April 18, 2024

ADU Laws and Regulations in Orlando - 2024

Steadily's blog cover page for information around landlord insurance.

Introduction to ADU Laws in Orlando

In Orlando, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are a significant aspect of urban planning, offering homeowners the ability to effectively utilize their property. An ADU is a secondary housing unit that resides on the same grounds as a main, single-family residence. These units provide a unique opportunity for property owners to support a growing need for housing within the city’s limits.

Orlando's zoning regulations are pivotal to the establishment and use of ADUs. Zoning laws determine the eligibility of a property to house an ADU, which can be an attached or detached extension of the existing residential structure. Homeowners interested in adding an ADU to their property must navigate these regulations to ensure compliance with local codes.

ADUs, or Accessory Dwelling Units, come in three main types: Attached ADUs, which are connected to the main house by at least one shared wall; Detached ADUs, standalone units independent from the main home; and Garage Conversion ADUs, which are created by transforming an existing garage into a separate living space. These classifications offer flexibility for homeowners looking to add extra living quarters to their property, each with its own advantages and considerations in terms of space usage and integration with the main dwelling.

The City of Orlando stipulates specific requirements for the creation of an ADU, encompassing aspects such as size, design, and placement. Homeowners are tasked with ensuring their projects align with these requirements prior to development. Moreover, a clear understanding of steps for approval is essential, starting from contacting the City Planning Division to the eventual acquisition of necessary permits.

To simplify the process for homeowners, Orlando provides resources that include guidelines for aging in place with ADUs and steps for approval, aiming to make the journey towards adding an ADU as accessible and understandable as possible.

For those considering the addition of an accessory dwelling unit, familiarity with Orlando’s laws and regulations is indispensable for lawful and trouble-free project execution.

Eligibility and Zoning Requirements in Orlando

Orlando's laws specify that eligibility for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) is tightly linked to zoning requirements and lot size. Property owners must carefully assess these criteria to determine if their property can legally support an ADU.

Determining Property Eligibility

To determine if a property is eligible for an ADU, owners must first evaluate their lot size and ensure that it meets the minimum requirements. The City of Orlando allows one ADU per lot, with size restrictions varying between 500 sq. ft. and a maximum of 1,000 sq. ft. of building space. These constraints are designed to maintain the character and density of neighborhoods. For specific property eligibility, it is advisable to consult the official ADU fact sheet.

Understanding Zoning Districts

Orlando's zoning laws permit ADUs in various residential and mixed-use zoning districts. These include all R (Residential), MXD (Mixed Residential-Office), O-1 (Office Low Intensity), and O-2 (Office Medium Intensity) districts. However, properties within these zones must still comply with zoning requirements related to minimum lot size and other site-specific regulations. For properties within a Planned Development (PD), additional guidelines may apply based on the planning approvals for the area. The city's Planning & Zoning Approvals page can provide further guidance on zoning categories and ADU implementation.

Permitting and Development Standards in Orlando

When constructing Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in Orlando, adherence to specific permitting processes and development standards is mandatory. The City of Orlando prescribes a structured permit application process, requires compliance with the Florida Building Code for building permits, and strictly enforces its developmental regulations.

Permit Application Process

The City of Orlando requires individuals seeking to build an ADU to first confirm eligibility with the City Planning Division. The subsequent step involves submitting a permit application detailing the proposed ADU project.

  • Step 1: Contacting the City Planning Division.
  • Step 2: Submission of the completed application.

The government oversees this permitting process to ensure orderly development without compromising community standards or safety.

Building Permits and Florida Building Code

Acquiring a building permit is a key aspect of the compliance process. All ADUs must meet the Florida Building Code, which encompasses construction standards for safety, energy efficiency, and structural integrity.

  • ADU plans: Must be reviewed and approved for adherence to building codes.
  • Inspections: Occur at various construction stages to maintain code compliance.

The enforcement of these codes signifies the government's objective to maintain high building standards for all residential structures.

Development Regulations and Standards

Orlando's development standards are encapsulated within the city's code, which addresses zoning requirements and land use parameters. ADUs must conform to the following:

  • Zoning requirements
  • Conditional Use Permit
  • Size, height, and setback regulations

These regulations, available through the Municode Library, are designed to integrate ADUs seamlessly into the existing urban landscape. Compliance with this city code is essential for obtaining approval at each stage of the ADU development process.

