Considering Building an ADU? SK Home Designs and Remodel Can Help Build an ADU
ADUs Explained: What are Accessory Dwelling Units?
An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a secondary housing unit located on a single-family residential lot. This term is commonly used across the country and is often abbreviated as “ADU.” The definition of an ADU is based on its function as a secondary housing unit, not its physical form.
ADUs come in various shapes and sizes, so it may be helpful to understand the common types of ADUs. This will provide a better visual representation of what ADUs are.
Choice of ADUs
There are several types of ADUs, some of the most common ones include:
- Detached ADU: a standalone structure, separate from the main house, located on the same property.
- Attached ADU: an addition to the main house, typically built as an extension.
- Garage Conversion ADU: converted from an existing garage into a living space.
- Basement Conversion ADU: converted from an existing basement into a living space.
- Internal ADU: created by converting existing interior space within the main house, such as an attic or bonus room.
- Junior ADU: a smaller unit, typically with one or two rooms, and limited kitchen and bathroom facilities.
- Portable ADU: a prefabricated unit that can be moved to different locations.
Each type of ADU has its own set of benefits and limitations, and the type that’s best suited for you will depend on your specific needs and the regulations in your area.
Despite varying physical forms, ADUs have common traits and face similar design and development challenges. As secondary housing units on single-family residential lots, they belong to a unique category of housing. Other characteristics that define and differentiate ADUs include:
- Being accessory and adjacent to a primary housing unit.
- Being significantly smaller than the average US house.
- Being one of two units owned by the same owner on a single-family residential lot.
- Being primarily developed by homeowner developers separate from the primary house.
- Subject to a wide range of municipal land use and zoning regulations, which impact their allowed uses.
- Largely informal, with a higher number of informal ADUs compared to permitted ADUs.
These traits make ADUs a distinct type of housing, however, a common understanding of their language and best practices for development is still lacking.
Does building an ADU require a permit?
Whether building an ADU requires a permit depends on local regulations and building codes. In most cases, building an ADU does require a permit, as well as compliance with local building codes and regulations regarding zoning, building codes, safety, and environmental standards.
It’s important to check with your local government to determine the specific requirements for obtaining a permit for an ADU. These requirements can vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another, so it’s important to be aware of the specific rules and regulations in your area.
Who can live in an ADU?
The occupants of an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) can vary depending on the specific regulations and laws in your area. In most cases, ADUs are designed to provide additional living space for family members, friends, renters, or elderly parents.
In some jurisdictions, there may be restrictions on who can occupy an ADU, such as a requirement for the occupants to be related to the owner of the primary residence, or a limit on the number of occupants.
It’s important to check with your local government to determine the specific rules and regulations regarding who can occupy an ADU in your area. These requirements can vary significantly from one jurisdiction to another, so it’s important to be aware of the specific rules and regulations that apply to you.
What is the difference between an ADU and a second dwelling unit?
“Accessory Dwelling Unit” (ADU) and “Second Dwelling Unit” are terms used to describe a secondary housing unit on a single-family residential lot. While both terms refer to similar concepts, there may be some differences in the specific regulations and requirements in different jurisdictions.
In general, an ADU is a secondary housing unit that is accessory to, and located on the same lot as, a single-family home. A second dwelling unit is also a secondary housing unit, but the specific regulations and requirements may vary depending on the jurisdiction.
It’s important to check with your local government to determine the specific rules and regulations that apply to each term in your area, as the definition and requirements can vary depending on the location.
SK Home Designs and Remodel is your source to build an ADU on your property. For answers to more of your questions on ADUs please contact us now.