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By: Kevin Ahern on September 9th, 2016

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The Top 5 Challenges of Building In-Law Apartments & How To Avoid Them


The construction of an in-law apartment is a big job. As a homeowner, you'll need to give a lot of thought to your project and plan it properly to ensure that your in-law apartment will be built to your specifications. At Litchfield Builders, we help homeowners build functional, stylish in-law apartments.

Avoiding The Top Five Challenges When Building In-Law Apartments

Zoning Considerations

While in-law apartments are allowed in many parts of Connecticut, many communities have strict zoning laws and building regulations. These regulations vary by city. Working with a licensed contractor will help ensure that your in-law apartment is constructed properly according to the rules of your community. This will help ensure that your in-law apartment safe for you and your tenant. This will also help you avoid problems when it comes time to sell your home.

Electrical Supply

A typical home with 100 amp service may not have enough power to handle an apartment on the premises. This is especially true if your in-law apartment will have appliances like a refrigerator, stove, and air conditioner. A panel box upgrade can increase the cost of an in-law apartment by thousands of dollars. Before deciding to build an in-law apartment, have your home evaluated to determine whether or not a new panel box is necessary.


If your in-law apartment is being built to house an additional family member, your home may need additional parking. A driveway widening project may be necessary to accommodate any new cars, vans, or vehicles that will be parked on your property. Talk to your contractor to get estimates on the price of changing, building onto, or widening your driveway.


When you and your parent or in-law move in together, you may find that your privacy is of great concern. Having a separate space for your family member will help make your in-law addition a success. Give thought to privacy matters as you design your in-law apartment. Decide up front how much space will be shared space and which spaces will be private. If possible, make the entrance to your home's in-law apartment separate from the entrance to the main home, so your family member can come and go without causing a disturbance.

Health and Physical Needs

Many in-law apartments tend to be on the upper floors of the home or even above the garage. If the family member who plans to live in this apartment is an older person, a staircase may restrict your family member's ability to enter and exit the apartment in the future. Consider installing an alternative entrance, like a residential elevator, to ensure that your family member can enter and exit the apartment as desired.

For more information, contact Litchfield Builders. With over 25 years in the business, we're proud to be New Haven's premiere general contractor. We can help you design and build an in-law apartment that will meet your needs.

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