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Paper – Micro-Units and Accessory Dwelling Units

Housing Changing Households: Regulatory Challenges for Micro-Units and Accessory Dwelling Units, John Infranca, Suffolk University Law School; Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, October 10, 2013. Stanford Law & Policy Review, 2014, Forthcoming

“The existing stock of affordable rental housing falls significantly short of the need in many areas of the country. In addition, available housing frequently does not match the specific needs of prospective tenants, which have changed as household sizes shrink, more people are living alone, and people are living longer. This misalignment has been exacerbated by regulatory environments that have not kept pace with evolving housing demands. Likely as a result, cities throughout the country have seen an increase in illegal housing units – units that do not conform to zoning or building codes and may not provide safe living environments. In response to these and other concerns, a number of jurisdictions have altered regulations to permit the development of more compact rental housing units, including both accessory dwelling units and micro-units. Developers have also shown significant interest in both kinds of units.  Prior studies of these unit types concentrate on a single jurisdiction or a small number of neighboring jurisdictions and discuss accessory units, but not micro-units – which raise distinct regulatory issues. No comprehensive study has examined the feasibility of developing both types of compact housing units in a range of jurisdictions.”

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