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Product Hunt Daily Digest
July 17th, 2019

There’s a housing crisis in San Francisco. There’s also crisis-level housing shortages in New York, London, Denver, Phildelphia, Detroit, Las Vegas, Sacramento, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle and Boston, to name a few.

This week, we saw an earnest attempt to solve this very real problem with a ~creative~ solution on Product Hunt. It’s called Rent the Backyard, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. 🏡

How it works: Rent the Backyard quite literally builds a studio apartment in your backyard, lists the unit online and then splits the profits with you.

The details: Each studio comes with a bed, a kitchenette and a bathroom with a shower. Depending on the unit, homeowners can also make a few customizations. The startup plans to out these units with solar in 2020, but for the time being, they connect to your home’s utilities to run. Rent the Backyard says it will pay you for these costs off the top of the rental income. 💸

Some initial thoughts from the Product Hunt community:

“This is going to help provide quality rental property in areas that really need it! It will also help keep folks in their homes by monetizing the asset.”

“Could people rent these out to their own adult children and/or ‘pick’ the renter?“

Tell us your thoughts here. 💬

Obviously zoning issues are top of mind for a venture like this, and according to the company, building these type of units are all jurisdiction-dependent. For example, California passed a statewide law in 2016 that eased regulation on these time of structures, which are also known as “Accessory Dwelling Units.” If you’re curious about your area, Rent the Backyard will research your city’s/county’s planning laws on your behalf.

The idea is a turnkey solution to affordable housing, both for renters and homeowners in expensive markets. According to the company, most people will be able to make anywhere from $10-20K in income each year from one of these backyard apartments.

“There’s a lot of complex challenges here but I think the biggest is in how we normalize sharing your backyard space like this. Airbnb and others like it have given us a good start, but installing a backyard apartment is a bigger commitment than trying Airbnb for a weekend. People in California are increasingly aware of these ‘Accessory Dwelling Units” and hopefully that eases the unfamiliarity’ - Rent the Backyard co-founder Spencer Burleigh

NEW POD! This week, we talked to Compassionate Coding founder April Wensel about, well, how we can be more compassionate. She covers:

🙌 How to make interviews more inclusive
👀 Why telling someone you’re non-technical is nonsensical
🧐 The problem of “toxic elitism” in the tech industry

Listen here. 👈

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