The issue of Accessory Dwelling Units has become a hot topic in densely-populated areas of the U.S. An ADU is described by The American Planning Association as a secondary structure built on a lot of a single-family home. In the U.S., an Accessory Dwelling Unit can be described as a granny flat or an in-law-suite.
These structures can be built as detached property behind an existing home or positioned inside a basement or above a garage. As cities look for more space to grow, the use of Accessory Dwelling Units is becoming more common, with local governments helping ease the permitting process.
1. Earn a Rental Income
The arrival of ADUs on the property market is changing the way rentals are created by homeowners. Adding a newly constructed building to a property makes it easy for a landlord to monitor their renter. In parts of the U.S. where rental prices are high, the addition of an ADU gives young people and those with a low income the chance to live in their own homes. The cost of renting ADUs is higher than apartment living, but the average rental lasts longer at the initial rental price than managed apartment dwellings.
2. Add to the Local Economy
To help a local economy grow and prosper, new residents and businesses need to be encouraged. The problem with established neighborhoods where there is little space to add homes is a stagnant economy. The University of California at Berkeley explains Accessory Dwelling Units are the only available option for some neighborhoods to keep on growing.
The addition of new residents allows the existing infrastructure to remain intact and limits the environmental impact of new construction in a neighborhood. Adding 4,000 ADUs to a neighborhood can result in up to $1.8 million of goods and services being added to the local economy.
3. Every Age Group Benefits
The addition of an Accessory Dwelling Unit can be of benefit to people of all ages. Those who have adult children living away from home can construct a smaller home for themselves and rent out their larger residence without leaving their property. For those who are concerned about their community, ADUs provide a way for young people to get on the property ladder in a meaningful way.
Credit issues can cause problems for young people and lead them to reside in undesirable neighborhoods. A young person can rent a small home beside a larger family residence and enjoy the independence of living in an established neighborhood. Families with older members who want to retain their independence can design a unit for those with a disability that improves their level of independence and self-confidence.
4. Smaller Sizes
The average family home has grown over the last half-century from 983 square feet in 1950 to 2,571 square feet in 2017. The expansion of the American family home has driven most young people and small families to apartment living. The average size of ADUs is between 600 and 1,000 square feet, making them the perfect size for single people or couples. The cost of cooling, heating, and maintaining homes of this size has added to the reasons why many people are choosing apartment living over single-family home rentals.
The environment should be on the minds of all communities in the 21st-century. Urban sprawl has been a blight on the U.S. landscape since the middle of the 20th-century. Accessory Dwelling Units have become important in limiting the impact of new construction on the environment, with green areas of communities not impacted by the construction of ADUs.
The development of ADUs is a powerful tool in protecting communities and limiting their environmental impact by limiting new construction to already established neighborhoods. Protecting the environment has become important to local governments that are concerned about the impact new construction has on the wider world.
6. Government Help is Available
The displacement of families from existing communities has become an issue for local and state governments to address. In California, local governments are offering programs to assist homeowners with the cost of permitting and construction of ADUs. A powerful tool in the development of the Accessory Dwelling Unit market is the financial assistance on offer from local governments for families in low-income neighborhoods.
Low-income neighborhoods established in the 1950s and 1960s have limited space for expansion and properties built on large lots. By eliminating the cost of permits and offering financial assistance programs, local governments can help with the construction of new buildings in existing neighborhoods.
There are several benefits for families and property owners looking at adding an Accessory Dwelling Unit to their property. Several reasons have been found for constructing ADUs, including the ability to house a family member while preserving their independence. Limiting the impact of a neighborhood on the surrounding environment is a good idea in a world where green space is being lost to construction projects.