Most people consider cities to be too crowded for new buildings but if Bay Area startup, Rent the Backyard has their way, there will be some new homes popping up in people’s backyards. In fact, they are ready to work along with homeowners to install prefab studio apartments when you have unused land behind your home. They will take care of everything, from the permitting to finding a tenant. The best news is, they do all the work without any upfront cost to you and will share the profit right down the middle.
Rent the Backyard is working along with us NODE and similar companies to quickly build carbon-neutral homes within just a few days. The utilities will pull from the primary residence on the property but will be metered and reimbursed. Those who participate in the program can expect to add about $10,000 to their annual income, depending upon how much studio apartments are going for in your location. As an added bonus, cities will be provided with affordable housing in space that was previously unused.
California loosened up their housing laws in 2016 associated with accessory dwelling units (AUDs), also known as granny flats. The state is facing a housing crisis, and the less restrictive laws may just be the ticket to help. Since the new housing laws came into effect, permit applications have surged. For example, San Jose is expecting to add 100,000 affordable housing units in the next few years and Los Angeles saw a 2000% increase in permit applications from 2015-2017. One of the benefits from the new laws included easily refurbishing garages or basements and turning them into rentals. Building new garages or basements, however, was often met with red tape.
Rent the Backyard cofounder Spencer Burleigh saw the difficulty homeowners were having when they came up against any permitting problems. “Right now, to build an accessory dwelling unit is a huge process,” he says. “You have to talk to the city and deal with the permits. And even if you can find a great builder that is able to do a lot of those steps for you, you’re still fronting a whole lot of money.”
There is one catch you should be aware of. You are basically signing a 30-year agreement when you work with Rent the Backyard and if you sell early, you will have to pay the remaining equity. On the other hand, you would own the ADU, lock stock and barrel if you stay in your property for 30 years.
The next few weeks should be exciting, because Rent the Backyard is ready to install the first of what promises to be many dwellings. If you happen to have a 30′ x 30′ piece of land on your property that is just sitting there, the possibility of adding an ADU is greater than at any time in the past. You can find out more on the Rent the Backyard website.