What is the investment cost to the homeowner?

$0, zip, zilch, nothing. Normally, homeowners use their own cash, or have to rely on the equity of their home to build an ADU on their property. They also need to hire an architect and a contractor, deal with city permits and manage the property and rent collection.  Unless you decide to buy out the lease and improvements, you have no cash obligation to us…ever. You rent us your raw garage and we turn it into something special and share the rental income with you.

What is my share of the Rent?

It depends on two things; the length of time we are leasing your garage and the rent we can collect in your neighborhood.  For our standard fifteen year lease, United Dwelling sets aside $800 of the rent collected each month to pay our financing costs.  An additional 20% of the rent is retained by United Dwelling for operations and maintenance.  The remainder is paid to the homeowner and depending on the rent we collect would be as follows:


Monthly Rent








Homeowner Share









How long is the lease?

We lease your garage for either 12, 15 or 25 years.  Once it is leased, we make the investment to convert it and insure, manage and maintain it.  During this period, we pay you a portion of the rent we collect.  You may terminate the lease and buy out the improvements at any time for $79,900.  This is comparable to what it would have cost you to convert the garage yourself into a permitted ADU. More information is available in the lease summary.

Can my home support an ADU?

The California Legislature passed a series of laws, effectively eliminating the red tape associated with building Additional Dwelling Units (ADUs) in the backyards of existing single family homes. ADUs are supported by HUD, the Urban Land Institute, and Sustainability offices in all 50 states. Whether we convert your existing garage or build a new structure in your backyard, your neighborhood and its zoning should not affect the feasibility of building an ADU.

Why don't I do it myself and keep all of the rent money?

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What DOES United Dwelling DO?

We are responsible for the design, retaining of a contractor for construction, permitting, financing and property management of your ADU.

Does United Dwelling own the ADU?

No, you own the ADU, we just rent the property from you. We own the improvements in the garage and you have the right to buy out the lease and improvements if you change your mind at any time. We have a simple buyout agreement where the initial price is about 30% less than it would have been to build the ADU yourself and will decline overtime.  At the end of the term, the homeowner will own the unit outright. 

How will my insurance be affected?

You should notify the insurance company that there is a tenant living in the ADU on your property.  They may increase your annual premium by $20-$35 to cover the liability.

Who pays for utilities?

Any improvements required to access the utilities or upgrade service will be paid by the United Dwelling. The ADU utilities will either be separately metered and billed to United Dwelling by the utility or will be submetered and and reimbursed by United Dwelling to the Homeowner.

What happens if I don’t like the tenant?

The tenant rental agreement is six months and then month to month.  Under certain most circumstances, you may request that United Dwelling remove the tenant.

What Amenities does a United Dwelling ADU have?

United Dwelling’s ADU’s are self-contained living spaces with the look and feel of a home, cleverly scaled down to the size of a two-car garage. The design of its studio living space includes a kitchen with full-size appliances, a comfortable bathroom, a washer/dryer unit and a private entrance. New, high-quality windows and doors are used in the construction of each unit to maximize sustainability.

What about pets?

The tenant will not be allowed to keep any pets unless both you and we agree. Service animals are permitted.

Where will the tenant park?

You have no obligation to provide parking for the tenant.  They can legally park on the street. Every ADU we construct will be within half a mile of public transit, so many tenants won’t have a need for a car.