About a week ago, enterprising millennial John Potter listed a backyard tent for rent on Airbnb, advertising a rate of $20/night. The tent, a nine-by-seven-foot Coleman set up in the backyard of his parents' house in Mountain View, comes with a sleeping bag and a pillow. It's close to Caltrain and (hint hint) Google. Also, there are amenities: Tenants (tentants?) are permitted one shower per day, and there's free Wi-Fi. Yesterday, CBS's NightBeat stopped by with a TV crew and trumped up the "Oh, zany Silicon Valley!" angle, asking Potter about the pros of sleeping out-of-doors ("Fresh air!") and the cons ("Racoons!"). After receiving so many reservation requests, Potter told the website Fusion, he upped the rate to $46/night and is also offering a monthly rate of $899. Yes, $899 per month to sleep in a tent that's walking distance from Walmart. Our first thought: This has got to be some kind of prank, or perhaps a conceptual art piece. Right? Right??
From what we can gather, it's not a prank, but there also isn't a renter yet who's settled in for the full $899/month package. Potter, a freelance web developer who runs a website called Aww, told us that so far two people have slept in the tent in the week since the Airbnb listing has been up. (He says he had a third reservation, but a room opened up in the house and he gave his guest a free upgrade. Nice guy!) Both tenants stayed just one night, and neither one left a review on the tent's listing page.
More bonkers Bay Area rental stories:
Silicon Valley 'Startup Castle' Seeks Higher Beings to Join Exercise Cult
Inside the Nightmarish Building at the Center of SF Landlord Lawsuit
Longtime Rent-Control Tenant Shocked to Discover $6,700 Rent Hike Is Totally Legal
"I've had a handful of people who want to stay a month or longer as temporary housing because they wanted somewhere to live while they look for a permanent apartment," Potter tells Curbed. "It's, like, people who just got a new tech job or something like that, and it's hard to find a place here, so they need temporary housing while they look."
Here's an excerpt from one inquiry from six days ago, which Potter gamely forwarded to us when we asked for proof:
I am currently in Mountain View working on my start-up. I spend almost all day at Hacker Dojo and will be out of the house the majority of the time. I will be clean, respectful, and quiet. I don't smoke or drink and will not have any guests. Your place sounds like a good option, as I am content in almost any place and need only the basics. From this prospective renter's inquiry, we have to wonder from the word "house" if he had read the ad at all closely. Then again, it may be just a polite form letter from yet one more desperate Silicon Valley renter.
Asked whether tenants get a key to the main house so they can shower on their schedule, Potter said no. "We just make sure someone's always home," he says.
· 'You Can Eat Inside': Mountain View Man Charges $900 a Month to Live in His Tent [Fusion]
· Tent in Garden Next to Google X [Airbnb]
· Mountain View Man Renting Small Tent Near Google For $965 Per Month [CBS]