More homeowners are renovating their dwellings and including a second unit, which they can rent out or use for their aging parents. These in-law suites, granny flats, sidekicks, or backyard cottages can help Baby Boomers generate rental income to help them pay their mortgages and keep their homes, and they also can provide shelter to adult children who are seeking employment. Many local governments are passing measures to facilitate the addition of second units, recognizing that they can simultaneously promote smart growth and expand the supply of affordable housing. Laws allowing these accessory dwelling units have been passed in Santa Cruz and other cities in California, Seattle, Virginia’s Arlington and Fairfax counties, and Denver, among others. The laws typically restrict the size of these units, require off-street parking, and mandate that the homeowners live in the main dwelling. Homeowners often create these units by converting attics, garages, basements, or other unused spaces, but some are building additions or detached cottages. Experts say homeowners must be willing to give up some space and privacy, and they must abide by fair housing laws when renting to strangers. | Read More