New Startup Builds Housing in Your Yard, Splits Rental Profit With You

Rent the Yard builds and manages accessory dwelling units, then splits the profit with homeowners.

Rent the Yard builds and manages accessory dwelling units, then splits the profit with homeowners. David Cowlard/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

Silicon Valley is attempting to solve the housing crisis as cities face inventory shortage.

This week, startup Rent the Backyard launched its service, which builds separate rental units in homeowners’ yards. Unlike traditional rental solutions, this partnership is aimed at helping owners earn $10,00 to $20,000 per year in rental income with as little loss of privacy as possible. Best of all, there is no down payment involved, because Rent the Backyard handles the construction and rental management of the added apartment.

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The San Francisco-based company launched on Product Hunter this week and is currently focused on taking orders from Bay Area residents burdened with high costs, co-founders Spencer Burleigh and Brian Bakerman told Observer.

“The idea is to make housing more affordable for both owners and tenants by adding housing inventory on the lower end of the cost spectrum,” Bakerman said.

While the additions are considered “accessory dwelling units” (ADUs) by local municipalities, a trending solution among homeowners at the moment, Burleigh explained, “they’re too expensive and difficult for most homeowners to think about installing on their own.”

Currently, to qualify for the program, the company states homeowners need a backyard with at least 30 feet by 30 feet of free space and must be living in their home most of the year.

Rent the Yard’s studio apartments don’t require the home equity line that is typically associated with property extensions, making them an environmentally friendly and easy way to build on existing land. With the help of unit builders like Node and other similar services, the company aims to provide a full turn-key solution.

“Our studio apartments are almost completely built when they arrive in your backyard and require very minimal (a few weeks, if not days) to bolt together and be ready to go. We’re excited to see California have strong laws to protect the neighbor’s privacy and rights as well and will go beyond what is required by those laws when it’s the right thing to do,” Burleigh said.

The program includes a 30-year agreement to help owners make income, while equity is made back by the builders; owners can opt out at any time by buying the unit.

The current housing crisis in Silicon Valley is increasingly being blamed on the tech industry’s overwhelming presence. “This is a big problem that everyone has to work together on,” Burleigh said, referring to the contribution of solutions like Rent the Yard.

“The housing crisis in the Bay Area is really complex,” he added. “We hope to be a small part of the solution and to make the communities we live and work in a better place for existing homeowners and newcomers alike.”

New Startup Builds Housing in Your Yard, Splits Rental Profit With You