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By: Kevin Ahern on March 30th, 2017

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Pros and Cons of Having an In-Law Apartment

Residential Remodeling

An in-law apartment is a residence located on the premises of a larger residence, often (but not always) for the purposes of housing parents and other aging relatives. Some in-law apartments are located in the garage, above the garage or in a separate structure. Often in-law apartments are located in the main residence of the property, sometimes in the attic or in a wing that is built onto the original home.

In-law apartments may consist of a small kitchen area and bathroom as well as living room and bedroom, though some in-law apartments consist only of a bedroom and bathroom. The size and extent of the accommodations depend on the needs of the occupants as well as the zoning laws for the area.

Litchfield Builders adds in-law apartments to homes in New Haven and the surrounding community. Our extensive experience building residential additions and safe, senior-friendly in-law apartments makes us the go-to contractor for in-law apartment construction.  


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In-Law Apartment Goals

There are many reasons that homeowners may choose build on an in-law apartment. 

In-Law Apartments for In-Laws

  • In-home help for older people. People lose some ability to safely manage homeownership and self care as they age. In-law apartments allow older members of the family to live with younger members of the family for the purposes of getting help. 

  • Accommodations after a divorce. In the event that an older couple becomes separated, one parent may need a place to stay after the divorce. In-law apartments provide safe accommodations for an older person who may not elsewhere to go. 

  • Proximity to grandchildren. Sometimes parents move in with their adult children to help raise their grandchildren. Having an extra hand around the house can help younger working adults to manage all the responsibilities of parenthood, homeownership and a full-time job. In addition, being close to the grandchildren gives older adults an opportunity to get closer to their grandchildren.

Apartments for Other Purposes

Not all in-law apartments are for in-laws. Some homeowners have other goals when creating an in-law apartment.

  • Rented space. In-law apartments allow homeowners to rent out part of their property.

  • A place for older children. In-law apartments are a practical home for college-age children who need a place to stay while in school. They're ideal because they give college-aged children space from their parents while still giving them a safe place to live.

  • Guest house. In-law apartments make a convenient place for visitors who come to spend the night. For homeowners who enjoy entertaining, in-law apartments can be very helpful.

  • Live-in nanny or caregiver. Homeowners with a live-in nanny or caregiver may find in-law apartments to be especially helpful, because they give the caregiver somewhere to stay that is close by but still private.

Benefits of Having an In-Law Apartment

Many homeowners find that having an in-law apartment is advantageous. Some of the greatest benefits of having a separate apartment on the premises includes:

  • Extra cash flow. Renting an in-law apartment can help a household manage the expenses of maintaining a large property. 

  • Ability to comfortably house guests. Having guests in the house can be stressful, especially when all available beds and bedrooms are already taken by the occupants in the house. Having a space to put company when they come to visit can make hosting guests more enjoyable.

  • Childcare. Many working adults with young children find it difficult to find affordable childcare for their little ones. In-law apartments for older relatives who have agreed to watch young children in the home can solve problems for parents who need a safe and reliable babysitter.

  • Increased property value. Demand for in-law apartments can be high. Constructing an in-law apartment can increase the value of a home by many thousands of dollars. 

  • More space. Apartments give homeowners more space to store extra items or spend time apart from the rest of the family. 

  • Improved quality of life for older parents. Many seniors would prefer to live with their children rather than move into a nursing home, so in-law apartments offer improved quality of life for older parents.  

Disadvantages of In-Law Apartments

Even though in-law apartments have many benefits, there are also some disadvantages of having an in-law apartment on your property.

  • Homeowners become landlords. Being a landlord takes a lot of work. For some homeowners, performing repairs and maintenance can become burdensome.

  • Finding a good tenant can be tough. For homeowners who wish to rent their property to a tenant outside the family, finding someone who is reliable, conscientious and responsible can be tough. 

  • Company will come to visit if it sits empty. In-law apartments that sit empty are an excellent crash pad for friends and family who come to visit. For people who like seclusion and privacy, an in-law apartment can become a source of anxiety, with guests coming to stay on a regular basis. 

  • Living together can be tough. Living with an older adult in the apartment can be a challenge for people who like their space. This can take some adjustment for people who are not used to seeing members of their family on a regular basis. 

  • Family situations can change. Homeowners who use their in-law apartments for tenants outside the family could find at some point that they need their space for an older family member, a child out of college or someone else who needs to stay in the space. Getting tenants out of the space can be tough and uncomfortable for everyone.

Contact Litchfield Builders for an In-Law Apartment

As a homeowner, there are many reasons why you might want to build an in-law apartment on your property. In-law apartments provide homeowners with:

  • Space.
  • Flexibility. 
  • Extra income.
  • Childcare.

Do you have an in-law apartment on your property? Tell us about your experiences in the comments box below! 

Homeowners who know for sure that they would like to build an in-law apartment on their property can get started today. To begin your home renovation, download our Home Renovation Toolkit or our Home Remodeling for Life's Transitions Guide from our website. Or, if you'd like to get a quote for your upcoming project, contact Litchfield Builders. As New Haven's premiere general contractor, we can help homeowners get started with their upcoming home renovation project. 

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