As rents increase and the availability of homes for sale in the Twin Cities stays historically low residents are looking for creative ways to increase the supply of affordable housing. One of those ways is the Accessory Dwelling Unit, also known as the granny flat, mother-in-law apartment or backyard casita. ADUs, as they’re known, have been legal throughout the city of Minneapolis since late 2014. St. Paul approved ADUs in 2016, but only for a small area straddling the Green Line along University Ave. Talks are ongoing about expanding the program to other St. Paul neighborhoods.

Is an ADU for you?

Whether attached to an existing home or a separate structure, an ADU is a smart way to create extra living space offering more privacy than an addition. An ADU can be an ideal solution for an aging parent who may not be up to living in or caring for their own home, or for an adult child who needs to return to the parental next to regroup or save for a home of their own. An ADU also makes a great home office, artist workspace or guest quarters but know that to qualify as an ADU the unit must have plumbing, heat, a bathroom and a kitchen area.

ADUs as moneymakers

Many people considering an ADU are dreaming of income potential via long-term or short-term rental, such as Airbnb. It’s important to note that either the home or the ADU must be owner-occupied at all times. And, rule surrounding Airbnb rental varies by municipality and neighborhood; rules may change as the issue evolves. Whether or not rental is a part of the plan, an ADU is likely to increase the property value when it’s time to sell.

The fine print

Interested in adding an ADU to your home? Check out the Minneapolis and St. Paul guidelines below, or contact me for more information and resources.

Information on St. Paul ADUs


Information on Minneapolis ADUs