With housing costs skyrocketing and an aging population transitioning to living with relatives, homeowners are asking themselves: how do I make this work?

A solution in recent years has been accessory dwelling units (ADUs) – which in Minnesota, took off in popularity in Minneapolis and St. Paul and have trickled into the wider metro area. But what exactly are ADUs? 

What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)?

An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is an independent residential unit located on the same property as a single-family home. Casually, these are also sometimes called “granny flats,” “mother-in-law suites,” or “garden cottages” – but we prefer ADU as it’s the official title and more clear what it can be used for. 

As a completely separate unit from the main living space, ADUs can be used for several purposes. The two most common are a living space for other family members or as a rental space. The key is that they have to be completely livable. They have exploded in popularity recently as more cities allow ADU construction to address housing concerns.

What Makes Something an ADU?

An ADU must contain a bedroom or living space, its own kitchen (with large appliances), and a bathroom. It also must have its own separate and lockable entrance door. 

Metro areas in Minnesota that allow ADUs include:


Apple Valley










Golden Valley



Inver Grove Heights


Long Lake



Mounds View







St. Louis Park

St. Paul



White Bear Lake

Each city has building requirements and regulations for an ADU. You can find your specific city’s requirements in our blog: Are ADUs Allowed in Minnesota?

Types of ADUs

An ADU can come in several forms. The best variation depends on the lot size, primary dwelling unit, intended purpose of ADU, etc. 

  • Detached 
  • Attached
  • Interior (upper level)
  • Interior (lower level or basement) 
  • Above garage
  • Garage conversion

As long as an ADU has its own separate entrance and living spaces with a full kitchen and bathroom, it can be considered a separate dwelling – even if it’s attached to the primary dwelling. 

Titus Contracting and Accessory Dwelling Units 

Considering adding an ADU to your property? There are a lot of factors in play: zoning requirements, building codes, form and function, budget, and timeline. Our expert home remodelers at Titus Contracting are your advocates throughout the entire design and remodeling process. We take pride in our work from start to finish, and at the end of the project, you’ll have your perfect ADU.

Call for a design consultation today at 952-746-7817 or contact us online for a project estimate.

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Interior Designer, Architect, or Contractor: What’s the Difference and Why it Matters

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What types of building projects require an architect?

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Titus Contracting is a full-service remodeling company offering commercial and residential construction. We have an office in Burnsville, Minnesota and work throughout the Twin Cities.