Accessory Dwellings Units (ADUs), also known as granny flats, mother-in-law units, secondary dwellings and a host of other names, are additional (smaller) separate living units on existing single family lots. ADUs can take many forms, such as a basement apartment, an apartment over a garage or a backyard cottage, and can provide for affordable, flexible and energy efficient living. They can either be attached to the primary home on the lot or be a separate building. ADUs can be created by converting of a portion of an existing house, adding to an existing house, converting an existing garage or basement, or the constructing of an entirely new backyard cottage. People build ADUs for a variety of reasons, but the most common goals are gaining income via rent and adding room to house a family member. Regardless of what form they take or the reason they are built, there are environmental, lifestyle, and financial benefits to building ADUs.
By providing for a diversity of housing types, more options are available for intergenerational housing, stability, and affordable housing choices. Elderly and/or disabled persons who may want to live close to family members or caregivers, empty nesters, and young adults just entering the workforce find ADUs convenient and affordable. What are the steps to building a ADU?