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ADUs can add extra value to a small home or a small property. It’s a mystery why we still see a very small number of ADUs albeit people talking about it. There are several reasons that add to this issue. Let us consider the following

Most people are unaware of ADUs

Since many people are stuck in a rut when it comes to renting property, the main issue is that they are not aware that ADUs exist. Moreover, they are not aware that they are a prime option for renting.

They are also unaware of the Bills that were signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in 2019 which make ADUs more accessible for all renters alike.

Many are not aware of how ADUs would rent

Privacy is an important element in a house, and many people search for it while renting an ADU. Detached ADUs provide the same seclusion as a “2 on a lot” which is difficult to find in a regular apartment situation. Many people may be hesitant to rent flats due to privacy concerns. However, this is one of the reasons why many homeowners are unaware of and concerned about ADUs.

Limited Financing option

ADUs may cost the same as building a small apartment. However, when it comes to ADU’s the availability of financial options is very low. The main reason is that the ADUs fall under the category of expansion of an existing property and therefore again fall under the construction loan agreement. Ergo the most viable option is investing your own cash or a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC).

Not meeting the eligibility criteria for building an ADU

Before constructing an ADU several local development standards have to be met; such as.

  • Density – which is the maximum number of ADUs that can be built in one property.
  • Height Limitation – The city-county may limit the Hight of the new buildings that are being built
  • Fire Safety – the new construction must require a distance that has to be sufficient for fire safety which may in return reduce ADU’s initial intended scale.
  • Utility Easements – check if there are any public utilities that might be running under the property.

Privacy Concerns

One of the main reasons that ADUs are not being built more is mainly the privacy concerns that arise with them. Having to share your backyard with a total stranger can be overwhelming and cause a certain level of discomfort.

On-Site Conditions for ADUs

Depending on your properties site conditions such as sloped lands, rainwater pooling, Trees and, having disturbed soil may bring a whole new set of problems and expenses when building an ADU. At the end of the day, all these problems will demotivate the process of building an ADU.

Permits and System development charges (SDC)

The permits are very expensive and SDC’s usually near $8000.00

Minimum Lot Size

On smaller properties, ADUs often gets rejected.

Not allowed “as of right”

Homeowners have to go through the process of “special conditional use” or “discretionary action” before the ADU gets approved to be built, which in turn discourages the process of construction of the ADU.

Owner Occupancy Required to build ADUs

ADU requires that the homeowner must have the property as his primary residence there-by eliminating any flexibility for other options.

Other apartments or housing ADUs are extremely difficult to obtain approval for. ADUs, on the other hand, are a simple addition to your property that may house your grandparents or any other family member.

Because they are difficult to construct, they are unlikely to become common in any community overnight. Even in cities with lax rules, such as Portland, it will be challenging. It will most likely take decades for ADUs to be present on even 5% of the city’s single-family residences. However, if ADUs intend to contribute to the amount of housing in an urban area, this may alter. Its status as a “good concept” will become more accurate in the future, and more people will be aware of it.

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