02/08/2019 by Deb Federico
New Hampshire Accessory Dwelling Option
The combination of increased housing prices and interest rates are making it extremely hard to afford to buy your own home. Some buyers are priced out of the market and forced to remain renting with rental prices increasing with demand. According to New Hampshire Association of Realtors "New Hampshire’s housing inventory is at its lowest level in decades. Such low inventory has contributed to the highest median sale prices and rents on record". Recent legislation is being introduced to offer incentives for builders to build more affordable homes, but while the government debates on how best to resolve this issue, what are some of the options we have now? Here in New Hampshire we have updated our laws pertaining to accessory dwelling units or ADU’s and it may provide some alternatives for the growing housing need.
Under New Hampshire law an "accessory dwelling unit" is defined as a residential living unit that is within or attached to a single-family dwelling, and that provides independent living facilities for one or more persons including provisions for sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation on the same parcel of land as the principal dwelling unit it accompanies. This law requires municipalities to allow options for internal or attached accessory dwelling units in all zoning districts where single-family dwellings are permitted.
This could provide one solution to some affordable housing issues. In Denver Colorado lower income homeowners are being given the opportunity to add these dwellings to their properties to create another source of income. An idea that will help to relieve some housing shortages and improve the overall standard of living for both the homeowner and renter as these rentals are required to be below the average rental prices. A great opportunity for both.
What does that mean for New Hampshire residents? With the new guidelines, towns are required to allow the construction of these units in all zoning districts that permit single-family dwellings without requiring the "renter" to be family. A homeowner would need to make sure there is sufficient parking available, and adequate provisions for water supply and sewage disposal, but the opportunity to provide an income producing property could help with housing shortages and help raise the standard of living for homeowners. All towns have their own requirements that should work within the states guidelines. You would need to check with the planning and zoning departments in your own town.
If you decide to add an ADU to your home, hire a contractor that is familiar with building them. Experienced contractors can help you make sense of the restrictions, application and permit process. Need the name of a contractor? Check with your local Realtor. We can even help you rent the unit when it’s complete.