Your housing solution is in the back yard
The City of Des Moines dramatically expanded where Accessory Dwelling Units can be built in the city. Now, we're following the construction of a demonstration project in the Oak Park neighborhood.
Watch Two Houses, One Home to see an ADU being built from start to finish
We joined local non-profit HOME, Inc. to follow their construction of an accessory dwelling unit in the Oak Park neighborhood from start to finish. Each episode features an update from the project site as well as an interview with a local housing expert.
Two Houses, One Home is hosted by Kourtney Kirkpatrick of HOME, Inc.
Designing an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in Des Moines, Iowa
We're Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in Des Moines, Iowa!
Check out our new Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in Des Moines, Iowa
A new Accessory Dwelling Unit in Des Moines, Iowa - Just the reveal!
Commonly asked questions about ADUs
What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)?
An ADU is just a smaller home that shares a lot with a larger single family home. An ADU can be in a basement, in a garage, or attached to a house in another way. An ADU can also be a separate building, usually in the back yard.
The City of Des Moines refers to ADUs as Accessory Housing Units (AHUs), but the meaning is the same.
Who are ADUs for?
ADUs provide a flexible housing option that can evolve with families through all phases of life. Homeowners can rent them for additional income. They could be a place for an adult child to live after college. Or for an aging parent to live independently in retirement-the options go on from there.
Can I build an ADU?
ADUs used to be relatively common in historic neighborhoods. But today, in many areas, ADUs are not allowed due to restrictions in local zoning law. Recently Des Moines changed its rules to allow ADUs to be built on a large portion of residential land in the city. This is an exciting change because it gives homeowners new options.
In Des Moines, currently ADUs also qualify for residential tax abatement, an additional benefit for homeowners.
Are ADUs affordable housing?
ADUs can cost between $50,000 and $150,000+ to add to a house, and they may rent at prices that are beyond the reach of people struggling most to afford the place they live. But ADUs do provide a new housing option that matches well with existing neighborhoods where it might otherwise be difficult to build.
Another benefit of ADUs is the land they sit on is already paid for - and they make good use of existing community infrastructure like roads, utilities, parks and more while providing a housing option many neighbors may never even notice.
ADU Community Resources
In 2021, the City of Des Moines dramatically expanded where ADUs are allowed to be constructed, increasing their potential as a housing solution in our community.
Explore changes to the zoning code Des Moines approved to support ADUs
Here's where you can learn more about this housing option: