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Unlocking New Possibilities: Maine's New ADU Law and What It Means for Homeowners

Updated: May 20

As the landscape of housing evolves, Maine's recent legislation on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) opens up a new world of opportunities for homeowners and prospective buyers. At Canbury Homes, we're excited about the potential this brings to residents of our Southern Maine community and beyond. This new law makes it easier for homeowners to add ADUs to their properties, which can be used for a variety of purposes including housing for relatives, rental income, or simply more living space.


Cottage style Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)
Example of an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

What is an ADU?


First things first, let's clarify what exactly an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is. Essentially, an Accessory Dwelling Unit is a secondary housing unit on the same property as your main home. ADUs can be attached to an existing home or built as a freestanding structure. They're complete with their own entrances, living areas, kitchens, and bathrooms.


Why the New ADU Law Matters


Now, let's delve into the specifics of Maine's new ADU law. The new legislation authorizes one or more dwelling units on single-family zoned lots, more lenient rules for the construction and placement of ADUs, and gives municipalities discretion over sizing and setbacks. This new ADU law in Maine represents a shift towards more flexible and inclusive housing policies. This legislation aims to streamline the process of building and permitting ADUs, making it easier for homeowners to add these versatile units to their properties. The law removes certain regulatory barriers and empowers homeowners with more autonomy over their living spaces. By allowing homeowners to construct ADUs more freely, the state is addressing critical issues such as housing shortages and the need for affordable rental options. This law is particularly beneficial in areas with high housing costs, offering homeowners the opportunity to provide housing for additional family members, generate rental income, or simply expand their living space.

 

Opportunities for Homeowners


So now that you have a better understanding of what an ADU is, what opportunities does this new law unlock? For homeowners, ADUs are a versatile solution to many needs:


Family Needs

Whether it's aging parents, adult children, or extended family members, ADUs offer a practical and affordable housing solution by creating a separate living space for keeping families close without sacrificing privacy or independence.


Rental Income

With an ADU, homeowners can capitalize on the booming rental market in Maine. Whether you're looking to supplement your mortgage payments or bolster your retirement fund, renting out an ADU can provide a steady stream of passive income, which can be especially helpful in today's economic climate.


Property Value

Adding an ADU can increase the overall value of your property, making it a wise investment for the future. The amount of equity an ADU adds to a property varies depending on several factors such as location, size, and quality of construction. On average, an ADU can add anywhere from 10% to 25% to a property's overall value.


Flexibility

With the option to use the space as needed, homeowners can adapt their ADU for home offices, studios, or guest houses. In today's remote work environment, having a dedicated home office is more important than ever. An ADU can serve as the perfect solution for remote work, creative pursuits, or hobbies, allowing homeowners to separate their professional and personal lives.



Common Questions About ADUs


What are the basic requirements and regulations for building an ADU in Maine?

Maine's new law has streamlined the process, but local ordinances will still play a key role in specific requirements like size, placement, and design. Maine ADU laws mandate that each lot with a single-family dwelling must be allowed to have at least one accessory dwelling unit. This is part of a strategy to increase residential density and address the affordable housing shortage while maintaining zoning standards. Our building experts at Canbury Homes can consult with you on the specific local regulations and ordinances in your area.


How much does it cost to build an ADU?

The cost can vary widely depending on size, location, and finishes. Come speak with one of our new home experts At Canbury Homes to discuss our cost-effective and time-efficient modular solutions.


Can I build an ADU on any residential property?

Most residential properties will qualify for an ADU under the new law, but there are exceptions based on zoning and land use regulations.


How long does it take to build an ADU?

With our modular construction process, timeframes can be significantly reduced. Typically, an ADU can be completed in a few months, compared to traditional construction methods.


What are Maine's ADU zoning requirements for single-family lots?

Maine's zoning ordinances require municipalities to permit at least one ADU on lots designated for single-family homes. Additional ADUs may be allowed under specific municipal regulations. In January of 2024, proposed zoning changes were presented and approved by the Sanford City Council in response to passage of LD2003 by state legislature.


Can you build an ADU on a nonconforming lot in Maine?

Yes, an ADU can be constructed on a nonconforming lot as long as the addition of the ADU does not increase the degree of nonconformity with current zoning specifications.


Do homeowners need to provide additional parking when building an ADU in Maine?

No, Maine ADU regulations do not require homeowners to provide supplementary parking beyond what is already required for the single-family unit when constructing an ADU.


Will ADUs built without a permit be approved under the new Maine ADU regulations?

Yes, existing ADUs built without prior municipal consent may be retrospectively approved if they meet the current Maine ADU standards.


What are the compliance requirements for water and wastewater services for ADUs in Maine?

Owners must demonstrate that their ADU has adequate water and wastewater services, with connections approved by local inspectors, and meet all state regulations before occupancy is allowed.


What deadlines have been set for municipalities to comply with Maine's new ADU statutes?

Town Council governed municipalities must comply with the new ADU statutes by January 1, 2024, while those under Town Meeting governance have until July 1, 2024, to align with the regulations.

 


Partnering with Canbury Homes for Your ADU Project

At Canbury Homes, we specialize in modular construction, which offers efficiency, affordability, and flexibility. Our team of building experts is ready to help you navigate the new ADU regulations and see your project from conception through to completion. Whether you're looking to expand your living space, accommodate family, or tap into rental income, Canbury Homes is here to make your ADU project a success. We invite you to contact us to discuss how an ADU can benefit you and explore the possibilities that Maine's new housing legislation offers. Let's build something great together!

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