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Accessory Dwelling Units: A Complete Guide For Baltimore County Residents


What’s the house fashion forecast for spring 2024? It’s all about accessories. 

Homeowners are adding ADUs, or accessory dwelling units, to their properties. 

It’s an on-trend improvement that you should consider if you own a stand-alone house.

ADU’s are already a hot trend in West Coast development. 

Recently, we’ve read that Seattle Washington has seen a 250% surge in ADU permit applications that are outpacing single family home development. 

Want to admire the city of Seattle’s remarkable approach to ADU development? 

They have pre-approved and easily permitted ADU plans available online, and the designs are exciting to explore in their ADUniversive. 

Here in Maryland, we are pleased that Maryland Realtors is advocating for the statewide authorization of ADU’s as a means of addressing the housing inventory shortage.


What Are ADUs?

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is an additional self-contained living unit located on the same property as a single-family home. 

These units are also known as granny flats, in-law suites, or backyard cottages, and can come in different forms like a converted garage, a basement apartment, or standalone small dwelling. 

ADUs are gaining popularity as a solution to the growing demand for housing and are being used for various purposes by homeowners.

accessory dwelling units

Why Build An Accessory Dwelling Unit

People build ADUs for a variety of reasons. 

They can serve as an additional living space for family members, provide rental income, or even function as a home office or studio. 

ADUs can also increase the property value and offer homeowners more flexibility in how they use their space.

Homeowners can also rent out the unit to tenants, which can provide another source of income that can help offset mortgage costs or add to their regular income.

Affordable Housing Meets Creative Design

Accessory dwelling units can be a solution to the missing middle in the current housing market.

They are also an opportunity for smart design, including green certifications. Last, they can be unexpectedly gorgeous, an infusion of contemporary design in an existing residence.

ADU’s are ideal for today’s market. 

Due to high interest rates and low inventory, for many homeowners, starter homes are becoming forever homes. 

This phenomenon has motivated homeowners to find ways to add space to their residences. It’s a wise investment.

  Frame ADU

Guidelines for Accessory Dwelling Units in Baltimore County

An accessory dwelling unit can either be a second living quarters within a principal residence, such as an in-law suite, or it can be an accessory building situated on the same lot such as a guest house. 

It’s a space that has dedicated bathing and cooking facilities and it’s located on owner-occupied property.

Here are some of Baltimore County's rules and regulations for ADUs:

  • If you have a lot that’s 1 acre or larger, your ADU can measure up to 1200 square feet, which is approximately the size of a 2-bedroom apartment.
  • If your lot measures less than one acre (and most do) your ADU can measure up to 800 square feet, which is the size of a 1-bedroom or large studio apartment.
  • ADUs must be permitted
  • Construction must be done by an MHIC licensed contractor
  • You cannot build an ADU in your front yard
  • Rental licenses are not required if the ADU is occupied by a relative

Ready to explore adding an ADU to your Baltimore County residence?

At guerilla, we can assist you with reviewing all your options from feasibility to design to pricing.

Get in touch to schedule a consultation.

Live in Baltimore City? You can also find out more information about ADUs in our complete guide to ADUs for Baltimore City residents.