1. WHAT IS AN ADU?
In an effort to address a growing affordable housing crisis, communities across the US and Canada are enacting legislation to increase housing density in single family zones. Which means homeowners residing in these zones can now legally construct a second living unit on the same property. Commonly referred to as accessory dwelling units (ADUs), they’re also known as ‘granny flats’, ‘in-law suites’, ‘garden suites’ and ‘lane-way homes’. They generally take one of three forms.
- Above or next to a garage
- Attached to the primary residence
Regulations governing configuration, location, size, parking, etc. vary from city to city, so a trip to your local building department is the first step.
2. WHERE AND WHAT CAN I BUILD?
To determine whether or not an ADU is permitted on your single family lot, visit your local building department. If allowed, they can provide you with development guidelines and permit submittal requirements. A few items to research are listed below. See our BUILD PROCESS page for more information.
- Site development
- Vehicle and occupant access
- Lot coverage
- Separation between ADU and primary residence
- Building development
- Building area
- Window and door locations
- Architectural guidelines
Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, British Columbia are two cities with very effective and active ADU programs. Below are links to their respective websites to give you an idea of what to look for.
3. SMALLER IS SOMETIMES BETTER
From the affordable housing perspective, smaller is better. Although some cities allow ADUs to be 800-1,000 sf, the financial equation quickly drives the rent out of this category.
There are a number of other reasons to build and AUD that may require more space.
- Market rate housing
- Extended family
- In-home care giver
- Guest Suite or office
- Home owner interested in occupying ADU and renting primary residence
- Short term rental
It’s always a good idea to consult with a local real-estate professional to assess market and projected ROI.
4. ECO-HAUS ADVANTAGE
We specialize in small free standing homes under 1,000 sf. Using our products and services gives you access to a team of professionals who’ve been working in this field for over three decades.
- Our architect has been designing custom residential, hospitality and commercial buildings in cities and towns all over the US west coast since 1989.
- Our structural engineers are licensed to practice in 6 Canadian provinces and 36 US states.
- Our kit manufacturer has been delivering home packages across Canada and the US since 1982.
Thanks again for taking the time!Carol & Chris