Seattle-based Airbnb rental startup Loftium misses its own rent payments, slashes staff as coronavirus undercuts business

Hosts here in Seattle have been reporting recent difficulties with Loftium, a property-management start-up that cashed in on the AirBnB gold-rush. In 2017, Loftium offered down-payment assistance if you agreed to rent a room on AirBnB. In more recent years, they’ve acted as the middleman between landlords and tenant-hosts. Landlords received above-market-rate rents, and tenants received reduced rent to act as on-site host. Listings were furnished and managed by Loftium. Reviews on Loftium listings were less than great, but they were not the biggest slumlord in town.

Hosts in Seattle reported that come Covid, Loftium held rent hostage and would not pay landlords unless they agreed to accept reduced rent.

Today, Seattle Times finally published an article on what hosts have been reporting:

Loftium recently has withheld lease payments to landlords, laid off more than half its employees, and culled nearly a third of its Airbnb listings. Early this week, tenants received an email from Loftium that many interpreted as a threat to raise rents if they didn’t agree to a suite of new lease terms, including hosting long-term stays, listing on booking platforms outside of Airbnb, and accommodating all guests who met Loftium’s screening criteria.

I’m not a Loftium host, but have been following this company because they’re one of my competitors as a “mom-and-pop” host.


When I was visiting Seattle doctors in November (great timing, eh?) and had to hunt for Air rooms when I had to stay overnight, I saw a bunch of those sterile corporate apartments, mostly downtown. Not my style, though — I had various stays, from a former shed turned into a “cottage”, to an old Airstream in a yard, that were decidedly homey, and I would stay in a cheap hotel over those sterile overpriced “lofts”.


I get quite a few guests who are veteran Airbnbers. One recent one, just before shutting down for COVID, told me most of the places she’s stayed are “cookie cutter” and she really appreciated the uniqueness of my guest space.