If you want to have a private space for an elderly family member, a place for guests to stay or an additional source of income, an in-law apartment might be the solution. It could give you flexibility and possibly a way to earn some extra money, but it could also create challenges.
What is an In-Law Apartment?
An in-law apartment is a private space that usually serves as a home for an elderly individual or couple. It can be an area within a house, a converted garage or a separate building on the same property as the main house. It may be a full apartment or may simply consist of a bedroom and bathroom.
Possible Benefits of an In-Law Apartment
If you have an elderly relative who needs help with household tasks, or if you don’t feel comfortable having them live alone because of safety concerns, an in-law apartment could allow your loved one to live close to the rest of the family. You and other relatives could provide assistance as necessary and you all could still have some privacy. Many families consider that a better option than having an elderly relative move into a nursing home.
If you have young kids and you work full-time, your parents could help take care of them. That could allow grandparents and grandchildren to bond and could help you avoid the high cost of childcare. If you wanted to hire a live-in nanny, a separate apartment could provide privacy, but the caregiver would still be nearby to help when needed.
If you have a child who is in college, an in-law apartment could give him or her a private space to stay during breaks. At other times, it could be a place to house guests. Having a separate space for adult children or guests to stay could make things less stressful for everyone, especially during extended visits.
You could find a tenant and rent out an in-law apartment. That could be a way to generate a consistent stream of extra income to help your family manage bills.
Building an in-law apartment could raise your property value. It might help you attract a buyer if you decided to sell your home in the future.
Think about how an in-law apartment could affect your family dynamics. Being so close might seem ideal in theory, but it could be irritating or could lead to frequent conflicts if relatives had different expectations about privacy and boundaries.
Before you decide to rent out an in-law apartment, ask yourself if you would be up to the challenge of being a landlord. Screening potential tenants, collecting rent, handling maintenance and repairs, and resolving disputes could be difficult.
Seek Help From a Qualified Professional
If you decide to create an in-law apartment, find a local contractor who has experience with those types of renovations. Adhere to local zoning laws and obtain all necessary permits so you won’t have to halt work or pay a fine.