According to a Pew Research Center analysis of census data, nearly one in five Americans live in multigenerational housing.
In 2014, a record 60.6 million people, or 19% of the U.S. population, had multiple generations living in a single dwelling. While some may welcome parents or grandparents living under one roof, many would prefer a little space. A prefab guest house may be exactly what you need to provide affordable housing and adequate privacy.
While the idea of having mom and dad live with you is heartwarming enough for a Hallmark Channel movie, the reality may not be so cheery. Both parties will likely agree that a little separation would be welcomed. So, build a separate guest house, also known as a…
Many cities are seeing this trend of kids, parents, and grandparents all wanting to live on the same property and have adjusted their zoning codes to allow for higher density. For example, in San Diego, homeowners in single-family residential lots are allowed to build a “companion unit” as long as several requirements are met:
- Before a Building Permit may be issued for a companion unit, the record owner shall enter into an agreement with the City that neither the primary dwelling unit nor the companion unit may be sold or conveyed separately and that the record owner shall reside in the primary dwelling unit or the companion unit. The agreement shall run with the land and be coterminous with the life of the companion unit.
- One standard off-street parking space is required for each bedroom in the companion unit, with a minimum requirement of one parking space per companion unit. This can be a deal killer on small lots.
- The gross floor area of the companion unit shall be included in the floor area ratio calculation for the premises.
- The gross floor area of the companion unit shall not exceed 700 square feet.
- As expected, the process for approvals is complex and there are more details to the requirements. For a complete list of requirements, read Chapter 14, Article 1, Division 3 of the San Diego Municipal Code.
Talk to your local planning department to determine the requirements to build a guest house on your lot.
Just as recent as today, Los Angeles lawmakers tentatively voted to give city blessing to hundreds of “granny flats” — second units tucked behind houses — that had been thrown into legal limbo after a court ruling this year.
You may be surprised what is allowed in your town.
The header photo above is by Joe Fletcher and features a home by Connect Homes.