Considerations for Building a Granny Pod in New Jersey
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Considerations for Building a Granny Pod in New Jersey

|May 12, 2024

If you also have a backyard space, then building a secondary unit is the best use of it. Tiny prefab ADUs or a granny shed is an interesting way to increase the living space and add a new personality to your property. After all, with new laws and regulations, granny pods in New Jersey are an easy possibility with a one-time investment and lifelong benefits.

To learn all about New Jersey ADU laws, read this article thoroughly before planning an ADU construction in the backyard.

ADU NJ Laws and Regulations

You must have come across different names used for an ADU structure. Whatever the title is, as per the ADU meaning, it is a tiny home attached or detached from the primary property with all the amenities required to make it liveable. These tiny homes are constructed around comfortable and safety-approved shed floor ideas thus to ensure a space that is as good as a proper house. Though smaller in size, an ADU can be counted as a proper home as it has a kitchen, washroom, bed and all the electric and water connections as well.

Next, to make things easier, different states have different ADU Laws, and following them ensures a safe and hospitable space according to the conditions and weather of that region. As for New Jersey, building an ADU will require you to comply with the following laws and regulations:

  • Make sure the ceiling height of your ADU is at least 6 feet and 8 inches. This is the minimum standard for an ADU to qualify as a living unit. However, for bathrooms and kitchens, the ceiling height can be a little lower, at 6 feet and 4 inches. This allows the room to build a sloped roof ADU (ideal for rainy regions).
  • The minimum floor area of the ADU should be 35 square feet at least. Also, no dimension (length or width) on any part of the property should be less than 5 feet.
  • There should be a proper security system installed with door locks and window locks as well.
  • The ADU should also have fire safety approval and emergency exits in case of a fire or electric hazard.
  • It should have all the plumping, sewerage, electrical, and utilities facilities.

ADU NJ Laws and Regulations

What to Take Care of When Building an ADU in New Jersey?

Building and using an ADU offers a plethora of advantages in terms of improved quality of life, lower expenses, and less maintenance efforts. ADUs also have many positive environmental impacts with a lowered number of housing constructions, as space expansion is possible with an ADU.

They are also a very cheap alternative to expensive housing as you can get prefab tiny homes under $20K as well. Moreover, you can also check out the granny pods for sale in NJ rather than building your own, as these housing units are even cheaper to purchase. To make sure your tiny home size is correct and complies with other laws in New Jersey, here are some things to know about ADUs in NJ.

ADU Permits New Jersey

On a state level, ADUs aren't promoted in New Jersey. However, this has been heard to change in the coming months as a recent survey proved the popularity of ADUs among civilians, making the state modify its laws. In the meantime, ADUs are an approved structure at the town level. In the tristate area, Princeton is the first municipality to allow ADU construction as well as their sale apart from the primary residence.

ADU Permits New Jersey

Purpose of ADU

Although there are many advantages to ADUs, it's advisable to determine your use for them before beginning construction if the purpose of the ADU is to expand the living area or to provide a supplementary revenue stream through long-term rentals like Airbnb.

It's important to remember that ADUs are named dwelling units for a reason; to be legally recognized as such, you'll need to install heating, a bedroom, a full bathroom, and a small kitchen with a stove and refrigerator. Otherwise, the housing unit is not considered an ADU.

Purpose of ADU

ADU Budget

The first thing that comes into mind with many home design projects, whether big or small, is the budget you must have. For an ADU, fortunately, there is much flexibility in terms of budget. You can purchase prefab ADUs or build one from scratch. The cost of the former or latter depends on what kind of structure you have in mind. Also, when it comes to ADU in New Jersey, there are lots of cost benefits, too. A construction loan, cash-out refinance, credit card, home equity loan, or Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) can all be used to pay for your ADU.

ADU Budget


An ADU is classified as living property and, hence, is eligible for taxation and insurance. However, this is not official in the State of New Jersey yet because ADUs have not yet been approved as legal units.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are granny pods legal in New Jersey?

Not yet; New Jersey doesn't have a law regarding the approval of ADUs. But soon a modification is expected to make an ADU legal in this part of the country.

Are ADUs allowed in New Jersey?

For now, ADUs are not accepted as separate units to the primary home; hence, there might be no clear laws regarding an ADU as a rental property in NJ. But building an ADU in the backyard for personal use is a pretty much common practice in New Jersey.

What is the cost of an ADU in New Jersey?

Depending on the type, size, and facilities covered by your ADU, an ADU in New Jersey can typically cost anywhere from 100K to $400K.

Frequently Asked Questions


Sooner or later, one needs to expand their living area. It's either one of the kids hitting the end of teenage years or an older parent who wants to have their own space. Thus opting for an idea that is both cost friendly and beneficial in the longer run is the ideal approach.

A backyard tiny home comes in handy in such instances. These backyard houses are popular and in demand for many reasons which is why many manufacturers are up for constructing one for you with the least tiny home cost.

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