Over the last few years, cities and states have come to the realization that accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are a positive idea, due to their ability to increase housing stock without drastically altering the neighborhoods that surround them. In a recent Washington Post article, journalist Haisten Willis says many cities have eased or are looking to ease regulations for these units, including Evanston, Illinois; Greenfield, Massachusetts; Maplewood and Princeton, New Jersey; Edmonds, Washington; and Missoula, Montana.

Also studying the concept are Chicago, which is allowing ADUs under a pilot program, and Alexandria, Va. Perhaps most notably, California and Oregon have passed statewide legislation making ADUs easier to build, which is reflected in recent statistics.

In California, legislative changes helped pave the way for an 11-fold increase in ADU permits between 2016 and 2019 — just 1,269 permits were issued in 2016, which increased to 14,702 in 2019. Los Angeles alone issued 15 ADU permits in 2013, 80 in 2016, then 2,342 in 2017 and 6,747 in 2019.

The numbers could prove to be even higher in 2020 thanks to another round of new California laws aimed at further promoting ADU construction.

Read More