What Is An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

what is an adu

Over the years, the integration of smart housing options such as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is becoming more and more popular in different US states. And depending on the purpose, these units serve as a supporting structure to the family’s main home.

But what is an accessory dwelling unit (ADU)? And what are the things you need to know before constructing this piece of living space inside your residential property?

If you’re interested to know more, then we suggest you keep reading today’s post.


Accessory Dwelling Units Defined

Accessory dwelling units, or also known as backyard cottages, in-law units, granny flats, and secondary units are types of residential structure that occupy the same parcel of land where the main house is erected. Basically, it’s an innovative and effective option for adding housing within a particular property. And it’s been embraced by many cities and counties that are looking for practical solutions for affordable housing.

Types Of ADUs

building an adu

  1. Detached Type – This type of ADU is constructed separately from the main home. And this is what’s commonly referred to as granny flats, backyard cottages, DADUs, or laneway houses, depending on the jurisdiction.
  2. Garage Conversion – The garage of the main home is converted so it can be utilized as an additional living space for the family.
  3. ADUs Above A Workshop Or Garage – Also called carriage houses or garage apartments, it’s also the conversion of an existing space in the main home like a workshop or garage, but only on the upper part of the structure so it can serve as an additional room or living quarters for another member of the family.
  4. Basement Conversion – Also commonly called mother-in-law units, basement apartments, secondary suites, in-law units, and accessory apartments, these types of ADUs are made within the basement.
  5. Interior – The upper part of the living room is being converted into an ADU unit.

Common Characteristics Of ADU Structures

Although ADUs are constructed differently, they all have certain characteristics that differentiate them from other housing types:

  • The purpose of an ADU is to be an accessory structure and it’s always installed adjacent to the primary housing unit.
  • It is typically smaller than the average house in the US.
  • It’s is owned by 1 owner on a residential lot of a single family.
  • The style and design are governed by zoning regulations and municipal land use.
  • Informal ADUs outnumber permitted ADUs.

Benefits Of ADUs

  • Accessory dwelling units are a cost-effective type of residential structure to install in Los Angeles since you don’t have to pay for another land, structured parking, or major new infrastructures. And the best part is they can be easily built by a certified ADU contractor in LA.
  • It can serve as another source of income to homeowners as they can also be used as rental properties to house other people.
  • It allows extended families to dwell in one place and maintain privacy at the same time.
  • It can also be utilized as living places for seniors who require more attention and care.

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