Backyard Cottages Help Neighborhoods

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A recent US Today article discusses how Seattle and some other US cities have been encouraging  residents to construct rent-able cottages in their backyards as an experiment in creating affordable housing without impacting neighborhood character. Limited to lots with 4,000 sf or more, the cottages can only be built at owner-occupied homes and can be no more than 800 sf under the Seattle provisions. The cottages have the possibility of addressing some of the following issues:
  • Creates affordable housing within already established areas, many with access to public transportation
  • Allows aging relatives or adult children to live independently but with support nearby
  • Provides income for homeowners, which can be particularly helpful for those with mortgage troubles
  • Helps protect fringe areas from suburban sprawl by increasing density within established neighborhoods
  • Increase property values
Early homes in Florida often had backyard cottages that served as rental units or to house servants, making the backyard cottage a perfect idea within historic neighborhoods. Unfortunately, many areas are not zoned to allow a legal second residence anymore. Establishing ordinances like Seattle’s would go a long way toward helping Florida residents with the issues listed above.
My first home purchase was a 1923 Mission style bungalow with a backyard cottage. The $300 a month rent that it brought in put a nice dent in my $800 a month mortgage, allowing me to afford to renovate the long-neglected house. As a young single woman, it also gave me a sense of security having someone else live on site. This made a me a fan of the backyard cottage long before establishing Historic Shed. If you would like to explore the possibility of placing a cottage in your backyard, call us at 813-333-2249.
Posted on May 27, 2010 6:45 pm