How To Get a Free Tiny House in Your Backyard

August 8, 2019
backyard grass
Photo: Unsplash/Tim Mossholder

A new startup is looking to address California’s housing crisis by building backyard apartments in exchange for a share of the rental profits, Fast Company reports.

In cities with housing shortages, little room to build, and opposition to new construction, building small cottages in backyards can be one way to add new apartments quickly. One new startup wants to help it happen even faster: The company handles the cost and construction process for homeowners in exchange for a cut of the rent when a tenant moves in.

Burleigh says that many of the homeowners he meets were interested in building backyard homes—also known as accessory dwelling units or ADUs—but found the prospect too onerous. “We hear from homeowners again and again, that they were familiar with ADUs and they’ve been excited about them,” he says. “Maybe they even had a site visit from a builder, but they didn’t feel comfortable enough to pull the trigger and actually start the unit. With us, with the no-money-down solution, and being able to sort of insulate homeowners from those charges and that concern, we’re able to sort of de-risk that construction of an ADU.”

For now, the company plans to focus on the Bay Area, where high rents make the business model particularly feasible; the company covers the cost of everything, including ongoing maintenance, but can recoup those costs as it takes half of the rent. Owners split the rent with the company over 30 years, at which point they own the ADU outright.

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