Granny-flat, mother-in-law-suite, tiny house, laneway house, carriage house- they go by many names. But whatever you want to call them, “Accessory Dwellings” are becoming more and more common in the Charleston area. Accessory Dwellings are typically small habitable structures on the same property as (or attached to) single family homes. There are many types but the most popular is an adorable tiny house that sits in your backyard. Other types include a small apartment over your garage or even a basement apartment, although basements are not typical to our area. No matter the physical form of your Accessory Dwelling, the structure is legally the same property as the main home. This means it cannot be bought or sold separately, like a condominium or a dwelling on wheels could be.
In some cases, homeowners want an Accessory Dwelling for the obvious reason – extra income. You could rent out the space to a young professional, a college student, or even your own adult children that just won’t leave home! Accessory Dwellings could also allow parents to live smaller after their children leave the nest or let an elderly couple live without navigating stairs or maneuvering around a large floor plan.
If you plan on building one that is one story and less than 120 square feet, then you do not need a permit in Charleston County. A zoning permit is required for a structure larger than 120 square feet, and if you are in a residential district, all Accessory Dwellings (besides garages and carports) must be in the rear of the property behind the main home or office. The space of your parcel must also be at least twice the size of the Accessory Dwelling. The Post & Courier recently wrote an article on the rules and regulations of Accessory Dwellings. Make sure you check with your local authorities about specific zoning laws in your neighborhood. For all the details and requirements on Accessory Dwelling Units in Charleston, click here.
Jamme Construction, of Mount Pleasant has erected several Accessory Dwellings in Mount Pleasant. Paul Jamme has been specializing in custom home building in the Lowcountry since 1994 and wants to make sure that the public knows that the construction of an Accessory Dwelling is hard work and a serious construction job. Just because they are small doesn’t mean they are easy! Think about it for a moment. Accessory Dwellings are so small yet so functional. That is mainly because of innovative solutions to things like storage and floor space, which is why you will often see dining tables that fold down from the wall, Murphy beds, and cabinets or drawers under seating. For more information on building an Accessory Dwelling in Charleston, contact Paul Jamme.