Myths About ADUs Part II: Debunked

Myths About ADUs Part II: Debunked

Myths About ADUs Part II

There aren’t that many people who oppose ADUs in their neighborhoods. However, the small percentage that does is really loud about it. Because of that, we’ve heard many a confession from clients interested in building ADUs in California who were worried that their community might not accept their latest project.

There are two different reasons why people fear their accessory dwelling units might be a sore spot for other people. First of all, they are scared that building an ADU will anger their neighbors. After all, it means bringing more people into the neighborhood and potentially crowding the place. 

Furthermore, they are worried about their HOA impeding their project. 

The great news is that, according to new laws, your local HOA can’t forbid you from building attached or detached ADUs on your property. These state laws came as a response to the prevalent housing shortage that’s been a massive issue in California for years. Given that ADUs are a great solution to the lack of affordable housing (among other benefits they offer), Californian laws are changing in favor of these tiny homes that can turn your single-family home or property into a multi-family one. 

So, now that you got the HOA off your back, all you have to do is convince your neighbors that what they know about ADUs isn’t precisely accurate. At the end of the day, it’s the myths about ADUs circulating in the communities that are responsible for people not being open to more ADU building in their neighborhoods. So, let’s debunk some of them together.

debunking myths about adus

Debunking More Myths About ADUs

Not that long ago, we discussed the most common myths about ADUs. To give you a quick recap, we talked about how:

  • ADU laws and regulations are changing in favor of homeowners.
  • Granny flats can solve the housing crisis by providing more housing options that are affordable and situated in job-rich areas.
  • The overcrowding that everyone is going on and on about has already happened. The growing demand for housing has to be resolved somehow, and ADUs are the best, cost-effective way to do it.
  • ADUs are affordable, but that doesn’t make them gimmicks. These tiny houses are fully functional.

You might be surprised to hear there are other myths about ADUs. If you’re looking to get a few more square feet on your Los Angeles or Bay area property, you’ve probably heard most of them. 

People who oppose ADUs usually worry about them being turned into short-term rentals and party houses. However, the reality is that most people build ADUs to house family members, friends, or long-term tenants. 

As we already discussed, people who oppose ADUs usually worry about school overcrowding and traffic issues in the areas where people are building ADUs. However, ADU beneficiaries are typically adult children, two-people families who need affordable housing in areas where job growth has outpaced the housing market, or people looking to age in place. So overburdening the infrastructure isn’t as big of an issue as the naysayers make it out to be. 

Myth #5: They Will Create Excess Noise and Lighting Problems

Out of all the myths about ADUs, this one actually makes the most sense. It’s not that far-fetched that an extra house on each lot (no matter how small it may be) will make the entire neighborhood more noisy and crowded. It’s also not that unreasonable to think it will cause more lighting issues.

Building ADUs won’t make the neighborhood any bigger than it already is. It will, however, increase the community. Even if ADUs house only one or two people, there will be two more people per lot that make extra noise. Not to mention, those ADUs have to have their lighting (indoor and outdoor), which might disturb the neighboring houses.

So, does that mean that ADUs will definitely increase noise and light pollution? No, it doesn’t.

The Truth: There’s Zero Evidence to Support This

There’s no evidence that ADUs increase noise and lighting in neighborhoods. However, even if they did, the California noise ordinances would be an easy fix. Laws that are already in place regulate both lighting and noise in Californian neighborhoods. 

Myth #6: ADUs Will Create More Traffic in the Area (and Parking Issues)

So, ADUs do bring more people to the neighborhood. More people means that the current infrastructure will be more burdened. The public transit will be overcrowded, as will the local schools, hospitals, roads, etc.

While this theory has some merit (simply in terms of numbers), it’s still far from reality. The Californian government didn’t just approve of ADU building willy-nilly. 

According to McKinsey & Co., the housing supply is so unable to meet the demand that the market is on the verge of crumbling. By the mid-2020s, Californians will need to have built at least 3.5 million new homes to meet the rising demand. ADUs are the potential solution to this never-before-seen housing crisis, which is why there are new laws in place that allow people to build them easily and without much hassle (you can even get your permit in 60 days or less).

However, with new ADU laws, like the Assembly Bills 68 and 881, came new ADU ordinances that deal with potential issues and myths we’re discussing today.

The Truth: Impact Fees Deal With This and Ensure There’s No Draining of Community Resources

Each resident of a neighborhood pays taxes for their property. That means they pay taxes for their single-family home and the land it’s on. These taxes fund the local infrastructure (they help build and maintain roads, fund public transit, keep the school system running, etc.).

People who build ADUs on their properties pay more taxes than people who don’t have them. It’s really as simple as that. That means that ADUs (and the extra people who live in them) can’t drain community resources (given that they are contributing to them). What’s more, those people also shop in local shops, fill in regional job roles, and contribute to the community in many other ways. 

adu myths debunked

Myth #7: No One Will Want to Rent Them Long-Term

ADUs are closer to other houses than single-family homes are. Because people build them in their backyards, ADUs are in the proximity of both the primary residence and the neighboring houses on both sides. 

Depending on the size of the lot, that means that people living in ADUs might not have as much privacy as they would have if they were living in a single-family home.

Not to mention, they are small. That’s why some people believe no one aside from short-term renters would be willing to rent out an ADU.

The Truth: ADUs Can;t Be Short-Term Rentals 

You can’t rent out your ADU for less than 30 days. So you don’t have to worry about those ADUs your neighbors are building becoming AirBnbs.

Furthermore, ADUs were always either long-term rentals or a housing solution for family members or friends. That hasn’t changed with the latest boom in ADU building. People are still building ADUs to house those they want closes to them.

debunking myths about adus part two

Myth #8: ADUs are Basically Just Extra Bedrooms

Many people believe that ADUs are just additional bedrooms. They are great because they give you extra space, but that’s it, right? If you rent them out or let a family member live there, you’d still have someone in your space because you’d have to let them use your kitchen and bathroom amenities, right?


The Truth: They Are Fully Functional Houses

ADUs do give you extra space (and they are cost-effective), which is one of the many benefits they offer. However, by definition, that space is fully functional. What’s more, it’s also completely separate from the main property. 

Even if the ADU is attached or internal, it still offers privacy for everyone involved. It has a separate entrance and its own bathroom and kitchen. In theory, with a bit of planning, even if you’re renting your ADU to a complete stranger, they won’t disrupt your life in any way.

adus myths

Cedar — Professional ADU Builders and Mythbusters on the Side

Unfortunately, there are many myths about ADUs that still need to be debunked. Some people believe ADUs will increase crime in their neighborhoods, generate more garbage, increase pollution, create heat islands, etc. 

Luckily, Cedar is here to tell you the truth. ADUs not only help neighborhoods deal with the housing crisis, but they are also environmentally friendly. What’s more, there’s no evidence that building more ADUs will increase crime levels or the generation of garbage. 

All in all, ADUs seem to be a close-to-perfect solution for the crisis that California is currently in. And if you’d like to have one of your very own backyard cottages, all you have to do is book a free consultation with us. Our turn-key solutions might be exactly what you’ve been dreaming of, so make sure to check them out!