Accessory Dwelling Unit laws in Florida


The Sunshine State is a draw for many new residents every year. Some arriving would of course be interested in knowing the laws around accessory dwelling units. Below is an overview of ADU laws in a few populous areas in Florida including:

  • Orlando
  • Clay County
  • Miramar

Orlando

Below is an overview of some ADU rules and requirements from the code of ordinances that belong to the city:

1.

  • In the O-1 and O-2 zoning districts, only one accessory dwelling unit is permitted on any single family residential building site or an on-site office site, providing it meets the minimum development standards for area shown in the table below.

2.

  • In the R-2A zoning district, a maximum of two units (a duplex or tandem development) are allowed per Building Site. Accessory Dwelling Units are prohibited on any building site in the R-2A zoning district where there is an existing duplex or tandem dwelling, or in connection with any new duplex or tandem dwelling development.

3.

  • In the R-2B zoning district, multifamily development (to include ADUs) is permitted if in compliance with Part 3H of Chapter 58 of the codes of ordinances.

There are many more rules and specifics around ADU laws in Orlando. The entirety of these rules can be found in the full code here.

Clay County

Accessory Dwelling Units are allowed in Clay County with certain requirements. Please see below an extract from the county’s website that list the specifics relating to ADUs: 

(1) ADUs are allowed only on parcels conforming to the zoning and land use requirements of Clay County. ADUs are not permitted on lots created through the Heirs or Homestead provisions or on lots containing a Mobile Home for Medical Hardship or a Dwelling Unit with Kitchen Addition as defined in the Conditional Uses section of this Code. 

(2) Not more than one ADU shall be permitted for each single family dwelling in the zoning districts where allowed. The ADU may be in the form of a separate and detached unit or as an apartment over a garage. In either case, the ADU shall be subordinate to the principal building as to location, height, square footage and building coverage. 

(3) An ADU shall not be permitted before construction of the principal building has commenced or a lawful principal use is established.

 (4) ADUs are permitted only if the owner occupies the primary residence and only if the primary residence is homesteaded. The ADU cannot be sold separately from the primary residence. 

(5) The establishment of a new ADU shall only be allowed if the lot area of the principal building is at least 15,000 square feet. A lot containing an ADU shall not be subdivided to separate the ADU from the principal use. 

(6) The design of the ADU shall be uniform in appearance to the primary residence. The floor area shall be no less than 375 square feet and no greater than 40 percent of the primary building’s gross floor area or 1000 square feet, whichever is less. Maximum lot coverage for all buildings may not exceed 35%.’

It needs to be stated that if you are interested in learning more about ADU laws in a specific city in Clay County then contact that city directly as their laws my be different to the above.

Miramar

Tiny homes and ADUs are discussed in Section 402 and 405.1 in Miramar’s Land Development Code:  LDC Ch. 4 Zoning. Below is an extract relating to these categories of property:

‘Accessory dwelling units, sometimes referred to as guest quarters or “mother-in-law suites”, may be attached or detached from the principal single-family dwelling unit and shall be considered an accessory use to such dwelling unit and are subject to the following standards:

■ May not be rented separately from the principal dwelling unit:

■ May be utilized by family members, guests and/or persons employed on site by the resident family of the principal dwelling;

■ The owner(s) of the parcel shall file a binding lot agreement with a covenant recorded at the property owner’s expense in the public records of Broward County, in a form approved by the city attorney, affirming and consenting that the primary dwelling unit shall be owner-occupied and the ADU or guest quarters shall not be rented;

■ Impact fees shall be assessed for the additional water and sewer capacity and additional park and recreation fees that are created by the additional sleeping rooms;

■ Must share utilities with the primary residence and separate utility meters are not permitted;

■ Shall be smaller in area than the principal home or dwelling structure on the property, may be a tiny home, and in no case greater than 750 square feet;

■ Shall be located in the rear yard of the property;

■ Shall be subject to the same front and side setbacks as the principal structure and have a minimum 10-foot wide setback from the rear property line;

■ Shall be lower in height than the principal structure and in no case greater than two (2) stories;

■ May have up to two (2) sleeping rooms (i.e. bedrooms);

■ May include one kitchen and one bathroom;

■ Shall be architecturally compatible with the house and may not become a non-conforming building or structure;

■ A manufactured home constructed pursuant to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development standards or a mobile home may be used as an ADU; however, it must become architecturally compatible with the existing home;’

Conclusion on Florida ADU laws

Localities throughout Florida have different laws revolving around accessory dwelling units. In Orlando for example, in the O-1 and O-2 zoning districts, only one accessory dwelling unit is permitted on any single family residential building site or an on-site office site.

To find out more about ADU laws in areas that weren’t mentioned above, make sure to contact the relevant city or county government in question directly.

***
This article is written for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

Sources

  • City of Orlando, Code of Ordinances § 58.501. (2020)
  • Claycountygov.com, Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Requirements (2020)
  • City of Miramar, Land Development Code § 405. (2020)

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