What is an ADU in Hawaii? An ADU, or accessory dwelling unit, is a permitted way of making dreams for home expansion possible in Hawaii. An ADU is another place to live or “dwelling unit” on a single-family lot. It includes a full kitchen with an oven, a bathroom, a sleeping area, and at least one parking stall. ADUs were introduced in Honolulu in 2015 as one possible solution to the Hawaii housing shortage. In other places, ADUs are called in-law apartments or granny flats.
Types of ADUs in Hawaii There are three main categories of ADUs in Hawaii: Interior ADU, Attached ADU, and Detached ADU.
Interior ADUs are inside the main home and often are built from converted spaces, like enclosing a lanai or a garage or reworking one floor of a home.
Attached ADUs are connected to the main home but are completely new buildings.
Detached ADUs is a separate standalone structure. Many people will build a brand-new home on the same lot as an ADU in Hawaii, or sometimes homeowners can convert large sheds to be ADUs.
What is an Ohana unit? Not to be confused with an ADU, an Ohana Unit is also a permitted second home on a single-family lot. Like the name says, they are typically for family members desiring a space for their parents, children, aunties, uncles, or other multi-generational family members.
The main difference between an ADU and an Ohana unit is that Ohana units can only have a “wet bar,” or an eating area with a sink, refrigerator, and stovetop – not a full oven. They also can only be rented to a family member, which is agreed upon through the signing of a restricted covenant agreement. Ohana units were first introduced to Oahu around in the late 1980s, and many single-family Hawaii homes are set up for multi-generational living – some legally permitted while some are not.
Benefits of Building an ADU in Hawaii There are many benefits to building an ADU in Hawaii, including the following:
Rental Income: Earn extra income by renting out your ADU. This income could subsidize your monthly mortgage payment. Note that ADUs must be rented out for six months or more and cannot legally be used as vacation rentals or an Airbnb – unless you gain a separate conditional use permit.
Neighborhood diversity: If you rent, you might enable some people to live in your neighborhood that otherwise would not. Having a variety of income levels and people from diverse backgrounds can create a richer neighborhood ‘ohana.
Appreciation: Building an ADU adds value to your property. Speak with your real estate agent about the possible appreciation that your property could accumulate if you build an ADU.
Infrastructure: ADUs utilize existing infrastructure, like water, electricity, and waste management systems, thus avoiding the costs of creating and expanding utilities into undeveloped areas.
Keeping country county: Building additions in single-family home neighborhoods assists in preventing more undeveloped areas from being used.
Building an ADU in Hawaii is a great way to maximize your lot and make your dreams of home expansion come true. Whether you’re looking to build a new home, convert a large shed, or simply add an extra living space to your existing home, an ADU is a cost-effective and permitted way to do so. With the right lot and building design, you can build an ADU in Hawaii and enjoy all the benefits it has to offer. So, if you’re thinking about building an ADU in Hawaii, be sure to do your research and consult with professionals to ensure that your project meets all the necessary requirements and to make your dream of a bigger home a reality.