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Breaking down Boston’s ADU Program

Here’s what you need to know about the Additional Dwelling Unit program and how to apply.

An aeriel shot of the Charlestown neighborhood at sunset.

Any of these homes in Charlestown could qualify to apply for an attic conversion, basement conversion, or a carve out unit.

Photo by @oschapov

Are you familiar with ADUs? These expandable housing options have been a hot topic around our city lately. Let’s have a quick lesson about what these are and how you might add one to your home.

What is an ADU?
The Additional Dwelling Unit — aka an ADU — is a self-contained residential unit, located within an existing building. These “hidden gems” can provide additional income for homeowners + a flexible, separate living space for families to age in place, or support children.

These spaces must meet specific building code and design requirements:

  • Designs must be a full unit, including a bathroom and kitchen.
  • There must be two forms of egress, or two exits.
  • The water and electricity shutoff valves have to be accessible to all units.
  • Plan for compliant ceiling height, specifically for basement and attic units.

Did you know you can apply with the City of Boston for loans for ADUs?

The Additional Dwelling Unit Program allows owner occupants in the City of Boston to carve out a new space within their homes. They can create smaller, independent units, known as Additional Dwelling Units (ADUs) once the design has been approved. For those who qualify, we offer loans to build approved ADU designs.

Do you qualify for the city’s ADU Program?

Good news — if you own and live in a one-, two-, or three-family home within the city of Boston you’re already ahead of the game. You must plan to build the ADU in the same home, and if your home is in a FEMA Flood Zone, there are special considerations as well.

Learn more + check out the application.