What is a ADU?

So, what is an accessory dwelling unit?

Accessory dwelling units refer to a catch-all category for any type of supplemental housing that can be added on to the main property. It covers things like guest houses, carriage houses, in-law suites, basement apartments, and tiny homes.

Though an accessory dwelling unit can refer to just about any type of additional housing, there is one key feature that sets it apart from other multi-unit housing situations.

With an ADU, the additional unit cannot be sold independently of the main property. In this case, the owner of the main housing structure must keep the additional unit in his or her name, either for personal use or rental income.

Why these units are popular

These days, accessory dwelling units are becoming steadily more popular than they have been in quite some time. Due to recent years of economic uncertainty, more and more people are falling back into a multi-generational housing model.

Whether adult children are moving back home after completing their education, or elderly parents are in need of some extra support, an ADU offers the benefit of communal living where everyone also is afforded some much-needed privacy.

For others, the benefit of an accessory dwelling unit is mainly financial.

If space is available, and you’re looking for ways to bring in some extra income each month, renting out the extra unit is a great way to do so. As an added bonus, since the ADU is typically a separate structure unto itself, this type of living situation often affords much more privacy than, say, simply renting out a room in your home.

How to get an ADU of your own

If you think adding an accessory dwelling unit might be a good move for you and you don’t already have one of these units on your property, putting one up can be a bit of a process.

Here’s what you’ll need to consider before starting construction:

Check local zoning laws
Since you’re looking to build an entirely new structure on your property, you’re definitely going to need to make sure that you’re following local zoning laws and permitting the project properly.

Often, regulations can vary widely depending on your location, and the penalty for not following the rules can be steep. You could be asked to pay a fine or to take the structure down entirely, so in this case, it’s much better to know exactly what’s expected of you before construction begins.

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