Cedar Rapids ADUs

Posted on 11/30/22

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a fully self-contained home with its own kitchen, bathroom(s) and sleeping area on the same lot as the main house. ADUs are commonly known by many other names, including granny flats, in-law units, alley flats, coach houses, and casitas. They’re a great match for smaller households and can be created through basement or garage conversions, additions, or new construction of back yard ‘tiny homes.’ Cedar Rapids allows them in residential zones and requires that they fit in well with the surrounding neighborhood. 

ADUs are flexible, adaptable and can benefit Cedar Rapids residents in multiple ways.

Across the U.S. and in Canada, ADUs are taking off as a popular new/old housing type. Some reasons for this emerging trend include:

  • Income stream and property value. ADUs could generate cash flow and may increase the resale value of the property. Where allowed, ADUs may make good short-term rentals since the homeowner must live on-site.
  • Match housing needs at any age. ADUs could offer empty nesters and seniors the chance to “age in place” in the community they know and love, multi-generational families a way to live close by but not share a kitchen, and individuals and couples an entry-level housing choice.
  • Affordable housing. ADUs help keep housing costs down for both owners and renters. They could generate rental income to help homeowners cover mortgage payments, and may allow them to stay in their homes. Since ADUs are required to be small relative to primary dwellings, they are typically more affordable than other homes in the same neighborhood.  
  • Versatility. Needs change over time, and the uses of ADUs can (and often do) flex for different stages of life. Although they typically provide long-term housing, ADUs can also serve as home offices, caregiver or nanny housing, art studios, short-term rentals, and lodging for visiting friends or relatives.

Visit this City of Cedar Rapids website to learn more about the requirements and process for pursuing an ADU in Cedar Rapids.

This story is provided by AARP Iowa. Visit the AARP Iowa page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

More from AARP in Des Moines

Upcoming AARP Events

View All AARP Events »


Find information about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in your state. CDC information is available at cdc.gov/coronavirus; additional AARP information and resources are at aarp.org/coronavirus. En español, visite aarp.org/elcoronavirus.

AARP Member Card

Join or Renew Today

JOIN FOR JUST $16 A YEAR

  • Immediate access to your member benefits
  • Discounts on travel and everyday savings
  • Subscription to the award-winning AARP The Magazine
  • An ally on the issues that matter most to you in Des Moines
  • Free membership for your spouse or partner
JOIN NOW