Why Portland is a Great City for ADUs

ADUs, or Accessory Dwelling Units, can be a great way to add both space and value to your existing property. And if you live in Portland, it’s never been a better time to build one. Here are 8 reasons by Portland is a great city for ADUs.

portland adu interior

Many cities impose strict rules and regulations about how to build and maintain ADUs. But Portland has eased many of theirs to make neighborhoods more ADU-friendly. Here are a few examples:

1. Two ADUs are allowed on a single property

Under recent rule changes, Portland will become the first city in the country to allow for two ADUs to be built on a single property, in any configuration. Previously, only one was allowed. Other states and cities currently allow for two ADUs, but they place restrictions on layout.

In addition, two ADUs can also be built in a single detached accessory building, essentially dividing a detached ADU into separate units.

This change gives homeowners much more flexibility when it comes to ADU construction and can allow for more rental income if you choose to create rentable ADU units.

2. In Portland, ADUs are allowed by right

As long as Portland homeowners meet ADU guidelines, they’re allowed to build an ADU without having to get special use permits, show evidence of a traffic analysis, or get neighbor approval.

3. Off-street parking requirements have been lifted

Ensuring adequate or additional off-street parking has long been a requirement if you wanted to build an ADU in Portland. But under recent new rule changes, all off-street parking requirements for residential zones are eliminated.

In other words, if you build an ADU or even a second one, you no longer need to have or create parking spots for them. So, if you’re thinking of converting your garage to an ADU in order to generate rental income or for another purpose, you don’t need to add another off-street parking space. By easing this rule, homeowners now will have more flexibility to repurpose the part of their lot that may have previously been used as a driveway or for parking. Now that space can be used for things like landscaping or for part of their new ADU structure.

4. Basement ADUs can now be larger

basement adu

The maximum square footage for a converted basement ADU is being increased from 800 to 1,000. Many basements in the Portland area are greater than 800 square feet, so this will allow homeowners to use more of their basement for an ADU.

5. Two street facing entrances

Up until recently, homes in the Portland city limits weren’t allowed to have two street facing entrances. The ADU entrance had to be sort of tucked behind the structure, away from the street. The new rules lift that restriction.

6. ADUs can be excellent investment vehicles and can provide affordable housing

portland adu

Portland has a very active home rental community, and ADUs are a great opportunity to provide you with extra income by using your unit as affordable, rentable living space. In addition, an ADU can result in a great return on investment if you decide to sell your home. It’s a good way to help you build wealth and even plan for retirement.

7. ADUs can help eliminate urban sprawl and increase sustainability

By efficiently using existing neighborhood boundaries and infrastructure, ADUs can help curb urban growth and contribute to more livable and sustainable cities and neighborhoods.

Since ADUs tend to be smaller than primary residences, they need fewer materials to complete and maintain. Plus, they can consume less energy for things like electricity and heating & cooling. This equates to greater sustainability in the long-run. And you can increase the environmental friendliness of your ADU depending on the building choices you make.

8. ADUs can build community connections by allowing for multi-generational living

If you prefer to live close to family but still want to have your separate spaces, ADUs can be the perfect solution. From serving as a mother-in-law suite to a separate space for adult children and their families who may be back living at home for a while, ADUs can provide the extra family living space you need.

Are you thinking about building an ADU and aren’t sure where to start? We’re happy to discuss your project. Simply schedule a conversation with us!

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