What are accessory dwelling units (ADUs)?

Who uses ADUs?

What are the benefits of ADUs?


What are accessory dwelling units (ADUs)?

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU): a secondary residence on a single property. It’s essentially an independent apartment either detached or attached to a single-family house. This also includes attic or basement apartments.

Accessory Dwelling Unit in Cameron Park Historic Neighborhood Raleigh

These dwellings take on many different names:

  • accessory dwelling units or ADUs (the common term used by architects and planners)
  • backyard cottages
  • accessory apartments
  • backyard dwellings
  • secondary dwelling unit
  • granny flats
  • in-law apartments
  • mother-in-law flat
  • backyard apartments
  • garage apartments
  • basement apartments
  • carriage house
  • garden suite
  • laneway house
  • alley apartment
  • multi-generational living

Who uses ADUs?

Common renters/inhabitants of ADUs:

  • students
  • young professionals
  • newly weds
  • older children/teens
  • grandparents
  • in-laws
  • other family or friends


What are the benefits of ADUs?

There are many benefits of ADUs associated directly to the owner, the renter, and the greater community.

Benefits to the Owner:

  • creates a sustainable housing life-cycle (see diagram above)
  • provides flexibility in housing options
  • improves social health
  • offers a secondary source of income
Benefits to the Renter:
  • provides affordable housing options
  • increases access to downtown amenities (restaurants, bars, museums, parks)
  • creates opportunities to live close to family, friends, jobs, and universities

Benefits to the Community:

  • promotes diversity in age, class and ethnicity
  • increases density while minimizing sprawl
  • provides more affordable housing options


What does Raleigh have to do with this…

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