Design and Construction Considerations in Orlando

When constructing an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in Orlando, attention to detail in design and construction is critical. The regulations specify particular requirements concerning floor plans, construction documents, and the physical appearance of the unit, which blend with the existing neighborhood aesthetic.

Floor Plans and Square Footage

The allowed square footage for ADUs generally depends on the zoning district and the size of the primary residence. Orlando’s guidelines mandate that an ADU must be either smaller than the primary dwelling or within a specified size range whether a homeowner is creating an attached ADU, converting a garage, or building a detached unit. Understanding these restrictions early on is pivotal in the planning of floor plans.

Design Professional and Construction Plans

Securing the services of a design professional is essential to navigate the complexities of drafting construction plans that are both compliant with local regulations and customized to homeowner needs. They ensure that the ADU meets safety standards, local codes, and maximizes functionality within the allowed space. For instance, according to the information provided by the City of Orlando, it is a step in the process to work with a design professional to draft the unit's design.

Aesthetic and Landscaping Standards

The external appearance of the ADU should complement the primary residence and adhere to established landscaping standards. Orlando requires that ADUs maintain a consistent architectural style, including similar construction materials and color schemes. Landscaping presents an opportunity to further integrate the ADU with its surroundings, using native plants and thoughtful design to create a cohesive look.

ADU Types and Their Specific Regulations in Orlando

In Orlando, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) face specific local regulations, shaped by their type and structure. These rules address zoning, size, and use to ensure compatibility with community standards.

Detached and Attached ADU

Detached ADUs are independent structures separate from the primary residence. They can take various forms, such as a converted garage or a newly constructed unit. In Orlando, these units must meet specific zoning requirements and are often subject to size and setback limitations to preserve neighborhood character. It is also required for the property owner to provide a site plan demonstrating the ADU's location relative to the main dwelling.

Attached ADUs, such as granny flats or in-law suites, are built as extensions to the existing property, whether by conversion of existing space like a basement or by adding on. These units must follow the building code guidelines for the primary residence and may have restrictions on separate entrances and utilities to maintain the single-family home appearance.

Multifamily and Secondary Units

Multifamily properties might incorporate ADUs as secondary units, often to boost density while providing affordable housing options. Rules for these ADUs ensure they are a complementary part of the multifamily complex, with considerations for parking, privacy, and unit number in relation to the size of the primary property.

Secondary units can serve as additional living spaces within a single-family home. They are regulated to make sure they do not alter the property's single-family nature in the community, and they often require a separate permit process to ensure adherence to fire safety and health codes.

Manufactured Homes and Tiny Houses

Manufactured homes designated as ADUs need to comply with both state regulations and local zoning. While they offer an affordable and flexible housing solution, they must also meet specific installation standards and may be restricted in certain residential zones.

Tiny houses have grown in popularity as an eco-friendly and minimalist living option. However, their classification as ADUs in Orlando depends on adhering to building codes, which include minimum size requirements and potentially permanent foundations, depending on whether they are intended as movable or fixed structures.

Parking and Utility Requirements in Orlando

In Orlando, regulations for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) include specific criteria for parking spaces and utility connections. These standards ensure that ADUs contribute to the neighborhood's infrastructure without overburdening it.

Parking Space Designation

Each ADU in Orlando must provide at least one (1) off-street parking space. This space should be situated behind the front and street side yard setbacks. The city also permits a reduction in required parking spaces: up to 10% administratively or up to 40% by City Council, based on certain criteria. For further information on parking space requirements, navigate here.

Utility Connections and Services

When it comes to utilities, each ADU must have proper connections for water, sewer, and electrical services. These connections should be in compliance with the city's building regulations and utilities requirements to ensure safety and functionality. It is essential for homeowners to ensure their ADU's meet the city's impervious surface limits and other factors related to utilities.

Operational Rules and Occupancy in Orlando

Operational rules and occupancy for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in Orlando are enacted to ensure responsible usage, adherence to local zoning standards, and property availability to residents rather than short-term visitors. These regulations specifically address the rental agreements, the number of occupants, and the necessity for owner occupancy to maintain the integrity of residential neighborhoods.

Rental Regulations

Rental Income: ADUs provide a source of rental income for property owners, but it's critical to comply with city zoning and tax regulations. Rental agreements must conform to Orlando's standards, which dictate the terms under which an ADU can be leased.

