October 19, 2023

Cracking the Code: Atlanta ADU Permitting Process Unveiled

Argi Avetisyan
Argi Avetisyan
Gather ADU expert
Cracking the Code: Atlanta ADU Permitting Process Unveiled
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Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) have become a popular choice for homeowners looking for added flexibility and investment opportunities. But understanding the nuances of the Atlanta ADU permitting process can be tricky. Let's simplify the process for you.

1. Understanding the Basics:

What's an ADU?

An ADU is essentially a smaller living space on your property. While it’s similar to a guest house, ADUs have unique features:

Maximum size: 750 SF.

Allowed full cooking facilities.

Permitted for long-term renters.

Guest houses, on the other hand, can’t have a built-in stove and can't be used for long-term rentals unless for specific roles like a Watchman or Servant.

2. Ownership & Design:

What are the ADU Ownership Requirements?

Can't be sold separately from the main house.

Only two units maximum on a property, including the ADU.

ADUs cannot be used for commercial ventures.

Maximum size of 750 SF.

No direct access road or designated parking necessary.

Can I get a Custom ADU Design?

No. Custom designs aren't available. The focus is on efficiency and budget, offering pre-designed models to streamline the process.

3. Zoning and Placement:

Is My Home Zoned Correctly for an ADU?

In Atlanta, ADUs are permissible on R-5, R-4, and R-4A-zoned lots. The overall zoning has specific requirements:

Height limit: 20’-0”

Rear yard coverage: 25%

Lot coverage: 55% (or 65% for lots smaller than 7,500 SF)

ADUs should respect side and rear setbacks of 4’-0”.

Not sure about these terms? It's recommended to seek professional assistance to ensure your property meets these criteria.

4. Financial Aspects:

Cost and Return on Investment:

Financing: Home equity loans are about 5.0%-6.5%. Monthly payments for a one-bedroom ADU are roughly $650-$850, while a two-bedroom unit ranges from $800-$1,000.

Rental Income: Workforce housing targets suggest a rent of around $1,200/month for a one-bedroom ADU and $1,300/month for a two-bedroom ADU. Remember, market rents can be higher.

What about Airbnb?

Airbnb can provide substantial income, especially near MARTA. However, running an Airbnb demands more involvement than a regular apartment. ADUs can easily transition between short-term and long-term rentals.

Value Addition & Taxes:

ADUs can increase a property’s total appraised value by approximately 25%.

Taxes might increase due to the added square footage.

5. Miscellaneous FAQs:

Appliances: An ADU comes equipped with a hot water heater, HVAC, plumbing and lighting fixtures, and a garbage disposal.

Warranty: A one-year builder's warranty is provided.

Insurance: Extend your home insurance to cover the ADU and advise renters to get renters insurance.

Lease Terms: No specific lease term limits for ADUs. Online research or web-based property management companies can guide you in setting lease terms.

Potential Challenges: If your backyard is lower than the street, you might need to address stormwater management and sanitary sewer adjustments. An expert evaluation can provide clarity.

Conclusion on Atlanta ADU Permitting Process:

Adding an ADU to your property in Atlanta offers a multitude of benefits. However, it’s vital to navigate the process with awareness of the regulations and guidelines. Ensure you consult with professionals when in doubt and make the most of this unique property opportunity.

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Not sure where to start with your ADU project?


Not sure where to start with your ADU project?

Book a free call