TitleAccessory apartments: Are they a realistic alternative for ageing in place?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsChapman, NJ, Howe, DA
JournalHousing Studies
Type of ArticleJournal Article

The accessory apartment in North America-defined as the addition of a small, separate living unit within a detached single-family house-has been advocated as a housing alternative allowing older people to 'age in place'. Based on a survey of owners of accessory units built in Seattle, Washington State, that were developed since legalisation in 1994 and a literature review, this research explores the extent to which accessory apartments are benefiting the elderly. Although only 14 per cent of the owners and 11 per cent of the tenants in Seattle were over 65, there is evidence that such apartments serve a higher proportion of older persons over time. Forty-three per cent of the apartments were perceived to be accessible to people with disabilities. Advocates of older adults are advised to target middle-aged and young-old to encourage the development of accessory apartments. Age restrictions within zoning ordinances may be counterproductive by prohibiting their development by owners who have the energy and resources to undertake such a task.

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