Tiny Living

Accessory Dwelling Units



Accessory Dwelling Units


What is the difference between Tiny Homes and Accessory Dwelling Units?  Tiny Homes can be on wheels, made to go anywhere and Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) are placed in the backyard of existing “full size” homes.  There are only a few states that allow tiny homes, and not all counties in those states recognize tiny homes as residential dwellings.  Many places, such as Charlotte, NC and its county of Mecklenburg do not allow tiny homes on wheels but they do have accessory dwelling units that do meet code.  These homes do have strict guidelines but they are tiny homes and have such potential.

What is an accessory dwelling unit?  It is a tiny home that must be owned by the primary home’s owner.  It can only be a percentage of the square footage of the primary home and be placed within certain setbacks and cannot have an individual driveway unless the primary home is on a corner lot.

Why would people build a tiny home that cannot be moved?  There are many reasons.  They can be used as Man Caves, She Sheds, In-law Suites, and Post College Kids Home.  Another good option is for people that want to down-size.  Move into your ADU and rent the primary home.  Your mortgage is paid for and you don’t have a big house to care for anymore freeing you up to enjoy your life more.  An ADU can also be a rental unit.  This also can help subsidize your mortgage.

I think ADUs are a great way to get the conversation moving on legalizing tiny homes and making them a part of the housing industry not the RV industry.  Towns, Counties, and States can start adapting some of the regulations of ADUs to tiny homes and work on new codes directly related to tiny homes.  Tiny Homes and ADUs are not a fad.  People are more aware of the impact they have on the environment and they want to change the way they are living.  Building codes need to be amended to reflect this and laws changed.

I have mentioned this before, many people are now taking care of their elderly parents and moving them in with them.  However, not everyone has the room and cannot afford larger homes to accommodate their parents.   Granny pods are being touted as the next best thing.  Granny pods are ADUs.  They are a great way to have elderly parents close by, yet they still retain their independence and you are not scrounging for space.

Is tiny living for you?  Although you cannot take your ADU on the road, it is a great way to test the waters of tiny living.  Explore the options, how much space you think you may need, what can you live without and what are your must haves.  Have fun with it.  Get some graph paper and start planning.  Great part about this is anything goes.  What is the purpose of your ADU?  Guest house?  Pool House? Rental income?  Depending on what the use, decide what you need to make it work.

These units do not have to break the bank.  This is a great way to learn about sustainability and green building.  Find recycled wood.  Search your local salvage yards and Habitat Restores.  Get creative and your budget will thank you.


How can an accessory dwelling unit benefit your life?  Send us a message or comment below and let us know!


‘Til next time!


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