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  • Writer's pictureKate Fulford

Considering an ADU?

I'm sure you're aware that ADU's (Accessory Dwelling Units) and popping up like crazy in Portland. In fact, many new construction homes are being built with attached ADU's. There isn't a lot of space for building - and we have a significant housing shortage which is causing both property values and rents to spike. An ADU provides an opportunity to not only create a new housing unit - but also a passive income stream.

So what's the deal?

I attended a short workshop with ADU expert Kol Peterson last week. Here are a few takeaways that I thought would be useful to you.

1. The system development charge waiver is in affect until July 2018. So if you want to build an ADU, now is the time if you want to save $8-12K! Suggest that you have completed permit submitted by May 2018 to help ensure you don't have to pay the fees.

2. Because ADU development is so popular - it's difficult to find builders who are available. It's a good idea to find one now and include them in the planning at the onset of your project. Try to find one of the smaller outfits (they may not even have a website).

ADU Code

- Must have a kitchen, bath and sleep/living space.

- Does not require an additional parking space (but can't remove one either)

- Must be 5' from property line (exception is an existing garage conversion if less than 24' x 24')

- Cannot have doors/windows in the set-back area (if no set back) - but could add skylights!

- Must be 800sf or less (but not to exceed 75% of living area of primary property)

Basement ADU notes

- If you decide to convert your basement to an ADU, know that each occupant (main house and ADU) must have their own utilities and cannot enter the other property to access. So if your main house furnace and water heater are in the basement, they likely need to be relocated.

- If there is not a separate entry - it costs about $10K to add

- plan $3-5k for each egress window

- ceilings should be at least 7' to ensure it can be built to code.

Garage ADU notes

- garages built more than 50 years ago can be problematic. Often there are issues with water intrusion and foundation that make retrofitting prohibitively expensive.

Let me know if I can answer any questions or direct you to helpful resources.

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