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Building an ADU on your property brings numerous benefits, and it could even be monetary, as you can have the unit rented or sold. However, before you can do so, ensure that the dwelling complies with your state’s local ordinance and regulations.
Traditionally, there is only one house in every lot. Even if there is another structure, it would usually be a garage. However, what if you plan to build a secondary dwelling in the same lot? This is what you call an accessory dwelling unit or ADU. They have all the necessary amenities required in every living quarter, but for fewer costs and smaller in size than the main house. Many people construct ADUs to make the best use of their lot and as a form of extra income when renting or selling.
Unfortunately, for ADUs, it is not as simple as building the unit and having someone pay to live there. Most cities and states have strict ordinances and regulations for renting these residences. However, it has not always been this way. From 1929 to 1945, households were free to have more than one dwelling in their residential lot. Only after World War II were secondary units made exclusive to be the servant’s only quarters. By the 1970s, approval from the Board of Adjustment was mandatory, and the requirements continued to increase.
ARE ADUS ALLOWED IN TEXAS?
Whether constructing and renting ADUs is legal depends on where you live. Some cities and states allow it, while others do not. Fortunately, when it comes to ADU, Texas is more open to it than other areas. However, there are only designated zones where ADUs are permitted to be constructed, even in this state. At the same time, strict regulations must be followed regarding this.
Other than the location, how your property is zoned can also determine whether it is legal to build an ADU. The development code may vary depending on your property’s zoning district. For Texas, you can read its zoning laws in more detail from the Texas Loc. Gov. Code Sec 211. Note that this applies not to all but only most cities in the state.
ZONING AND DEVELOPMENT CODES/CRITERIA
Much like allowing the construction of ADUs, the zoning and development codes also vary per city or state. This means that the standard for secondary dwellings is not set or uniform everywhere. It is also important to note that the criteria are not for the construction or building of an ADU. That one follows the traditional city and state requirements for constructing buildings. Instead, the ordinances are set for renting purposes.
There are different variations of ADU, depending on their structure and where they are built on. Out of all the options, only detached units are qualified in the ordinance. Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit (JADU) and converted existing space are not suited. This is because they are contained or considered part of the primary dwelling.
Another reason why only detached and attached ADUs are allowed according to the regulations is because deed restriction is one of the requirements. This limits the property owner to live in only one of the constructed dwellings in the lot. However, it does not necessarily matter which house you stay in. Therefore, you can live in the secondary or smaller unit and rent out the primary residence.
Besides the primary parking structure on your property, a separate parking space for the ADU is also required. However, you could be exempted if your property is within 1,200 feet or a quarter-mile of a DART bus or train stop. Alternatively, you could get 75% of the neighborhood agreement that you do not need an additional parking space. For more information about the requirements, check out the regulations of your city or state.
CURRENT REGULATIONS IN TEXAS
If you are residing in Austin, Texas, Your lot must be 5,750 square feet at the very least to construct an ADU. Meanwhile, the unit itself should be no bigger than 15% of the lot size or 1,100 square feet, whichever is smaller. The structure’s cover must also not be more than 40% of the property’s space. In addition, the secondary dwelling has to be separated by at least 10 feet from side to side and front to back from the main house.
It is also essential to note that when it comes to the ADU design build, the unit must not have a second story. The only exemptions are if the structure is attached on top of a garage. After all, ADUs should be no more than 30 feet tall in Texas. Even the type of construction must be compatible with the primary dwelling, which means the materials, colors, foundation, and roofing should be similar.
HOW ADU AFFECTS THE REAL ESTATE MARKET
The impact of the ADU real estate market is increasingly becoming more significant as they are relatively less costly. Therefore, if you do not have enough budget or an average-size home, a small house or a smaller ADU could be more practical. It may not have yet reached the level where it is taking over the industry, but it sure has caused housing in some cities in Texas, such as Austin, to be more competitive, driving prices up.
It is of great importance that property owners follow the ordinances of their city or state when it comes to ADUs. In Texas, for example, you will be charged up to $500 for failing to comply with the regulations. Therefore, read through the local zoning rules before building your secondary dwelling, especially if you plan to have it rented.
If you have inquiries about the regulations, do not hesitate to ask the local planning department. If there are people who can answer your questions, it would be them. Otherwise, you could also commission help from experts in this field, such as Small House Solutions. The experienced members of the team will start by visiting and analyzing your lot to determine the best way to go through with the plan. They will also be in charge of ensuring that you comply with your area’s ordinances and regulations.
Small House Solutions serves the following Texas Towns, Counties and nearby Areas for Tiny, Small, Large Custom Homes, Tiny Homes on Wheels, ADU, Accessory Structure and Park Models:
Another factor that is often overlooked is the weight of the structure. Especially for a tiny house trailer, how much everything weighs is a matter of more significant importance than you might have thought.
Are you thinking of constructing an ADU on your lot or renting one? Here’s everything you, as the homeowner or tenant, need to know about the construction of these types of small house units, the costs, and the benefits.