Texas is one of the few states that are embracing the growth and popularity of Accessory Dwelling Units or ADUs.  They were even calling them tiny homes, before getting a more formal name. So ADU’s are allowed in Texas. This is all dependent on several factors and is always managed at a municipal or city level. The key factors that need to be explored are zoning rules and the size of lots. We’re going to cover those key areas and clarify what ADU’s are allowed in Texas. Covering major areas; such as Austin, Houston, and Dallas. Here’s a quick sum up, then we’ll get into more details. ADU’s are permitted and indeed welcomed in Texas. Permits and fees vary in Dallas, Houston, and Austin. Ensure you meet the criteria for available plot size, dwelling type, and purpose. Ensure you can meet utility building and connection fees and gain professional assistance before commencing work. Also, other items to factor in are sufficient parking, height and overall size of the additional structure, and population density. For a comprehensive overview, give us a quick call.

Can I build an ADU in Austin?

The capital of the Lone Star state definitely allows ADUs. They even allow ADUs on some single-family flats, but it all comes down to the zoning area that you’re in. There are also limitations and rules on how you can build and what you can build.  You need to have at least 5750 feet on your plot of land. You can only build a detached unit (not integrated units) in Austin. The ADU must be at least 10 feet away from the main structure, and the cover (usually the roof) cannot cover more than 40% of the land.

What are some expected costs for building an ADU in Austin?

So let’s say that you already got all the permits, and the contractor to develop and build your ADU. Now we can see some general costs. In Austin itself, it is about $150 per square foot of construction with a limit of up to 1100 square feet. This depends on your overall plot size, so it could be lower. This means your budget should be up to $165,000. You will also need to install a new waterline which is around $25,000 and requires an independent contractor to set up the new meter. Finally, there’s the common building permits and paperwork required as well which can vary on home value. If you’re already wondering how you will achieve this, then that’s where we can help. Our designers and project managers can guide you through this entire process.

What about building an ADU in Dallas?

Dallas is slightly stricter than Austin. Regardless, they still offer two very different paths to get the approval to build ADUS. The first option is the Accessory Dwelling Unit Overlay (ADUO) Ordinance that enables entire neighborhoods to gather 50%+ signatures to petition to the City Council and the City Planning Committee. After a review by both departments, and approval is reached, each individual of the neighborhood can then submit the necessary paperwork as needed. The other option is on an individual case-by-case basis, where the individual appears before the Board of Adjustments and makes their case. Ideally, you need to be guided on when and where this will be necessary. Miel Construction has decades of experience in building ADU’s in Houston, Dallas, and Austin. So be sure to get some guidance as early as possible.

What are some costs and regulations?

Firstly, an ADU in Dallas can only be one story high. For the overall size, it needs to be a minimum of 200 square feet, up to a maximum of 700 square feet or 25% of the primary residence (whichever is larger). With certain exceptions, these ADUs need to be built behind the current structure. When it comes to parking, unless the neighborhood agrees, or it is relatively close to public transportation, then additional parking facilities will need to be built. In addition, any separate ADU needs to be built in a similar aesthetic fashion to the main structure. They also are built in a modular type fashion or industrialized housing, where all the components are built off-site and then simply shipped to the location where the new ADU will live. ADUs cannot also be sold separately from the property …and you will need a fully licensed and experienced contractor and all the necessary permits to construct a secondary home, the pricing can range from $20,000 – $150,000 depending on the size. Prices can obviously change, so it’s better to get a free estimate. All this is encompassed within our simple 5 step plan.

What about an ADU in Houston?

Houston is a little interesting and different. Usually, the first question one asks when building an ADU is whether they’re in the right zone. Houston does not have any zoning laws. This is a good thing! This means that ADUs are technically legal …but you just need to check with the subdivision of land and any requirements needed there. This technically means that Houston Texas allows ADUs by right versus anything else. There are some restrictions in denser population areas. This does not mean you can simply start construction tomorrow. First, you need to get an affidavit stating your land deed does not have any restrictions on it. In addition, you will need to have several forms submitted related to energy and water conservation. We will then assist in construction drawings and blueprints ready to be reviewed. Plus, a property survey will be carried out to map out the additional utilities (power lines, water pipes, etc.). This will ascertain any services that will need to be built and extended onto the new property. Once you built your ADU in Houston, the maximum size for this ADU is 900 square feet and the minimum lot size is 3500 square feet. You will also need to have at least one additional parking space. But even that in Houston can vary if the neighborhood decides it’s not needed.

What types of costs are we looking at in Houston?

Associated costs for the Houston area are relative to the cost of building a home in that area and can be cheaper than other cities such as Dallas or Austin. It all depends on the size and the complexity of the ADU. It does not, however, really need to follow the aesthetic nature of the primary structure in most cases. For building and city fees there’s a fee schedule to follow, which is basically based on the overall value of the home that you’re building. Houston, in general, is somewhat more leanient than other cities and counties in Texas. And there are no specialized upfront meter divisions of $25,000 as is such in Austin. The pricing will come down to the contractor you use to build the ADU, the relevant standard building permits, and any required licensing and inspector services required to get approval on your home. Overall, Texas continues to grow more comfortable with the concept of the ADU. As a way to help with the housing situation …and help attract young talent to these cities.

Quick reference guide for Texas

Here’s a quick table outlining the general information for each area on building an ADU.
Austin Dallas Houston
General Cost $165k $165k $165k
Utility Installs $25k
Permits
Overall Difficulty Medium High Low
! Adjust titles, pricing and entries as you wish to provide a summary

More help for ADUs in Texas

We hope this has thoroughly answered the question “are ADU’s allowed in Texas”. If you’re considering an ADU on your property, then it pays to get some professional guidance. Miel construction can guide you on the design, surveys, utilities, and the ADU build itself. So give us a call now and we’ll be more than happy to assist.