So You Want to Live in an ADU? Here’s What to Consider

Owners and tenants of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) share key insights about how to navigate the unique living experience.

With changes in laws and zoning restrictions in cities such as Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Dallas, and Chicago, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are becoming increasingly common in the backyards of homes across the country. Also known as backyard cottages, in-law suites, granny flats, and carriage houses, ADUs are secondary housing units typically detached from a primary dwelling on a single-family residential lot. Many activists tout ADUs for creating affordable housing alternatives in dense urban environments. Homeowners can also rent the units out for additional income, and some people find the independent living structures to be great housing options for aging parents. The growing popularity of ADUs has many people wondering: What’s it actually like to live in one? We spoke to a number of ADU residents and owners about the key factors to consider. 

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