Accessory dwelling units for multi-generational households are also known as in-law quarters/apartments, mother-in-law suites, secondary suites, or granny flats. They are separate, self-sufficient apartment-style spaces within the main house or on the same grounds as the main house.
Although these nicknames imply they are meant for aging parents, they can also be used for adult children or live-in nannies. Altogether, the purpose of these secondary apartment style areas are to provide privacy and independence from the main household.
What are In-Law Quarters?
These dwellings must have several things to be true in-law quarters. It must have its own entrance, bedroom, kitchen or kitchenette, and bathroom; although you can share common spaces.
In-law apartments are becoming a popular and (usually) cheaper alternatives to nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Therefore moving aging parents into in-law quarters will place the care taking responsibilities of the elderly parents onto their adult children. If you are unable to provide adequate care, a long-term care facility might be a better option. The in-law apartment will also have to cover any needs and accessibility issues.
Options for In-Law Quarters
Creating a separate apartment-style area in an existing home can be a simple process. Think about remodeling the basement, attic, or a seldom used part of house. You can also renovate the garage or an outbuilding. Also, an addition can be adjoined to the house or a freestanding structure can be built. Depending on the scope of the project, it can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000. To learn more about the types of in-law quarter conversations, click here.
Before taking on any type of accessory dwelling project, check the local zoning regulations to see what the city, township, or homeowner’s association will and will not allow. This is because some places will not allow building a detached unit or will only allow for one if there is no bathroom. In other places, occupancy may be limited to direct relatives. This restricts renting to someone who is unrelated.
Pros and Cons of In-Law Quarters
- Can increase the home’s value. This is because more square footage means a higher listening price, and many people are willing to pay extra for in-law quarters.
- It can be used in other ways when no longer needed for the original purpose. I.e. as a home office, guest house, short-term rental, or a long-term rental.
- More day-to-day upkeep when it comes to cleaning and maintenance.
- Higher utility costs.
- Higher insurance costs.
- Parking may become an issue.
- Increased traffic in the home.
If you are interested in remodeling your home to include an accessory dwelling unit, contact us today for a free estimate.