Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Micro Apartments

Micro apartments, or efficiency dwelling units, are in great demand. There has been a trend toward these in recent years. Some are targeted toward people with lower incomes, whereas others are targeted to people with more normal incomes.

A better supply of the former type would get a lot of people off the street and out of shelters. They would also fill a large niche for alternatives to common housing options. 

It seems one major obstacle to the development of more of these is zoning. Profitability could be another issue.

Zoning aside, one good idea is to make these even more affordable. Instead of renting at 60-70 percent of the price of a cheap 1 bedroom apartment, bring it down to 50-60 percent.

One way to do this would be to have them developed and managed by legit non-profits, and find a way to land grant the land for the properties.

There's old government buildings where the property could serve a better purpose. Another option is tax deed properties.

There are tax deed properties where the property was owned by the owner with no strings attached. They lost the place because they simply did not pay their taxes. It may have only been a couple thousand in taxes and fees.

These properties are basically handed to wealthy individuals and investment firms, who in turn reap a large profit from the deal.

A house like this could go to one of these non-profits. They could clear the lot and put up an eight to twelve unit micro apartment complex, for example, thereby getting several people off the street. 

These places would be managed like normal apartments, with a few differences. Easy access would be key. If someone is working or receiving social security and they can pay the rent, they could get in. No problems with evictions, credit or income guidelines. If they don't pay their rent and/or act right, they would have to leave. Month to month rentals with no lease, or very short term lease.

These units would be new construction, and may have interesting designs. They can be more simple depending on how simple one wants to get with the design. Murphy beds are common. Some wouldn't even need much of a kitchen. A small fridge, microwave and sink would work. Minimal parking space requirements would be key. Minimum parking space requirements would be one of the zoning issues to work around.

The apartments would pay for themselves. The rent would cover the cost of development. The lost tax revenue could even be worked in, and it wouldn't end up costing anyone anything.

Security might be a minor issue. If the units weren't large enough to justify on-site management, there's always these security guards that go around checking on different places. That isn't expensive.