Remember “mother-in-law suites” or “granny flats”?  Those tiny housing units often located behind a suburban home until zoning laws shut down their construction.  Today they are experiencing a bit of a renaissance in U.S. communities—with real benefits to older Americans.

The contemporary term for a second, smaller home built on a parcel usually zoned for a detached house is accessory dwelling unit (ADU). To create affordable housing and slow sprawl, some cities and states have passed laws to remove restrictions that hindered such development.  

This is a potential boon for people who hope to remain in their homes as they age.  As people age, they sometimes want to stay in their communities instead of relocating.  


Types of ADU’s

  • Detached:  Backyard cottage
  • Attached:  Addition to existing home, with separate entrance and kitchen
  • Interior (upper level) Attic apartment
  • Interior (lower level) Basement apartment
  • Above garage:  Addition that serves as an apartment over the garage
  • Garage conversion:  An attached or detached garage made into an apartment