Backyard Cottage

Dated: October 4 2022

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backyard cottage

The Rise of the Backyard Cottage

 At one time, an attached or separate apartment on your property was called a granny flat or mother-in-law suite. Now, the more accepted term is Accessory Dwelling Unit, and different municipalities have different rules for them. So what are they, and should you have one? Let's take a closer look.

What is an ADU?

An ADU is an additional home on the property of an existing home. It can be attached to the main house, like an apartment, or be separate, like a backyard cottage. The legal parameters for building an ADU vary based on your municipality. In some areas, it's not permitted, while other areas have established requirements for the unit's size and setbacks.

Personal use

It's also important to know how you plan to use an ADU before you build one. One of the most popular uses for these units is as a dwelling for a family member. This use is how terms like granny flat or mother-in-law suite became popular. If you are legally able to build an ADU and plan to use it for additional personal space or to have a family member live in it rent-free, you don't need to consider the implications of renting it out.

Long-term rental

In some cities with very ADU-friendly ordinances, homeowners may choose to build an ADU to rent out as a long-term rental. This can be helpful for the local economy and boost access to affordable housing within your area.

Short-term rental

Another widespread use for ADUs right now is as short-term rentals. Platforms such as Airbnb allow homeowners to rent out extra space. There are regulations and/or licensing requirements to rent an ADU on a short-term basis in many municipalities. Communities are often divided about the implications of using ADUs in this way.

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