This California company leases backyards for 99 years to build tiny homes and rent them at affordable rates to fight the housing crisis

Mary Meisenzahl
1. OBY Exterior Angle
OBY house. OBY

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OBY is a housing company that says it can fight climate change and the lack of affordable housing in California at the same time, using tiny homes.

The model is that OBY, or "Our Backyard," rents a backyard in the East Bay for 99 years. On that space, it builds a tiny home, which is rented out at below market rate. The homeowners make $500 per month in income, while OBY agrees to take on any maintenance on the homes and finds tenants.

"When they sell their house, it transfers with the house," cofounder Declan Keefe told Fast Company. "We're purposefully doing that so that we can maintain the affordability long term."

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With high costs of living and a lack of housing, California has recently made it easier to add accessory dwelling units, granny flats, and other tiny homes on property that already has a main home. California Governor Gavin Newsom and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo are working together to experiment with possible affordable housing solutions, CityLab reported, and Newsom has committed to adding 3.5 million homes to the state by the end of his term. In San Jose, tiny home company Abodu just raised $3.5 million in funding for its ADUs that are preapproved for permits in the city.

Take a look at what OBY does here.

OBY house. OBY

5. OBY Front
5. OBY Front

All of the wood in the home's construction is from sustainably harvested forests and sequesters carbon. The company avoids more carbon-intensive materials, like concrete and gypsum board.

OBY house. OBY

7. Exploded
7. Exploded

OBY house. OBY

The homes have two bedrooms, along with a kitchen, bathroom and onsite laundry, and dining/living space.

6. OBY Plan
6. OBY Plan

OBY house. OBY

The company says its designs focus on "compact living," with larger open living spaces and smaller sleeping areas.

4. OBY Kitchen
4. OBY Kitchen

OBY house. OBY

The houses come as prefabricated kits, created by a coop of builders and carpenters located throughout the area, rather than at a central factory.

2. OBY Living Dining
2. OBY Living Dining

OBY house. OBY

Then, Oakland-based Arizmendi Construction Cooperative puts the pieces together onsite, including the foundation, plumbing, and electricity.

3. OBY Living
3. OBY Living

OBY house. OBY

The key to the project is that construction is relatively fast to add to the housing supply in the near term, while the leases last 99 years, and continue even when the house is sold.

1. OBY Exterior Angle
1. OBY Exterior Angle

Read the original article on Business Insider