Berea like many cities across the US is experiencing a change in living styles. One of these changes comes by the way of a detached ADU or an Accessory Dwelling Unit. Detached ADU’s are not a new concept entirely but are a modern adaptation of the “in-laws” quarters or the above garage apartment.

The idea has exploded across this country yet only a handful of cities have taken up on allowing them, and Berea is one of them. Berea is working on updated rules to govern these living spaces with clear guidelines. A quick call to the Berea Codes Office was greeted with kind reception and solid knowledge about the ADU developments.

Currently, there are a couple of detached ADU’s in Berea that are connected to the main structure by a breezeway. This is a convenient way to access both the main house and the extra room, whether it serves as a bedroom, extra sitting room, or a fully functional separate living space. One thing to keep in mind is that your local zoning laws do apply to ADU’s so the concept is more for letting that college-age child have their own space or keeping a parent close by for care without necessarily “moving” them out of their own space. If you are set on being a landlord then you best avoid R1 zoned areas.

There are prefabricated or modular ADU’s available to fit almost any situation and many resemble the tiny homes getting so much attention on TV. Regardless of how the ADU is constructed, it must meet Kentucky’s guidelines for a liveable space. Don’t go out and buy a storage building and think it is going to straight away pass for an extra bedroom.

Another place ADU’s have seen popularity is in the Airbnb market. This use is not quite the same as renting to someone for a permanent residence. It will require a conditional use permit, so it will take a little effort to achieve, but in a tourist-friendly town like Berea you are not blazing a new trail and there are plenty of good folks at City Hall to help you. I am working on another article about the ups and downs of being an Airbnb host, so look for it in the near future.

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a great way to provide extra space without having to build an entirely new house. These units are regulated by the city so it’s important that you check the laws before purchasing one. Keep in mind how you intend to use it can impact what type of ADU you purchase and where it should go on your property. A modular unit may work well if there isn’t enough room in the backyard for something more permanent and prefabricated options could offer very quick living quarters. You’ll want to consult with experts when building or buying these units, but the trend is growing fast.