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Apartment Space Above Garage


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By Byron in Lebanon, IN on 8/11/2006


Has anybody toyed with or implemented the idea of adding rentable space above a detached garage as a means of subsidizing mortgage payments? I would imagine that the return from rent would cover the extra cost the space adds to the mortgage with enough to shave a bit off the non-rented portion of the mortgage.

Three years out from building and counting...


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By Karla in Silver Springs, NV on 12/6/2006


We will actually be building a standalone garage with an attached studio apartment. It is not going to be for a rental, but it could be down the road. We chose a single-story design because 1) it gets very icy here in winter, 2) my knees are getting older by the minute, 3) my Mom may eventually inhabit it - her knees are worse than mine, 4) the size of the studio is different than the size of the garage.
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By Paul in New Lenox, IL on 1/17/2007


I did this on my current house. You will need trusses to span the garage ceiling (not joists). Look at Space Joist. Lesson Learned: If you want to be able to heat it efficiently, you MUST spray the underside of the apartment floor with FOAM. Fiberglass batts do not work well in this application because they do not fill the entire void formed by the truss.
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By Ric in North Bend, WA on 2/26/2007


We're planning to do something similar. But in our case, we've taken a garage ADU, and taken it off the garage, and set it on the ground. This gives us an 850 sq/ft "apartment" that will be attached to the house via a covered breezeway. You have to watch your local zoning! We're zoned for one dwelling unit per five acres. So we have to connect it to the main house. The zoning folks said a breezeway will be fine.

Also, since it has a kitchen, the health department is making us put in two septic systems! Yep, have to have one for the main house, and one for the ADU.

In our case, my father will be inhabiting the ADU during his senior years. So we're not facing the rental issue.

I would strongly encourage you to check with our local zoning office and health department. You may or may not be able to do this.


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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 2/26/2007


Installing a second septic doesn't make sense if this is all new construction. I can see where an existing system may not be adequate for the additional load.

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By Ric in North Bend, WA on 2/26/2007


County code says two kitchens, two septic systems.



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