Can I Add In-Law Quarters to My Home?

There are many different options for building in-law quarters. You could create an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) separate from the home. Alternatively, you could renovate the existing basement, garage, or attic to create in-law quarters.

In-law quarters can be an exciting addition to your home, but there are many factors to consider before starting a building project.

Check local laws and ordinances first

While adding in-law quarters sounds like a great idea, your local zoning laws may impose some restrictions. There could be laws in place that prevent homeowners from building an additional unit or require you to meet certain criteria prior to building. Zoning laws may also restrict how big the in-law quarters can be and what features they can have.

You may also find you’re not allowed to rent out the in-law quarter — which could put a dent into your plans to turn it into an Airbnb or other short-term rental.

Regardless of where you live and what you plan for your in-law quarters, homeowners must check local zoning laws and comply with them.

Consider if in-law quarters are right for you

Before you sign a contract with a construction company, consider the following points:

  • How will your neighbors react to construction?
  • What will the maintenance costs be?
  • How will you track separate utility usage?
  • Is the design going to be accessible for elderly parents or family members?
  • Will it increase your home value?
  • Will it increase taxes or home insurance premiums?
  • Do you have the budget to build it?
  • Does putting in in-law quarters fit your long-term plans for the house and family?

These questions can help prepare you for what to expect when building and maintaining your in-law quarters. It could spare you the shock of having an increase in property taxes, for example.

Have a well-written contract

The construction or renovation stage of adding in-law quarters is stressful even when everything goes according to plan. You will have to deal with loud construction noises and may not have access to some areas of your home. While it is inconvenient, things can quickly go awry if plans don’t follow through.

One example is if construction takes longer than expected. While delays can occur, they can cause you to spend more money and time than anticipated. A well-written contract can discuss the terms of this situation. A contract can also help in scenarios involving payment disputes, termination, defective design, and other problems that could occur with construction.

Before starting any building project, you should have a clear understanding of each party’s responsibilities. A contract will protect you, the contractor, and any other third parties. Even a simple home renovation can benefit from a contract.

Otherwise, homeowners could increase their risk of being subjected to construction litigation. Resolving construction disputes through the court process is usually a long and frustrating experience. But a clear contract could make it simpler to resolve any disputes that occur during the construction project.

Need a construction litigation lawyer on your side?

If you’re ready to move forward with adding in-law quarters to your home, consider hiring experienced contract writers on your side. At Henry & Beaver, our team is familiar with construction contracts and how they differ from typical business agreements.

Our goal is to limit the possibility of construction litigation through contract writing and pre-construction counsel. But if a problem arises, our construction litigation attorneys can help you resolve multiple areas like environmental issues, land use questions, and payment disputes.

Schedule a consultation with us by calling 717-274-3644 or filling in our online contact form. We look forward to hearing from you.