Many Seattle area homeowners, owing more than their properties are worth, are seeking to increase the value of their property with the construction of backyard cottages. These “detached accessory dwelling units” or DADUs, allow homeowners an opportunity to supplement their income or create a guest cottage for visiting friends and family.
The “detached accessory dwelling units” were not always legal. In 2006, the City Council created a pilot program in southeast Seattle. Its popularity led the Council to expand the program in 2009 to the entire city.
Backyard cottages are not for everyone, or for every property. In addition to aesthetic considerations, there are legal restrictions as well. A prospective lot must be at least 4,000 square feet and the cottage can be no larger than 800 square feet. Perhaps most importantly, the property owner must live in either the main house or the cottage.
There are many other rules. If you are interested in having a backyard cottage built on your property, you might start your research with the City of Seattle Guide to Building Backyard Cottages.