Long-Term Rentals: The City of Orlando encourages ADUs to be rented out for long-term occupancy to support local housing availability. Information on how Orlando defines long-term rental agreements could be crucial for property owners to ensure compliance.

Occupancy and Owner-Occupancy Requirements

  • Occupancy Requirements: ADUs are subject to occupancy guidelines that restrict the number of residents based on unit size and lot characteristics to prevent overcrowding.
  • Owner-Occupancy Requirements: Orlando's ADU policies stipulate that either the primary or accessory unit must be occupied by the owner, which aims to maintain neighborhood stability and compliance with local codes. Property owners should verify the specific owner-occupancy requirements to ensure their ADU is legally rentable.

Long-Term Rentals

Long-Term Tenancy: To prevent transient occupancy and maintain community coherence, Orlando mandates that ADUs are rented out for periods longer than 30 days. This ensures that ADUs contribute to long-term housing stock and do not operate as short-term vacation rentals.

Benefits and Impacts on Property Owners in Orlando

In the context of Orlando's growing housing market, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) represent a significant shift in both the utilization of property and the approach to housing. They offer property owners the potential for additional rental income, while also affecting property value, marketability, and contributing to sustainable and affordable housing options.

Additional Rental Income

For property owners, constructing an ADU on their lot can translate into a steady source of income. By renting out the ADU, homeowners can capitalize on their existing land and offset mortgage payments or other living expenses. The City of Orlando highlights the need for both the main house and the ADU to be owned by the same entity, ensuring a simplified rental management process.

Property Value and Marketability

Property value may increase with the addition of an ADU, as potential buyers often see the value in having a secondary rental unit. The inclusion of an ADU can also enhance the property’s marketability; homes with these additional dwellings tend to attract a broader pool of buyers. Notably, properties must comply with the Tandem Single Family Development, ensuring lot split suitability if the owner decides to sell.

Sustainability and Affordable Housing Options

The integration of ADUs also plays a pivotal role in promoting sustainability. They are a means to densify neighborhoods without altering their character, reducing urban sprawl. ADUs contribute to the creation of affordable housing options within the city, as they typically provide lower rental rates compared to standard housing units. This form of development supports the city's affordable housing initiatives, making efficient use of urban land and existing infrastructure.

Legal Considerations and Compliance in Orlando

Before embarking on an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) project in Orlando, it is crucial to understand local regulations, contractor obligations, and Florida ADU legalities. Failing to comply with the law can lead to substantial fines and project delays.

Understanding Local ADU Rules

Orlando's approach to ADUs includes specific requirements pertaining to the size, location, and appearance of these units. One must ensure their design falls within the guidelines outlined by the City of Orlando, which may include setbacks, maximum heights, and occupancy restrictions. It's important to review these guidelines carefully as they dictate the feasibility of an ADU on one's property.

Contractor and Developer Responsibilities

Contractors and developers have the duty to adhere to the established local building codes and permit processes. They must confirm that all construction activities for an ADU in Orlando meet the regulatory standards, which includes obtaining the necessary permits before initiating any work. This ensures that the executed project matches the approved plans and remains compliant with safety, health, and zoning requirements.

Legalities of ADUs in Florida

ADUs in Florida are defined under statute 163.31771, classified as secondary living spaces with their own essential amenities. Florida law mandates that ADUs have a kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area to be considered self-sufficient living units. For broader legal understanding and regulations in relation to ADUs within the state, such as rental restrictions or property taxes, one can refer to resources such as the Florida Housing Coalition. This information is crucial for homeowners and developers to ensure that their ADU projects align with state-wide legal expectations.

Challenges and Community Response in Orlando

In Orlando, the integration of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) confronts both the preferences of neighborhoods for preserving character and the pressure to increase density in response to the housing crisis. The community's response to these challenges shapes the city's approach toward ADU implementation.

Addressing Neighborhood Character and Density

Communities in Orlando are concerned with how ADUs might change the neighborhood character. There's a balance to strike between adding affordable housing and keeping the aesthetics and ambiance of a community. To address these concerns, city planners must assess the potential impact of increased density on services like parking, traffic, and infrastructure. Some residents fear that additional units could compromise the prestige and quiet enjoyment of their neighborhood, leading to resistance against the proliferation of ADUs.

