Many cities have liberalized their zoning laws in recent years to allow people who live in single-family homes to add a second home on their property. They can do this by creating a basement apartment, building an “add-on” apartment to the house, or even constructing a separate cottage in the backyard.
Cities are responding to requests from homeowners, many of whom are middle-aged couples whose children can’t afford to find their own apartment and want to live with them. Other owners want a nearby space to take care of aging parents who can no longer live on their own, or simply want to rent space to bring in extra income.
Laws have changed recently in Seattle; Vancouver; Salt Lake City; Silicon Valley; Missoula, Montana; and many other places.
Of course, these changes can be controversial, since nearby homeowners may worry that their neighborhoods will become more crowded and experience problems with noise and traffic.