PadSplit finds rooms for Orlando renters without “good options” – Orlando Sentinel

As rents in Central Florida climb to unprecedented levels, a new service is connecting low-income Orlando renters with available rooms.

PadSplit offers available rooms for less than market rate. Residents share communal living space, including kitchen and dining room, in a house. Founded in Atlanta in 2017, PadSplit expanded to Orlando in June.

The agreement offers several benefits for low-income tenants. PadSplit residents do not have to pass a credit check or pay a security deposit. Tenants pay a $19 application fee and $100 move-in fee plus first week’s rent.

After that, rent is weekly (utilities included) with a minimum stay of 31 days, but no lease.

Rooms at PadSplit in Orlando start at $150 per week. The median market rental price in Orlando is $1,799, according to real estate analysts CoStar.

Rooms must be furnished by the host and have an interior lock on the door to each room. Tenants must provide their own bedding. The house is run by a host, who is the owner of the property, but does not usually live in it.

The company also offers telehealth, credit repair and job search services for renters.

“This is for renters who don’t have good options,” said PadSplit co-founder Atticus LeBlanc. “Each one of them is looking for their next step.”

Richard Rose, 38, moved into a PadSplit room in Orlando’s Englewood neighborhood earlier this month. At $215 a week, he said he’s saving hundreds of dollars compared to the extended-stay hotels he’s found rooms at.

“I signed up, got approved and was in the next week,” he said.

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LeBlanc said that 40% of PadSplit tenants just need a safe place. “Your next step is stability,” he said.

Others, he said, are college students saving money on apartments or workers saving for something more permanent.

Saving for a house “That’s my ultimate goal,” Rose said. A cook with two jobs on International Drive and in Kissimmee, Rose said he’s rarely in his new place, but he likes his roommates and the backyard where he can relax. “Right now, I’m comfortable.”

Letricia Morrow, 41, of Georgia, said her experience was less comfortable when she and her son moved into a PadSplit home in Jacksonville while her son went to school.

“We needed some housing where we didn’t have to sign a lease,” he said. “That’s the only good thing about PadSplit.”

He said that the room he was in did not match the pictures he had been shown, that the air conditioning was broken and that his room was missing the lock.

“You don’t have a lot of space, but you have a space to rest,” he said. “Wouldn’t recommend unless it was a last resort.”

As a customer service representative, Morrow said she didn’t learn the address until the day she moved. He said that if he had received it earlier, he could have investigated the neighborhood, which he said he felt unsafe.

LeBlanc said hiding the address is something they started doing after people got the address without registering and then showed up at the property. “We didn’t get that. [política] without the hard-earned experience,” he said.

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He said that tenants are shown the street of the residence, so they can visit the neighborhood in advance.

And residents can transfer to other properties if they don’t like their place and another room is available.

“I can expect some people to move and, for whatever reasons, they won’t be happy with that experience,” LeBlanc said.

PadSplit has 22 rooms in Orlando with another 250 ready to go online in a few months. Nationwide, the company has 4,500 rented or available rooms.

Zoning laws often prohibit splitting homes into rentals, which limits the amount of property available for PadSplit. In Atlanta, where PadSplit is based, LeBlanc said he is working with officials to make zoning more flexible for his type of rental agreement.

“PadSplit only operates in jurisdictions where we believe we have a good faith argument for compliance,” LeBlanc said.

A landlord who has studied affordable housing since college, LeBlanc said he started by convincing real estate investors to let him rent rooms instead of selling his properties.

“Shifting houses ultimately creates displacement,” he said. “We educate our hosts.”

LeBlanc said her company is driven by a mission to expand affordable housing options.

“There are millions and millions of people in America who need affordable housing,” he said. “We’re not even close to scratching the surface.”



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