Accessory Dwellings

A one-stop source about accessory dwelling units, multigenerational homes, laneway houses, ADUs, granny flats, in-law units…


We welcome new contributors to this site. There are lots of ways to be involved — some of which only take a few minutes.  While we won’t be able to pay you, you can still get the glory. :)

The easiest way to help is to send in a link to help fill in our table of local ADU regulations.  If you’ve got a link, leave a comment below.

If you have your own ADU and you’d like to tell the world about it, currently we have a writer who can interview you and write the story.  She’ll ask things like why you built it, what you built, and how it’s working out, for better or worse.   Contact the ADU Case Studies Coordinator, Lina Menard, by emailing   She’ll get back to you quickly.

If you’re academically oriented, and want to contribute to our Zotero database of ADU-related references and citations, we would love some help there.  Check out this page and leave a comment for Martin.

If you’re interested in writing anything else for the site, that’s great!  We would love to have contributions from around the country and world.   Some guidelines are below.  Read them, leave a comment below, and we’ll get back to you pronto.

Guidelines for posts

  • Feel free to range widely in terms of content and style, but make sure whatever you write has some clear relevance to the accessory dwelling concept.
  • The post should have some substance, making at least an itty bitty contribution to the amount of knowledge on the web on this subject.  That doesn’t mean you have to write a phD thesis, just anything more than “hey I found this link on the web check it out.”
  • The easiest way to contribute is to report your own personal experience.  You might describe an accessory dwelling you built, live in, or visited (pictures are most welcome).  Or your experience with a crucial issue related to accessory dwellings (financing, being a landlord/tenant, using a common yard, etc).
  • If you want to write about the general benefits/drawbacks/potential/etc of ADUs, try to synthesize the issue or add intelligent commentary.
  • If your business is related to accessory dwellings, that’s fine!  You can promote your own service, products, or events.  Just make it clear you’re promoting yourself, and provide some value to readers along the way.
  • The only thing we’re shy about right now is unbuilt projects.   We hope can distinguish itself by publicizing dwellings that are actually being built or lived in right now.  However, if you’ve got a really great unbuilt project story, let us know.
  • Copyright and permissions: Please make sure you have appropriate permission or clearance to use the images that appear in your post, and credit the creators of those images.  For example, you can get permission from the photographer directly, or you can use images that are licensed under Creative Commons.  Your posts will be released with a Creative Commons license unless you declare a different license in the body of your post.

We’re anxious to hear your ideas!  Thanks!

– the editors

30 comments on “Contribute

  1. Jessica
    April 15, 2012

    So happy to find this site. I have been researching ADUs for the past year (slowly) and believe your site will help me reach out to a broader community and find further information.

    I am currently in my last semester of graduate school at The University of Texas at Austin, getting my M.S. in Community and Regional Planning. I am doing my thesis on Accessory Dwelling Units. Specifically, a program feasibility study for my hometown of Denton, Texas. The thesis will also include 2 case studies that review current programs for ADUs in the country. One of my case study sites is Santa Cruz, CA, I have not decided on the other yet. (maybe Austin’s SMART Housing program). Any suggestions on other cities with successful ADU programs??? I know Portland and Seattle have great programs but I am trying to find a city less urban or west cost. I wish Austin had a stronger program. Darn!

    Again, so excited to see this site!!


    • Martin John Brown
      April 16, 2012

      Hi Jessica, glad to have you here. I hope you’ll find time to contribute some of what you’re discovering to the site! In fact I’ll make sure you’re invited as a contributor… look for that in your email. In terms of other cities to study, you might want to look through this bibliography I created (and you are welcome to add to as well). This thesis reviews some programs in the Boston area. This review may help you identify some other cities. I am glad you are not just focusing on Santa Cruz. For despite the wonderful publicity the Santa Cruz program has generated, it is really just one city, and the ADU phenomenon is much more widespread. Cheers! Martin

      • Jessica
        April 16, 2012

        Martin, Thank you so much for all the resources. I was happy to see so many of the resources I had already downloaded on your list! I wish I found your site a year ago! I will definitely keep you updated as I discover new things.

  2. James
    May 17, 2012


    Hope you are well!

    I really enjoyed your posts on ADU’s, they show how important they are to building structures and the flexibility of modern homes.

    I’m working with WhatHouse we’d love to work with AccessoryDwellings, would you be open to a guest post on your site?

    Here are a couple of ideas that we think could work really well
    • The opportunity for ADU extensions on new build homes
    • What is more cost effective – a new build or an extension
    • Trends in new housing

    Just to give you a bit of background on WhatHouse in case it’s not a name
    you’re familiar with. WhatHouse offers offer homebuyers looking to purchase new-build homes in the UK everything they need to help their search, from brand new builds to retirement homes.

    Looking forward to hearing from you


  3. Ben Ross
    September 6, 2012

    In Montgomery County, Maryland, the Planning Board has proposed a very modest liberalization of accessory apartment rules. Advocates for transit, tenants, and smart growth want something less restrictive. Here are my blog post on the subject and testimony being submitted to a Tuesday hearing by the Action Committee for Transit

  4. Greg
    August 9, 2013

    Hi- I enjoyed your posts on ADUs in Portland! Do you have any ideas (or have heard stories) for how someone who is interested in living in an ADU might be able to buy/build one without owning the larger house? Would a homeowner who has built an ADU be able to sell it? I doubt they would, but who knows…

    • Martin John Brown
      August 9, 2013

      Greg, an ADU is by definition owned by the same party who owns the larger house. It’s not a division of land or property — it’s just an additional dwelling on what is usually a single-dwelling property. The whole property is bought or sold as a single package. So I’d say building one on somebody else’s property wouldn’t make a lot of sense.

