Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are a flexible, neighborhood-scale solution to regional housing needs. Whether it’s a basement apartment or a room above a garage, an ADU is a smaller, self-contained residential unit with its own living room, kitchen, and bathroom on the same lot as the primary house.

ADUs provide affordable options in the private market and represent gentle, or “hidden” density as a form of small-scale infill housing. They can generate rental income for property owners or provide multi-generational living options. ADUs have the potential to be a cost-effective way to meet a substantial portion of the Twin Cities region’s future housing needs.

Select from the tabs below to learn more.

Read the Twin Cities ADU Guidebook for Homeowners

  • Download a printer-friendly version of the entire Guidebook here
  • Download and print Worksheet: Research (pp. 30-31 of the Guidebook) to help you get started on a project
  • Download and print Worksheet: Graph Paper (p. 33 of the Guidebook) to help you sketch your ideas
  • Download overview of Twin Cities municipal ADU policies

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Download our policy brief ADUs: Housing Options for a Growing Region

Download overview of Twin Cities municipal ADU policies

Links to other resources that may be of interest:


  • Peterson, Kol. 2018. Backdoor Revolution: The Definitive Guide to ADU Development. Accessory Dwelling Strategies, LLC.


  • Accessory Dwellings: “A one-stop source about accessory dwelling units, multigenerational homes, laneway houses, ADUs, granny flats, in-law units…”
  • Building an ADU: “THE site for those interested in planning, designing, and building accessory dwelling units (aka ADUs).”
  • American Planning Association KnowledgeBase – Accessory Dwelling Units: “This collection catalogs resources that provide background, policy guidance, and examples of local plan recommendations and zoning standards for accessory dwelling units from across the country.”

Other Guidebooks