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Case Study:

ADUs 101 for Austin

What does ADU stand for?

ADU stands for  Accessory Dwelling Unit. They've also been referred to as granny flats and in-law units.

What is an ADU?

An ADU is a small dwelling unit on a property that has its own kitchen and bathroom.

Why are ADUs popular?

From a property owner's perspective, an ADU can create a source of revenue without costing as much to construct as a larger unit. They may also increase the property value either by having this additional rental income stream or by using a condominium regime to create two units (unit A and unit B) which allow for the owner to sell the ADU.

From the City's perspective, an ADU create another housing unit and fit the notion of being affordable while increasing density in areas that may have traditionally been only for single family use.

Who can add an ADU?

Properties that are zoned for the use.  In Austin, for example, SF-3 zoned lots that are 7,000 square feet or larger can, potentially, have a duplex. However, a SF-3 zoned lot with just 5,750 square feet, an ADU can possibly be added.

Specifics about ADUs

  • The unit sizes are capped. In Austin, for example, 1100 square feet is the maximum size.
  • Limits on short term rental use.
  • One parking space is requirement for some but not all.  The exception is for properties near (1/4 mile) of a "corridor" from the Imagine Austin plan. If that is your property's case, then no parking is thought to be needed.

Helpful links:

2018 article

City of Austin ADU