Under new “Plus One ADU” program, NYC’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development will pay you to build an ADU

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Under new “Plus One ADU” program, NYC’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development will pay you to build an ADU

Sketch of ADU construction in New York City (Courtesy New York City Department of City Planning)

New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Adolfo Carrion Jr. has announced a new program that encourages New Yorkers to build accessory dwelling units (ADU) on their properties, the “Plus One ADU” pilot program.

“Plus One ADU” provides funding to qualified homeowners looking to build backyard cottages, garage studios, attached in-law suites, basement apartments, and attic space conversions. Funding totals up to $395,000 from the HPD, and $2.6 million in grant funding from New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR). The program, according to a press statement, is meant to help working- and middle-class families; as well as seniors looking to “age in place,” families with children returning from college, young parents, and homeowners looking for an extra source of rental income.

Following an application process, HPD will give money to fifteen single-family homeowners to build ADUs on their property. “Accessory dwelling units are a convenient and non-disruptive way to unlock much-needed housing in our city, while also generating revenue for homeowners and making multigenerational housing more accessible,” said Tom Wright, president and CEO of Regional Plan Association (RPA). “The Plus One ADU pilot is a great project that can pave the way for a potential city-wide ADU program.”

The program is a city-wide initiative, but some properties within New York City may not be eligible. Applicable properties include one-unit, single-family detached residential homes; and homes that allow for two-family construction under the existing building and zoning code. Existing homes must also pass a quality inspection test and need no major repairs other than what is essential to the ADU construction scope.

The City of Yes plan would build housing on vacant parking lots (Courtesy New York City Department of City Planning)

Eligible homes must also be either free of housing or building code violations prior to receiving program financing. For basement conversions, the applicable ADU space must meet ceiling height requirements prior to conversion. Lastly, the property must be located outside of the 2050 Stormwater Flood area, as well as the 2100’s 100-year coastal flood zone.

Mayor Eric Adams’s office notes that the new program is part of New York City’s controversial City of Yes” program which seeks to build more housing throughout the five boroughs. The City of Yes encourages qualified property owners to build housing on parking lots and above single-story buildings like laundromats or bodegas while in some instances, it posits dismantling regulatory measures that promise each New Yorker important things like access to natural light.

Qualified homeowners interested in the “Plus One ADU” program may earn up to 165 percent of the area median income (AMI), or $186,450 for a two-person household. Applicants earning above this number are not eligible. Preference will be given to homeowners at or below 100 percent AMI, or $113,ooo for a two-person household. Applicants must also be current on any existing mortgages and not have outstanding municipal arrears, or be in an active payment plan.

New York isn’t the first city to address the housing crisis with ADU construction. In Los Angeles, recent legislation encourages ADU construction: earlier this year, the city unveiled plans for an ADU design that is available online for free download. A similar initiative was rolled out for Sacramento residents.

The program officially launches today, November 21. Interested homeowners have until February 13, 2024 to complete the application survey to be considered for participation in the pilot program.