In the vibrant city of Atlanta, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) offer homeowners a flexible housing solution while upholding the distinctive charm of residential neighborhoods. Also referred to as granny flats, in-law suites, or backyard cottages, ADUs can either complement the main residence or stand independently.

City of Atlanta Zoning Requirements

  • ADUs are regulated within specific zones, primarily 
    • R-5 (Single-Family Residential), 
    • R-4, and R-4A (Two-Family Residential) areas. 
  • Key Specifications: 
    • Maximum Size: ADUs must not exceed 750 square feet to maintain neighborhood scale. 
    • Height Limit: Capped at 20 feet, ensuring harmonious integration with existing structures. 
    • Lot Coverage: ADUs, when combined with the main dwelling, should occupy no more than 55% of the lot, preserving open space. 
    • Floor Area Ratio (FAR): ADUs and primary residences combined should not surpass 50% of the total lot area, fostering balanced development. 
  • Ownership and Rental Rules: 
    • ADUs cannot be sold separately from the main residence, preserving property integrity. 
    • Homeowners in Atlanta have the option to rent out ADUs, presenting an opportunity for additional income. 
  • Building Codes and Permits: 
    • Stringent adherence to local building codes is mandatory for all ADUs, guaranteeing safety and quality. 
    • Prior to construction, obtaining a permit is requisite, ensuring compliance with regulations. 

These regulations, meticulously crafted by the City of Atlanta, strike a delicate equilibrium between expanding housing options and preserving neighborhood aesthetics. Prospective homeowners contemplating the construction of an ADU are strongly advised to consult the comprehensive guidelines provided by the city, ensuring a seamless integration of this housing option into their property.

ADU vs. Guest houses

While ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) and guest houses may appear similar at first glance, they possess notable disparities. Unlike guest houses, ADUs are restricted from incorporating a built-in stove and are obliged to adhere to zoning regulations and building codes. Furthermore, ADUs contribute towards the allowable buildable square footage of a lot, a distinction absent in guest houses. Additionally, ADUs lack lease term limitations, a feature present in guest houses.

ADUs present a promising avenue for augmenting property value and generating supplementary income. However, they necessitate adherence to zoning ordinances, building codes, and other structural requisites such as stormwater management and sanitary sewer pumping. ADUs stand as an attractive option for homeowners seeking to furnish separate living spaces for family members or capitalize on rental income.  Homeowners may consider integrating an ADU to enrich their property’s worth and expand housing possibilities within their community.

The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman represent residential and commercial clients seeking to build ADU’s. If you need assistance with such a matter, please contact us today.