Welcome Back Granny Flats! (ADU’s To You, Too)

Cottage, rear photo by Seth Sawyers is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Okay, we get it. Mom and Dad are losers. But why move out if you can live in the back yard?

Private enterprise has had a long history of efficiently accommodating the public need for accommodation. But, thanks to the ever-stretching long arm of NIMBYism (read this New York Times article: How ‘Not in My Backyard’ Became ‘Not in My Neighborhood’, over recent years many elegant and popular solutions to affordable housing needs have fallen into disrepute.

These affordable forms of housing include rooming houses, basement apartments and detached units such as refurbished garages. In many jurisdictions these days, supplementary housing such as this may exist, but it has been driven ‘underground’ by zoning restrictions. Operating off a community’s radar, owners can, and frequently do, ignore fundamental safety and social requirements, either deliberately or through simple ignorance of the laws. By allowing properly licensed ADU’s, owners can be monitored and educated about their safety responsibilities.

In Portland, Oregon, legal ADU’s are booming. Read more in CITYLAB:  Portland’s ‘Granny Flats’ Get an Affordable Boost

Over 2016 and 2017, California has made a determined effort to reverse some of the restrictive laws that have effectively squelched the use of some of these long-proven affordable housing solutions. Applications for the construction of ADUs (accessory dwelling units) have increased 20-fold over a year. It seems many Californians think its wise to accessorize. Welcome back, Granny, in California, and in Portland!

Read more in Next City:  California ADU Applications Skyrocket After Regulatory Reform

. . . and some recent, more detailed statistics in MarketWatch: Could ‘granny flats’ be the solution to America’s affordable-housing crisis?