? What is the better option, AirBnb® or traditional renting? Well we have done the research for you so you can make the best decision for your investing needs. We have taken the three most important factors you should consider: Location, Profit, and Time. Let's dive in!


Location is important when deciding if you are going to rent using AirBnB® or if you are going to use the traditional method of longer leases. The amount you can charge per night is mainly affected by how desirable the location where your property is located (i.e. the distance from center city, the distance from the stadiums and other attractions, or the presence of a festive nightlife). Some states and cities do not allow short-term rentals such as AirBnB® so before you consider AirBnB® as an option, you need to check your state laws. (Look at our article on where AirBnB® is allowed by State Law. If your property is in a location that would not be appropriate for AirBnB® such as a property in the suburbs away from any tourist hotspots or if your state does not allow short term renting, you should not use AirBnb®.) If your property is in a prime location for AirBnB® your next step is to do the math and determine if it will be profitable.


Once you have determined that your property is in a desirable location to use AirBnB® and you know that your state and city (and sometimes condo bylaws) allow AirBnb®, you need to do the calculations and find out if AirBnB® is the most profitable option. There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to calculating the profits of AirBnb® rentals so we are here to guide you through the process.

First, it is important to incorporate the size of your property and how many guests you can accommodate to determine how much profit you will make. Second, you must determine how many nights need to be filled each month to reach the amount you would gain by long-term renting. Third, you need to consider how many nights you could realistically fill within one month. Lastly, you will need to determine how much profit you will make after tax deductions and cost for cleaning the property.

The number of rooms your property has and how many guests you can have are important factors to determine how much money you can charge per night to your guests; the more rooms the more money you can make. For instance, in the month of April the average monthly revenue for a one room apartment in Philadelphia on AirBnB® was $2,405. That number jumps up to $2,941 when you have two available bedrooms. The average revenue for allowing 3-4 guests in April is $2,112 and then jumps substantially jumps up to $2,933 when you allow 5-6 guests.

Now that you have determined how much money you can make based on the size of your property, you must now determine how many occupied nights it would take to reach higher profits with AirBnB® than traditional renting. We have pulled three major locations in the Philadelphia area and crunched some numbers to give as an example.


ZEstimate rent: $1,675 per month
AirBnB® cost per night: $145 per night
Nights per month to meet traditional renting amount: 12 nights


ZEstimate rent: $2,350 per month
AirBnB® cost per night: $85-$95 per night
Nights per month to meet traditional renting amount: 25 nights


ZEstimate rent: $1,175 per month
AirBnB® cost per night: $105 per night
Nights per month to meet traditional renting amount: 12 nights

Airdna® reports that the Median Occupancy Rate for AirBnB® rentals in Philadelphia is 48%. That means that in the city of Philadelphia, the average AirBnB® rental is occupied almost half of the time it is available for rent. It is important to remember that you may need at least a day after you rent your property out for it to be cleaned. The more rentals you have, the more cleaning days you will need. You can find out the occupancy rate around your property by looking at other AirBnB® rentals near you that are similar in size to your property.

It is important to remember that cleaning fees and taxes will reduce your monthly total. It can cost up to $80 per month to maintain a clean property. In Philadelphia, there is an 8.5% hotel tax that you will need to pay each time you rent out your property. Let's apply these numbers to the Fishtown example. Let's say you rent your property out for 13 nights in one month. That will equate to $1,365 in rent. That rent is slightly more than the amount you would have made if you rented out your property the traditional way. Now lets subtract the $80 for cleaning and the 8.5% tax. With the deductions of the hotel tax and the monthly cleaning, the new total will come out to be $1,169 in rent. After the deductions, you are now below the total you would have made if you used the traditional method of renting.

It is also important to remember if you want to rent your property using AirBnb®, you must have a furnished place. Guests who are only visiting for a few nights expect to have all amenities taken care of when they arrive. Furnishing a property and keeping your place "fresh" will cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 (or more) dollars. This can put you in a hole before you even start renting.

If you cannot rent out your property for the amount of nights required to meet the amount you would make per month with traditional renting or you cannot charge the per night rate high enough, you should not rent through AirBnB®.


Once you have determined that you can make more money per month using AirBnB®, you must decide if it is worth your time. AirBnb® rentals can take a lot of time. Near real-time communications with guests, clear and transparent communication with guests, running smooth check ins and check outs, and most importantly, clean and neat rooms, bathrooms, couches, beds, kitchens, etc., are all part of the maintenance when dealing with AirBnB®.

Having a furnished property is a must. Besides spending money, you will also be spending time making sure your place has the appeal it needs to attract guests. Traditional renting is less work because once you find a tenant; you won't need to find a new one for at least a few months. With AirBnB®, once the guest leaves you need to find new guests as soon as possible to obtain max profit. AirBnB® is definitely more hands-on than traditional renting. If you feel that you will not have the time to keep your AirBnB® running like a well-oiled machine, you should not rent through AirBnB®.


AirBnB® can be very profitable and can put extra money in your pocket if you rent out a single room in your home or even your whole house when you aren't occupying it!

Renting out a room in your home or your whole home eliminates most of the factors you will need to consider. Since you will not be renting your home using the traditional renting method, you won't have to make that decision. Even if you only rent out a room for one weekend a month, that is money added to your overall income. AirBnB® is the way to go if you want to rent out your own home.


Once you have thought your way through all of the factors that go into renting your property through AirBnB® you can make your decision. It can be thought of as a math equation. Location+ Profit+ Time = AirBnB®.

If you have a desirable location, you can then go to profit. Profit has a few factors to consider; the size of the property, the amount of people it can hold and the amount of nights you can fill your property. If you feel that you can make a profit that is greater than what you could make from traditional renting the last step is the amount of time expended. If you have the time to expend to make your AirBnB® the most profitable it can be then AirBnB® is most likely the way to go. However, if any of the variables in the equation are missing, you should stick to using traditional renting. We hope that our article helps you make the best decision for your real estate endeavors. Good luck!

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions