As you may know, accessory dwelling units (“ADUs”) have been an interest of mine here for several years as one of the many ways that the California legislature has tried to address our housing shortage. For those of you who are not familiar with this subject, ADUs, which were formerly known under California law as “secondary units”, and which are also known as “granny flats” or “in-law units,” are separate housing units located on the same lot as your primary residence. These projects have become increasingly popular in our Golden State as they can provide rental income, a space for aging family members, or a private guesthouse, especially in view of our acute need for more housing.
Having now written about this subject for several years, my better half Lisa and I are about to start our own ADU project at our Los Altos home. Like many domestic building projects, this one is a story of how one smaller idea leads to another. Here, Lisa and I wanted to increase our home office space, but that concept grew out of necessity to a larger home remodeling project, which then led to concern about what we would do while our house was being remodeled. As we had heard cautionary tales from several of our friends and neighbors about living in a home during remodeling, we decided that our best approach to the issue would be to install an ADU on our property; we could live in the ADU during our remodeling project and then rent it out once it was completed, with the possibility of using it as housing for caretakers for us in the future if necessary.
We are just about ready to start our ADU project with Villa Homes. We decided to work with Villa Homes because I had done some legal work for them as outside counsel a few years back. That experience gave me a good experience and relationship with the company and its leadership, and so we believe that Villa Homes will be able to deliver to us a quality ADU project on time and within budget.
As with all construction projects, however, once should hope for the best and prepare for the worst, so we are readying ourselves for all possible contingencies. I plan on posting project updates on my ADU website as they occur. Wish us luck!