“Additional dwelling units,” or ADUs, are almost becoming an option to cut down on the high cost of living.
“We’re sitting on a lot of existing residential land that people can transform into housing,” said Sarah Cipkar, a housing researcher with Family Services Windsor-Essex.
She said there are over 25,000 residential properties in the City Of Windsor eligible for an ADU.
“That means they can essentially house a minimum size additional dwelling unit which in Windsor is 40 meters squared or 431 square feet,” she explained.
Todd Moore sold his house in downtown Windsor, Ont. to build and live in an ADU in the backyard of his parents’ south Windsor home.
“My parents are getting a little bit older in age so I moved to try and take care of them,” said Moore, whose ADU looks like a detached garage. “I decided to sell my house and build a little ADU in the backyard.”
Based on a zoning by-law formula, Moore’s ADU is able to be about 700 square feet or ten per cent of the size of the property — that’s 250 square feet smaller than the downtown home he was living in but it has everything he needs , including a bedroom, bath, kitchen and living room.
“What I made from my house when I sold it more than paid for this,” he said.
Companies like Laneway Housing that specialize in ADU and additions are noticing an increase in demand.
“We’re getting a lot of interest in rental properties,” said Anthony Keirouz, Laneway Homes manager. “People who want to put these up in their backyards and potentially make some extra income on them.”
Some companies, like BK Cornerstone, are building ADUs inside the homes using grade entrances to separate the basement from the rest of the house. That is allowing for multi-generational housing or renting.
“I think they’re just trying to keep the door open for future planning in a lot of cases,” said BK Cornerstone Vice President Brent Klundert, who said the ADU trend has been growing for the past year-and-a-half.
“Went from probably one out of every 10 houses to now probably one out of every three. So considerably more,” he said.
With an aggressive push by the Ford government to build 1.5 million homes in the next ten years, including 13,000 in the City Of Windsor, Cipkar feels ADUs are an important part of the equation.
“If even one per cent, two per cent, 10 per cent, how many people can build a unit that contributes a lot to our housing supply? It really helps meet those provincial targets,” said Cipkar, who is working on an online tool through Family Services, called adusearch.ca, to help educate and inform people interested in ADUs.