The Homeowner’s Guide to Building an ADU in Portland, Oregon

Everything You Need to Know About Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit

What exactly is an ADU, and is it the right choice for you and your family?

An ADU or accessory dwelling unit (also called a mother-in-law unit or a granny flat) is a compact self-contained housing unit located within the grounds of an existing single family home.

The two most common reasons for building an ADU are the following:

  1. For use as an investment property, listing the housing units as either short-term (nightly) or long-term (monthly) rentals.  
  2. To provide a private residence for an aging family member.
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ADU’s in Portland, Oregon

Portland homeowners are in a particularly good position to build ADU’s, thanks to local city regulations that make the construction process easier compared with surrounding areas.

Because the Portland City Council has recognized that ADU’s are an effective way to combat the housing shortage without further expanding the urban sprawl, they have lifted several otherwise restrictive requirements on ADU construction.

Not only are development fees waived by the city, but several zoning regulations are waived as well, including:

  1. No requirement for dedicated off-street parking.
  2. Homeowners are allowed to rent out the ADU’s (forbidden in most other jurisdictions).
  3. Flexible regulations on ADU structure format and no requirements for attachment to the primary dwelling.

Is Your Property Ready for an ADU?

However, there are still a few important requirements that your property must meet before being ready to build an ADU on it. They are as follows:

  1. The only type of housing that is eligible to add a detached ADU onto is a single family home. Duplexes, apartment complexes, etc., are not eligible.
  2. Homeowners must have enough buildable space in their backyards, a minimum of 667 square feet.
  3. Building site must be flat, and not in a landslide zone.
  4. Main house does not look into backyard, or there is enough space to build a visual barrier.
  5. Sufficient street parking to accommodate ADU occupants.
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Ready to Get Started?

Here at Straight Line Design & Remodeling, we can build you the custom ADU that you need, from concept to completion. Get in touch with us for a free quote on your new ADU today.