Rent the Backyard: New company aims to ease housing shortage crisis

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A new company, Rent the Backyard, which launched in the Bay Area this week, is trying to ease the housing crisis on both sides for homeowners and renters.

In San Jose, the average cost to rent a studio apartment is just under $2,000.

Brian Bakerman and Spencer Burleigh are the founders of Rent the Backyard.

"What we do is build studio apartments in your backyard at no cost to you, rent them out and split the rental profits with you 50/50," says Burleigh, who alongside Brian showed us around the backyard of a home in San Jose.

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What they're doing is a site-visit to a homeowner's backyard to assess the feasibility of building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) on the property. The 300-450 square foot units are built by two different companies right now.

Rent the Backyard says they'll take care of everything from the initial assessment to filing permits to overseeing construction and finding a suitable tenant.

The company estimates homeowners will receive, after fees, around $10,000 or more per year in rental income. It's the reason why Mimi Tran Zambetti hosted a site visit on Friday.

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"It seemed like a no-brainer. I'm running a startup out of my home right now. I've always been financially savvy and I wanted to own a home pretty early on, so being able to get monthly rental income without the hassle on my part seemed like a done deal."

There's a lot in Rent the Backyard's favor.

Mayor Sam Liccardo set forth an ambitious goal in 2017 of building 100,000 affordable housing units by 2022. Ever since a 2016 law passed-reducing regulations on ADUs to make more affordable housing statewide, the number of permit applications has skyrocketed.

Rent the Backyard serves the entire Bay Area, but says cities like San Jose that cater to homeowners with shorter permitting times are, right now, most ideal.

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With dozens of requests for site-visits so far this week, the co-owners of Rent the Backyard say they anticipate their first ADU going up in about a month.

You can learn more about Rent the Backyard here.

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