Editor’s note, 1/16/20: Washington state legislators are taking another crack at passing statewide ADU reform. The reform would bring a host of benefits to communities across the state. Read on for more about why modest backyard cottages and daylight basement apartments matter for the climate, affordability, and equity.

Mother-in-Laws do matter! But we’re not talking about our spouses’ moms. (Hi, Linda!) We’re talking about apartments over garages, daylight basement suites, and backyard cottages. This kind of home can be a great living solution for renters and owners alike—with benefits for the whole community too.

  • READ MORE: ADU Parking Quotas Are Climate Killers

    A key tool to keep rents and home prices under control in cities big and small is to change rules that prevent all but the largest, most expensive homes. Giving owners more freedom to create accessory dwelling units—granny flats, laneway houses, mother-in-law apartments—in centrally-located neighborhoods gives flexibility for all kinds of households and all stages of life. An ADU might make it possible to stay in your home and age in community. You might be able to help out a family member. Or maybe you could use some income from a small rental. On the flip side, you might be a renter who cuts costs and commute time by finding a modest, affordable ADU home near work, school, or good transit. 

    An ADU opportunity in Washington state

    Read about the new ADU bill that was introduced by state representatives Mia Gregerson (D-SeaTac) and Andrew Barkis (R-Olympia)in Olympia this week. 

    Tips for talking up the many community benefits of ADUs

    Small apartments in existing neighborhoods—often in existing homes or structures—offer multiple benefits. Here’s our guide for communicating about this low-impact, common-sense affordability solution. You can find the whole guide here. Here’s our cheat sheet:

    Original Sightline Institute graphic by Kelsey Hamlin, available under our free use policy. Graphic uses a photo from Benjamin Benschneider with permission.