It is common to find accessory apartments in Orem homes. Many times, the improved area is called a “mother in-law” apartment and then illegally rented out. In 2004, Orem decided to prohibit the approval of new accessory apartments because of a few parking complaints. However, this didn’t stop the construction, or renting out, of basement apartments. All it did was create a whole new class of taxpaying lawbreakers.
After several public hearings, on June 10, 2012, the Orem City Council voted to once again allow accessory apartments to be built and approved. Several regulatory steps are needed to obtain legal approval for existing apartments or to construct a new one. Here is a summary of the new rules for obtaining City of Orem approval:
Orem Accessory Apartment Restrictions
- Maximum Bedrooms: Two
- Maximum Square Feet: 1200
- Minimum Square Feet: 300
- Minimum Ceiling Height: Seven Feet
- Parking Requirement: Three Paved Pads
- Outside Entrance: Cannot Face Street
- Sewer and water Impact Fee: $1895.85
- Building Permit: $60 – $500
- Owner must reside at the location
- Owner must sign an affidavit that both units will not simultaneously be rented – in other words, an owner must continue to live in the home and not convert it into an illegal duplex.
- Rental of the apartment restricted to one family or three singles
- One-hour fire-resistive construction between units, under stairs, and in furnace room
- 20-minute fire-rated, self-closing door(s) between units and furnace room
- Handrails must be installed where necessary
- Windows and window-well size minimums
- Smoke detectors in each bedroom and hallway
- Carbon Monoxide detector installed on each level of the home
Mechanical System Requirements
- Own source of heat and air conditioning – the conditioned air and return air from one unit’s system cannot be mixed with the other
- Proper amount of combustible air for gas appliances
- Proper exterior venting for clothes dryer
- Bathroom and kitchen countertop outlets must have a ground-fault-interrupter receptacle or breaker
- Electrical circuits serving bedrooms must be arc-fault protected
A legal accessory apartment can be a Godsend to both the homeowner and the tenants. Many residents find themselves unable to make their full house payments for a variety of reasons. Renting out an accessory apartment provides much needed income from an area of the home that may not have even been used.
College students and young married couples get the opportunity to live in a single-family neighborhood, often in a far nicer environment than would otherwise have been possible.