Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), Granny Flats, and In-Law Suites are all types of secondary living spaces on residential properties, but they differ in several key ways:

  1. ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit):
    • Legal Terminology: ADU is a legal term used to describe a self-contained residential unit that can be legally added to a property. They are also known as “secondary suites.”
    • Independence: ADUs are fully independent living spaces with their own entrance, kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping areas. They are often used for rental income, guest accommodations, or as a private residence for family members.
    • Zoning Regulations: ADUs must adhere to specific zoning and building regulations, which vary by location. They can be attached to the primary residence, detached in a separate structure, or converted from an existing space like a garage or basement.
    • Flexibility: ADUs offer flexibility in terms of usage, making them suitable for a wide range of purposes, including rental properties, home offices, or housing aging parents.
  2. Granny Flat:
    • Informal Term: “Granny flat” is an informal term often used to describe a self-contained living space on a residential property. It’s typically associated with accommodations for elderly family members, although it can be used for other purposes as well.
    • Usage: Granny flats are versatile and can serve as a space for aging parents, guests, or even as a rental unit. They may not always have a full kitchen but often include bedroom and living areas with a bathroom.
    • Varied Designs: Granny flats can come in various designs, including detached cottages, additions to the primary residence, or conversions of existing spaces like a garage.
  3. In-Law Suite:
    • Specific Usage: An in-law suite is typically designed with the primary purpose of accommodating aging parents or family members. It’s often part of the primary residence.
    • Location: In-law suites are usually integrated into the main house, such as a basement or an addition with a separate entrance. They may include a bedroom, bathroom, and a small kitchenette.
    • Accessibility: They are often designed for accessibility, with features like grab bars, wider doorways, and easy access to the main living areas.

In summary, while ADUs, Granny Flats, and In-Law Suites all provide additional living spaces, the key differences lie in their legal definitions, levels of independence, zoning regulations, and primary purposes. ADUs are a legal category that can encompass various uses, including Granny Flats and In-Law Suites, which are often informal terms used to describe specific types of secondary living spaces.