Can You Build an ADU in Pennsylvania? Your Guide to Accessory Dwelling Units

Yes, you can build an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) in Pennsylvania. However, there are certain requirements and regulations that need to be fulfilled. Here are some key points to keep in mind if you are considering building an ADU in Pennsylvania:
  • ADUs are permitted in a range of residential areas, such as ones in which the size of the lot is greater than 10,000 sq. feet.
  • Separated ADUs are allowed to be built over existing structures for accessory use like garages.
  • The ADU must meet zoning, building, and fire regulations, which can vary depending on where you are located in the state.
  • The size of the ADU must not exceed more than 35 percent of the total area of the primary dwelling unit.
  • If you plan on renting out your ADU, there may be additional regulations to comply with, so it’s important to do your research.
  • Overall, building an ADU in Pennsylvania is possible, but it’s important to understand and follow the regulations in place. ADUs can offer a unique housing solution for homeowners and renters alike, so it may be worth considering if you have the space and resources to do so.

    Understanding ADUs and their Permissibility in Pennsylvania

    An ADU, or an Accessory Dwelling Unit, is a second small home on the same property of a standard family home. These are independent living quarters that usually have a full kitchen, a bathroom, a living area, and one or two bedrooms. ADUs have become popular with homeowners who are looking for additional living space on their property, such as a rented space for a family member or even as a source of passive income.
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    In Pennsylvania, ADUs are becoming more and more popular thanks to their various benefits. However, it is important to understand that ADU construction is highly regulated, so it’s essential to know the rules and plan accordingly.

    Residential Areas that Allow ADU Construction in Pennsylvania

    Most residential zones in Pennsylvania allow ADUs, except for those areas that are designated for single-family homes only. However, before starting your ADU project, it is essential to check with the local zoning office to confirm your property usage is permitted based on ADU zoning requirements. Additionally, some townships have additional requirements for ADU construction, so it’s important to research each township’s specific rules for building an ADU.

    Size Requirements for Building an ADU in Pennsylvania

    In Pennsylvania, there are size requirements when building an ADU. In most cases, ADUs must be smaller than the primary home on the property. Typically, an ADU with one bedroom should have a minimum of 300 square feet, while an ADU with two bedrooms should have a minimum of 450 square feet. Before starting your ADU construction, it is important to speak with a local professional to assist in knowing the specific regulations for each township or borough, including minimum lot size and ADU dimensions.

    Building an ADU Over Existing Structures in Pennsylvania

    Pennsylvania law allows homeowners to add ADUs as separate structures or build them over an existing structure, such as a garage or a detached shed. The property owner may also need to obtain permits for any structural changes or renovations to the existing structures.
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    Construction in some older homes may require other infrastructure upgrades, such as adding new plumbing and wiring. Additionally, permits may be required based on the age of existing structures, structural foundation and similar vital factors.

    Permitting and Zoning Regulations for ADUs in Pennsylvania

    ADU projects in Pennsylvania require obtaining building permits and receiving planning approval for re-zoning permission. The homeowner must practice zoning rules and obtain a construction permit before the ADU project starts. Additionally, the owner must follow the construction guidelines and submit an ‘engineering certificate of new construction’ that contains measures for fire safety and adequate drainage systems.

    Costs of Building an ADU in Pennsylvania

    Building an ADU in Pennsylvania can cost anywhere between $10,000 and $100,000. The prices of materials and the cost of labor vary widely depending on the size and complexity of the project. Hence, you should work with a professional builder to obtain a correct estimate of the costs if you plan to construct one. Also, some financial institutions could offer you a loan or financial assistance if you plan to build an ADU on your property.

    Advantages of Building an ADU on Your Property in Pennsylvania

    One significant advantage of building an ADU in Pennsylvania is to create a passive income source by renting it out to other people or utilizing the ADU space for a family member. ADUs also increase the value of your property since it acts as an added living space. Moreover, ADUs offer flexible accommodation for out-of-town guests, elderly or disabled family members, and college students who will provide crucial support for the family.
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    In conclusion, it is vital to check with the local zoning rules before investing in ADU construction in Pennsylvania. This guide above provides homeowners with an overview of the permissibility of ADUs in residential areas, their size requirements, and the permit, cost and zoning regulations for this type of building. ADUs represent one of the best investments in property, and wise homeowners can maximize their property value and income possibility by opting to construct an ADU in Pennsylvania.

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