In an effort to increase the current housing stock, the City of Austin has passed a number of initiatives in recent years to ease the process of adding an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to your lot. These separate stand-alone residences essentially allow for two independent fully livable buildings that can be legally separated as well. Traditionally, if you wanted to build two homes on one lot and sell them to different purchasers you would need to have the lot subdivided. Now, owners and developers can do a simple condo regime to account for the two units.
Originally, the ordinance only allowed for the development of such secondary units on lots of at least 7,000 square feet. However, amendments in recent years have reduced the lot square footage requirements. Additional regulation changes included removing cumbersome parking requirements, increasing the maximum size of the accessory dwelling unit, and decreasing required setbacks between the two buildings.
If you are considering building a secondary dwelling unit on your lot, the best place to start is by looking at the exact requirements as outlined in the city code. A few highlights from the code in relation to ADUs are as follows:
These secondary units represent a great opportunity for Austin to expand the affordable housing stock available, increase density while limiting urban sprawl, and allow residents to make a profit on their existing investments. If you're worried about the hassle of red tape involved, feel free to give me a call. I'm happy to walk you through the process.
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