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Seattle startup offers affordable rent — with a twist

A Seattle startup offers big discounts on monthly rent, if you agree to be an Airbnb host.

Tech startups have started tackling the issues of affordable housing in Washington state.

According to Rent Cafe, the average rent in Seattle is $2,121, leaving some people priced out or turning to new alternatives in order to get by. 

Opal Fenn just moved into their new rental six months ago in Seattle's Rainier Valley.

”I can’t believe I pay almost the same amount of money for this house as I did a dinky little two-bedroom apartment in North Beacon Hill," said Fenn. 

Rent for Fenn's five-bedroom, three-bathroom house is $2,000 a month. 

Fenn said they could never afford the house on their own. They are using the help of Seattle-based startup Loftium to help off-set the market rate rent. 

The company leases homes from landowners and lowers rent for tenants by having them rent a room on Airbnb.

It's just another option for people who may otherwise be priced out of the city. 

"Our renters are middle-income. Maybe wouldn’t income qualify traditionally for the very high rent, but they can afford the below market rent in combination with the Airbnb income,” said Yifan Zhang, CEO of Loftium. 

According to Property Club, the average rent in Seattle back in 2010 was $1,375. The average rent in 2019 was up 45% at $1,998. 

Those figures can be daunting for renters trying to find a way to stay in the city, while also trying to enjoy life in the city. 

In order to improve access to affordable housing, companies are coming up with unique solutions. 

Common offers dorm-style housing for adults with rent in Capitol Hill at just over $1,000, if you don't mind sharing common spaces.

For anyone trying to avoid renting all together, Flyhomes is helping people buy homes by making cash offers on the buyer's behalf.

Plenty of companies are working towards solutions to open the doors to more affordable housing options, for people like Fenn who want to make Seattle their home.

Read more on GeekWire.com.

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