Challenges in Historic Districts

Historic districts in Orlando face a unique set of challenges regarding ADUs. Any modifications or new constructions within these districts must comply with strict preservation standards to maintain the area's historical integrity. Consequently, homeowners and developers often encounter stringent regulations that can impede the development of ADUs. While ADUs could be pivotal in alleviating the housing crisis, the mandate to safeguard the historical narrative and aesthetics of these zones requires a sensitive, tailor-made approach to integrating modern living solutions.

Planning and Project Management in Orlando

Proper planning and engagement with professional services are pivotal in developing an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in Orlando. A detailed site plan and comprehensive survey lay the groundwork, while selecting a knowledgeable developer or contractor is instrumental during project execution.

Site Plan and Survey Requirements

Before construction or renovation begins, a property owner must ensure their site plan is thorough and complies with local zoning laws. The site plan must include the layout of the existing primary dwelling, proposed ADU location, dimensions, and distances from property lines. A current survey conducted by a certified surveyor is required to establish property boundaries and topographical data, facilitating the customization of the ADU to the site's unique specifications. This information is critical; a mistake here can result in permit denials or costly corrections down the line.

Working with a Developer or Contractor

Choosing the right developer or contractor is crucial for the success of an ADU project. The contractor should not only be licensed and insured but also familiar with Orlando's specific ADU regulations. They should assist with customization, optimizing the design to suit both the homeowner's needs and site constraints while adhering to zoning requirements. Property owners are encouraged to procure multiple quotes and check references to ensure they select a professional who can bring their ADU project to fruition efficiently and effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section addresses common inquiries regarding the rules and regulations for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in Orlando, providing clear and concise information to assist homeowners and builders.

What are the zoning requirements for constructing an ADU in Orlando?

Zoning regulations for ADUs in Orlando stipulate that the property must be zoned for residential use. Specific lot and placement standards apply, including setbacks and site layout, to ensure compliance with city planning objectives.

How does the size and design of an ADU need to comply with Orlando's codes?

Orlando's codes require that the design and size of an ADU conform to existing residential architecture, ensuring that these structures are complementary to the neighborhood aesthetic. There are established maximum size limits and design guidelines that builders must follow.

What permits are required to build an accessory dwelling unit in Orlando?

Building an ADU in Orlando necessitates obtaining the appropriate permits, which include building, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical permits. These are required to ensure safety standards are met and may require a plan review process by the city's Permitting Services.

Are there specific areas within Orange County that restrict the building of ADUs?

Certain areas within Orange County may have restrictions on ADUs due to local zoning regulations. Homeowners should consult with Orange County Zoning divisions for specific rules that may affect ADU construction in their area.

What is the maximum allowed size for an ADU in Orlando?

In Orlando, the ADUs are subject to size limitations based on the total lot size, with the maximum size generally capped to ensure they remain secondary to the primary dwelling.

Can I convert an existing structure into an ADU in Orlando, and what regulations apply?

Existing structures in Orlando may be converted into ADUs if they meet all building codes and regulations applicable to new construction. These include meeting egress requirements and adhering to the same zoning, size, and design standards as newly built ADUs.

This post is for informational purposes only and does not serve as legal, financial, or tax advice. Consult your own legal, financial, or tax advisor for matters mentioned here. The information on this site is general in nature. Any description of coverage is necessarily simplified. Whether a particular loss is covered depends on the specific facts and the provisions, exclusions and limits of the actual policy. Nothing on this site alters the terms or conditions of any of our policies. You should read the policy for a complete description of coverage. Coverage options, limits, discounts, deductibles and other features are subject to individuals meeting our underwriting criteria and state availability. Not all features available in all states. Discounts may not apply to all coverages. Steadily is not liable for any actions taken based on this information. If you believe any of this information may be inaccurate please contact us.

Download your free resource

Table of Contents

Get coverage in minutes

One of America's best-rated landlord insurance services. No hidden cancellation fees. Competitive rates nationwide.

Get a quote
Get Appointed

Delight your clients with one of America's best-rated landlord insurance services nationwide.

Apply Today

Video Library

View all videos

Other Resources

Get coverage in minutes

No hidden cancellation fees. Competitive rates nationwide.

    Thank you! Your submission has been received!
    Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

    Get Appointed

    Become a Steadily appointed agent and start selling one of America's best-rated landlord insurance services.