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General Questions

What does Yardsworth do?

We build income properties in backyards. These are also known as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). Normally we convert existing garages into apartments – but we can build freestanding units from scratch as well. 

These projects can either be funded by us, or by you.

What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)?

An ADU is a permitted structure on your property that can be used to legally house a long-term tenant. It’s a fancy way to say “granny flat,” “in-law suite,” “backyard apartment,” etc. Most people who have an ADU and rent it out call it a money machine 🙂

Are backyard units legal?

Yes, rental units are legal in California – now more than ever. As of January 2020, California made it much easier to permit and build them in most residential yards (all R1 zoned properties and anything larger, like R2, etc.) – whether converting existing structures like garages, or building from the ground up.

If I have an unpermitted structure already, can Yardsworth make it a legal rental unit?

Yes. We will do all of the necessary work to get your unpermitted structure built and permitted properly, and ready for a legal tenant.

Can my home support a backyard rental?

We hope so! Usually all you need is an extra 500 – 750 square feet of space in your yard. The more space you have, the more flexibility you have for providing a private yard or patio for the guests/tenants.

Does Yardsworth offer custom designs, two-bedrooms units, build above the garage, etc.?

Yes, we can do custom builds. If you are funding the project yourself, then think of us as your one-stop-shop for any type of construction project. However, if you choose to use Yardsworth’s Funding Program, then we will build the rental to match the rental income potential of your particular yard and area. We’ll figure out the best structure once we visit and inspect your property.

Program Details

How much will it cost to build my rental unit with Yardsworth?

Zero. Yardsworth covers the costs to design, permit and build the unit. 

If you prefer to pay for the project yourself, no problem! The cost of a typical garage conversion is $99,000 and will include ALL project costs (architecture, engineering, permitting, construction, appliances, etc.) for a rental that is tenant-ready.

What if I decide to sell my home?

No problem. The rental unit belongs to you – so you sell it with the home. It’s a great boost; having an extra revenue-generating unit can increase your property value by est. $150,000 or more. When you sell your home, our contract ends, but the tenant gets to stay and simply starts paying rent to the new owner.

Will my property taxes increase?

Yes, your property taxes will increase a small amount (1% – 1.1% of just the construction value, not an entire home re-appraisal) – which is minimal compared to the $5,000 – $10,000 per year you will earn from having it rented with Yardsworth.

How will my insurance be affected?

We recommend that you notify your insurance company that there is a tenant living in the unit. They may increase your annual premium by $20-35.

What amenities does a Yardsworth ADU have?

Yardsworth apartments are designed to rent at a premium with high-end, modern finishes, custom countertops and cabinets, Whirlpool appliances — washer/dryer, range, oven, and microwave, A/C & Heat mini split system — and all the layout features of a well-appointed home.

How long will construction take?

2 months for design, engineering and permitting. 2 months of construction (yes, that is VERY fast 🙂 )

Renting the ADU

Do I get to select my tenant?

Yes! Yardsworth will list the unit on top rental sites, conduct showings, and collect rent applications. We run credit and background checks and deliver you up to 5 qualified tenants. You may choose the tenant that feels right for you and your family (of course, abiding by all state and federal Fair Housing laws).

Where will the tenant park?

In almost all cases, homeowners have no obligation to provide a parking space for the tenant – street parking typically works.

Who pays for utilities?

All utilities are separately metered and billed to the tenant, except for water/sewer/trash, which will remain covered by the homeowner.

What happens if I have issues with the tenant?

Yardsworth is the property manager of your rental unit, so we manage the relationship with the tenant and any needs or issues they may have. If there are any problems with either the homeowner or the tenant, each party reports to Yardsworth to handle resolving the issue.

Are pets allowed?

No, the tenant cannot keep pets in the unit – though service animals are permitted under Fair Housing laws.

Have additional questions?

Our team is here to help. Call us during business hours at: 310.668.1630