      HOWEVER you could just drive an RV onto someone else’s property (assuming they give permission :) )– in a way that would function as an ADU. People do that a lot in rural areas. Or your could build a tiny house on a trailer, as a lot of people out there are doing, and pull that onto somebody else’s property. Let us know what you come up with.

  5. john hayden
    November 7, 2013

    Hi Editors,

    My company,, has recently expanded to the Portland market and would love to be a part of your group and provide posts for this page. We’ve helped over 65 clients in the Bay Area in just a few short years of business and are very excited about the Pacific Northwest.

    It’d be great to hear from you,


  6. Rachel F. Ginis
    November 23, 2013

    I created a design/build firm,, in Marin County, California. We specialize in space and energy efficiency. We develop ADU’s and JR Units in existing homes to provide more affordable housing options in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    I would love to contribute content to your site. You provide a great service to the community – Thank you so much! I look forward to hearing from you.


  7. Sarah Henderson
    February 3, 2014

    Hi Editors, John of New Avenue Homes recommended that I check out your site! WOW, there is alot of useful info to sift through.I’m hoping to develop a tiny house myself– though have just started doing research and there is a great deal of legwork to do! ie securing a lot on the coast or in the wine country, TBD. If you are in need of a photo contributor I appreciate your keeping me in mind. Where can I send you photo links? Thank you! Best, Sarah

  8. toby
    May 8, 2014

    Here’s a link to PIttsburgh, PA’s regulations:

  9. Kristie Francis
    June 18, 2014

    My husband I plan to move to Portland soon, and we hope to buy a home with an ADU so that … well, for more reasons than I can list here! I have contacted two realtors; neither has an efficient way to find these homes without my wading through dozens of listings that might include certain key words in their descriptions. At this point I don’t even want to consider a home without an ADU; there must be a better way to find these elusive needles in the Portland haystack, isn’t there? Are there realtors who specialize in homes with ADUs? Help!

    • Martin John Brown
      June 18, 2014

      Kristie, I don’t personally know a better way to search for houses with ADUs. There had been some talk of updating the RMLS database (used by realtors) to include an ADU field, but I don’t know if it has been put into effect. It’s worth asking your agent about. Here on this site we hope to have a forum of some kind where ADU-friendly professionals can list themselves, but we haven’t set it up yet. If you’d like to help out with that project, let us know. :)
      Good luck!

  10. Kristie Francis
    July 9, 2014

    I just wrote a fairly long, detailed reply, but then must have hit a wrong key and it’s gone! Gggrrr! Did you get it? Kristie Francis

  11. Martin John Brown
    July 9, 2014

    Hi Kristie, sorry, I think it was lost in the ether. But the shorter comment came through. I can email you if you’d like. –Martin

  12. Harrison
    November 5, 2014

    Just discovered this site thanks to a Congress for the New Urbanism newsletter. I noticed you do not have a link to ADU regulations for my city, El Paso, Texas, so, here is one:

    Keep up the good work!

  13. Colin Cortes
    November 26, 2014

    The City of Tualatin, Oregon allows ADUs by right, without need of a zoning permit, and assuming compliance with the standards in Tualatin Development Code (TDC) 34.310 .

    By the way, Metro, the regional government of the Portland, Oregon metro area, requires cities and counties to allow ADUs pursuant to Metro Code Section 3.07.120(G).

  14. Emily Key
    November 28, 2014

    Opelika, AL. County: Lee.

    Illegal to live in a tiny house on personal property because only one residence is allowed per lot. Got an empty lot? Still can’t live in it because they have to be 800 sq ft minimum.

    I’ve been told i can park it in an RV park but I have to move it frequently (I think either 30 or 60 days)

    • Melissa
      March 31, 2015

      I am not sure what the building codes are here in Huntsville Alabama.

    • Martin John Brown
      November 29, 2014

      Thanks Emily. I put it on the “Rules” page.

  15. charlotte Lewis
    November 29, 2014

    do you have Atlanta, GA on your list of regulations needed

    • Martin John Brown
      November 29, 2014

      We don’t have anything for Atlanta right now on the rules page. If you can find out we’d be happy to post the details there.

  16. Kristie Francis
    October 21, 2015

    I contacted you a year and a half ago; my move to Portland is still scheduled for next summer (2016), and I am still hoping to buy a house with an ADU or the potential for one. I am working with a realtor who does not know of an organization or process that can help me find these rare needles in the PDX real-estate haystack. Actually, the availability of homes is more like a bale of hay, or a bucket at best … the selections are pretty limited in this sellers market, aren’t they! Apparently there’s no list of such homes that are for sale – can you offer any suggestions?

    • Martin John Brown
      October 21, 2015

      Kristie, have you or your agent tried looking in the MLS system in the “notes” field, looking for anything like “ADU”, “granny flat,” “in-law unit,” etc. It’s not efficient, but tThat’s what I would do. Some of the results would not be real ADUs, but you can always check for ADU permit status for a particular address at . Hope that helps! Martin

  17. Kristie Francis
    October 21, 2015

    We’ve been using the wide range of ADU keywords in the notes, and it does provide a few hits. The permit-status-checking website will be helpful – Thanks! Kristie

    • Martin John Brown
      October 22, 2015

      Kristie, it may be that, since ADU’s are rare, there simply aren’t that many relevant properties for sale at any one time. Not that that really helps, but it is an explanation for why you might not find much. :|

  18. Kristie Francis
    October 22, 2015

    Martin, Lennar is working on a few communities in the Portland area; each community has ten or so different styles, and they say that one or two of those are “NextGen” homes (which, as you probably know, include an ADU … “two homes under one roof”). The communities are too far out for me, and the homes are pretty pricey, but other readers of your blog might want to take a closer look. Good luck to all!

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