The phenomenon of tiny homes has swept the nation. With the popular network, HGTV highlighting these small homes, many are choosing to purchase a tiny home. Although this trend seems to be a new concept to many, the concept of small homes has been around for many years. Usually referred to as ADUs (auxiliary dwelling units), granny flats, or in-law suites, these tiny homes are helping people earn extra income.


ADUs were first popular following WWII when there was a high demand for suburban living. Many people converted attic space, garages, and sheds into accommodations to rent out. Restrictions began formulating and eventually many states banned the creation of ADUs. Australia was one of the first countries that allowed homeowners to build such units on their property. Knows as “granny flats” down under, certain American states started to take notice. Portland and Seattle have pioneered this trend and many states will shortly follow.


One of the biggest setbacks those interesting in building ADUs on their property was the high cost of the development and permit fees. In states such as Hawaii, laws have passed which waive these fees and allow homeowners to proceed with the project. Like most states that allow ADUs, Hawaii has a strict set of guidelines for building. Some examples of Hawaii’s regulations include;


  • The homeowner’s land must be zoned in a residential or county district
  • The lot must be at least 3,500 square ft.
  • The lot must not be landlocked and can only contain one single family dwelling
  • The property owner or their family members must reside on the property


In addition to these regulations, homeowners must make sure their land is equipped for this sort of construction project. While a handful of states have legalized ADUs which eliminate the development fees, there are still many areas without such permissions. There are many legal obligations that revolve around ADUs. It is important to be knowledgeable of your state’s regulations before choosing to incorporate an ADU into your life. Adding an ADU to your property is a great investment and for those with the resources, a way to earn more income. Once you’ve confirmed your state’s regulations on ADU, you can be on your way to earning and saving money for the future!