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ADU (aCCESSORY dWELLING uNIT)

What Is an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)?

An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a legal and regulatory term for a secondary house or apartment that shares the building lot of a larger, primary house.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • An accessory dwelling unit, or ADU, is an additional residential building that occupies the same lot as a primary residence.

  • Examples of an ADU could be a guest house or a detached garage with a rented apartment above.

  • The establishment and use of an ADU will fall under different zoning rules and regulations depending on where you live.

Breaking Down Accessory Dwelling Units

The accessory dwelling unit, or ADU, is also known as an in-law or mother-in-law unit, secondary dwelling unit, granny flat or carriage house. An ADU has its own kitchen, living area, and a separate entrance. An ADU may be attached to a house or garage, or it can also be built as a stand-alone unit, but it generally will make use of the water and energy connections of the primary house.

More recently, zoning changes in a growing number of areas around the country allow for the addition of accessory dwelling units. These zoning laws generally limit the size and style of any new unit and require that the owner live on the property. 

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