Explainers ADUs Explained

What’s an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

The cost of housing has skyrocketed across the United States. As a response, some states and localities have legalized accessory dwelling units in hopes of expanding the supply of affordable housing. But what are ADUs?

This article is part of the Under the Lens series

ADUs Explained

This series covers major policy considerations in legalizing accessory dwelling units, how they get built and financed, and the role they can play in our affordable housing landscape.

The cost of housing has skyrocketed across the United States. As a response, some states and localities have legalized accessory dwelling units in hopes of expanding the supply of affordable housing. But what are ADUs? Watch this explainer video to learn more.


This video is part of ADUs Explained, an Under the Lens series.

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Other Articles in this Series

ADUs Explained

  • Affordable ADUs: How It’s Being Done

    May 10, 2022

    In the face of limited financing options, local governments, nonprofits, and social enterprises are experimenting with ways to make affordable ADUs a reality.

  • How Financing Barriers Keep ADUs Expensive

    May 9, 2022

    Most homeowners have neither the capital nor the credit to self-finance an ADU or get a loan to build one. If financing doesn’t change, ADUs will stay niche and expensive.

  • ADUs: Laws and Uses, Do’s and Don’ts

    May 3, 2022

    As ADUs gain national attention, cities are searching for the best ways to legalize their development and encourage construction.