How Does Owning An Adu Affect Property Taxes?

How Does Owning An Adu Affect Property Taxes?

Are you curious about the financial implications of adding an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) to your property? Many homeowners are embracing ADUs as an intelligent investment, but it’s crucial to understand how these additions can impact your property taxes. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the nuances of ADUs and property taxation, which could affect your bottom line. 

Whether you’re considering building an ADU or already have one, understanding its effect on your property taxes is essential for making informed decisions about your real estate investment.

What is an ADU?

An Accessory Dwelling Unit, or ADU, is a secondary housing unit located on the same lot as a primary residence. These units come in various forms:

  • Attached ADUs: Extensions or conversions connected to the main house
  • Detached ADUs: Standalone structures separate from the primary dwelling
  • Converted ADUs: Existing spaces (like garages or basements) transformed into living quarters

ADUs have gained traction due to their versatility. They offer solutions for multi-generational living, rental income opportunities, and increased property value.

How does owning an ADU affect property taxes?

Property Taxes

Before exploring how ADUs affect property taxes, it’s crucial to grasp the basics of property taxation. Property taxes are typically calculated by multiplying a property’s assessed value by the local tax rate. 

Local government assessors determine the value based on property size and location, building characteristics and conditions, recent sales of comparable properties, and regional real estate market trends.

Property taxes are vital in funding local government services, including public schools, infrastructure maintenance and development, emergency services, and parks and recreation facilities.

Given their importance, any changes to your property that might affect its value – such as adding an ADU, can affect your property tax bill.

How Does Owning An Adu Affect Property Taxes?

Direct Impact of ADUs on Property Taxes

Adding an ADU to your property can affect your property taxes in several ways:

Increased Assessed Property Value

The most immediate impact of building an ADU is an increase in your property’s assessed value. This occurs because ADUs add square footage to your property, improve its functionality, and generate income if used as a rental unit.

Higher Property Tax Bills

Due to the increased assessed value, homeowners can expect to see a rise in their property tax bills. The extent of this increase depends on the size and quality of the ADU, local property tax rates, and any applicable exemptions or special assessments.

Variations in Tax Laws and Assessment Methods

It’s important to note that the impact on property taxes can vary significantly based on local regulations. Some jurisdictions may assess ADUs separately from the main property, have specific tax rates for properties with ADUs, or offer tax incentives to encourage ADU development.

Factors Influencing ADU-Related Property Tax Changes

Several factors can influence how much your property taxes might change after adding an ADU:

  • Increased Property Value: Adding an ADU boosts your property’s overall value. This increase often leads to higher property taxes, as taxes are usually based on the assessed value of your property.
  • Reassessment: When you build an ADU, your local tax assessor may reassess your entire property. This reassessment could result in a new, higher tax bill reflecting the added value of the ADU.
  • Location Matters: Your location can have a wide-ranging effect on property taxes. Some areas have specific ADU tax policies, while others treat them like any other home addition.
  • Tax Incentives: Some regions offer tax incentives or breaks for ADU construction, mainly if the unit is used for affordable housing. These incentives can help offset potential tax increases.
  • Separate vs. Attached ADUs: The tax impact may vary depending on whether your ADU is a 
  • separate structure or attached to your main house. Detached ADUs might be assessed differently than attached ones.
  • Rental Income Consideration: If you rent out your ADU, the rental income might affect your overall tax situation, though this is separate from property taxes.
  • Gradual Increases: In some areas, tax increases due to ADUs are phased in gradually rather than applied all at once, easing the financial burden on homeowners.
  • Homestead Exemptions: Check if your area’s homestead exemptions apply to properties with ADUs, as these can provide some tax relief.
  • Size Matters: The size of your ADU can influence its impact on property taxes. Larger ADUs generally add more value and could lead to higher tax increases.
  • Professional Consultation: It’s wise to consult with a local tax professional or county assessor’s office for specific information about how an ADU might affect your property taxes.
Owning An Adu

Tax Benefits and Exemptions

While ADUs can lead to higher property taxes, there may also be potential benefits and exemptions to consider. Many states offer homestead exemptions that reduce property taxes on primary residences. These exemptions sometimes extend to properties with ADUs, potentially offset some of the tax increases.

Some local governments offer tax incentives to encourage ADU construction, mainly if the units are used for affordable housing. These include property tax abatements, reduced permit fees, and expedited approval processes.

If you use your ADU as a rental property, you can claim depreciation on your income taxes, which helps offset increased property taxes.

Long-Term Financial Considerations

When considering the property tax implications of an ADU, it’s essential to take a long-term view. If you plan to rent out your ADU, the potential rental income may more than cover the increase in property taxes. Consider local rental market rates, occupancy rates, and ongoing maintenance costs.

While property taxes may increase, an ADU can significantly improve your property’s overall value. This can be beneficial when refinancing your mortgage or selling your property in the future.

Owning An Adu


Owning an ADU can indeed affect your property taxes, typically increasing them due to the added value to your property. However, the exact impact depends on various factors, including local tax laws, the type and size of the ADU, and potential tax benefits or exemptions.

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