“I saw a misalignment of incentives throughout the industry,” says Atticus LeBlanc, the founder of PadSplit, who has been an affordable housing investor and developer in Atlanta for more than a decade. To get a subsidy to build affordable housing, for example, developers in the city have to meet a minimum size requirement of 750 square feet for a one bedroom apartment, “whereas we know we can house people comfortably in 250 square feet,” he says. That requirement for developers, among others, makes the cost go up. Like other construction projects, new affordable housing also has to go through a lengthy planning process and takes time to get financing. Rather than building new buildings, PadSplit works with property owners who are renting out single-family homes. The property owners agree to fix up the houses to a certain standard, and then PadSplit helps them add walls to create new rooms–if there’s a formal dining room or an extra den, for example, those will be converted into bedrooms. Then the company screens potential residents and rents out each room, including utilities, internet, and laundry, for around $550 a month. For a property owner who might have been renting the whole house for… Read full this story
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