On May 1, 2021 the city will start accepting applications for Accessory Dwelling Units(ADU). This ordinance which allows Accessory Dwelling Units to Chicago will finally be available as part of a pilot program instated in 5 pilot areas across Chicago! The ordinance enables homeowners to legally build new coach houses for the first time since they were banned in 1957. Apartment building owners will be allowed to convert attic and basement space into new units. This is great news for you if adding a basement unit, attic unit or coach house is the key to increasing your home value!

The ordinance touches on two types of ADUs, the Coach House, which is a detached dwelling that is normally located at the back of a property, and the Conversion Unit, typically an added unit in a residential building that was built no less than 20 years ago. Conversion Units are mostly seen in the basement or garden unit of a property. Adding additional units to a property is a win for affordable housing across Chicago! 

What are ADUs? 

ADUs are Accessory Dwelling Units, they are a smaller residence with a full kitchen and bathroom, located on the same property of a single-family home. The most common known ADU being the coach house, however, they can also be granny flats or basement and attic units. Coach houses are still seen today at older residencies throughout the city.

The couch house was outlawed in Chicago in 1957 following the second World War because of fear of overcrowding and population growth. ADUs that already existed were able to be “grandfathered” in, but many on the North Side – think Lake View and Lincoln Park – were demolished to make larger single-family homes and mansions.


Today, we are seeing the opposite happen in Chicago. The population growth is going down, and many residents are moving out of the city because the lack of affordability within the housing market. Bringing back ADUs will help with both of those concerns. Adding an Accessory Dwelling Unit can assist property owners by increasing the value of their home, and accumulate rental income. ADUs could also help slow the demolition of aged 2 and 3 flat buildings, which make up a larger portion of the affordable housing in Chicago. Not only will they help property owners, but they will also help alleviate stress that comes with the affordable housing crisis we are currently seeing in Chicago and throughout the nation. Smaller units are cheaper to build, and have a lower price point which is a win-win. 

Interested in learning more? Check out this report from the Urban Land Institute. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us HERE,  we would love to help you know the value of your home after adding an additional unit!