Special to The Times. WHEN I was in my 50s, with my son out of the house, I began planning to supplement my income by turning my half-finished daylight basement into a mother-in-law apartment. Now that I’m retired, it allows me to stay in my home and afford the city’s ever-increasing property taxes.
Mother-in-law apartments are carved out of an existing home, most often in a basement, or sometimes in an attached garage. Backyard cottages, on the other hand, are more complex to permit, design and build. They’re about 10 times more expensive, likely to rent for market rates and they raise lots of concerns with the neighbors.
The Seattle City Council should separate mother-in-law apartment legislation from backyard cottages. They are the best and least expensive way the city can encourage moderately affordable housing.