Efficiency of ADU Process vs. Property Subdivision: Which Option is Better?

07 Jun 2023


When it comes to dividing a property into multiple units, there are two common options: the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) process and property subdivision. Both methods have their advantages and considerations, but in this article, we will explore why the ADU process can be a more efficient option compared to traditional property subdivision.

1. Lower Complexity and Costs:

Subdividing a property involves a more complex legal and administrative process. It requires obtaining subdivision permits, creating new property lines, and often installing additional infrastructure. These procedures can be costly and time-consuming. In contrast, the ADU process is generally less complex and more cost-effective. It involves constructing an additional unit on an existing property, avoiding the need for property subdivision.

2. Better Utilization of Space:

The ADU process allows for maximizing the available space on an existing property without the need for subdivision. This is particularly valuable in urban areas where space is limited, and subdivision may not be a viable option. By adding an additional unit, either as a separate structure or as an extension of the main structure, the existing space can be efficiently utilized without significant changes to the property.

3. Flexibility in Property Use:

One of the advantages of the ADU process is the flexibility it offers in property use. The additional unit can be used to accommodate family members, as long-term rentals, short-term rentals, additional workspace, or even as an additional source of income through rental platforms. This flexibility allows property owners to adapt the property to their changing needs and take advantage of various opportunities without the restriction of subdivision.

4. Lesser Impact on the Community:

Subdividing a property can have a significant impact on infrastructure and the neighborhood as a whole. Creating new structures, streets, and public services can affect traffic, drainage, and the overall quality of life in the community. In contrast, the ADU process generally has a lesser impact, as it focuses on improving and adapting an existing property without the need for new subdivisions. This can be beneficial for both the property owner and the community at large.


The ADU process offers an efficient alternative to property subdivision. By utilizing existing space and avoiding the complexity and costs associated with subdivision, ADUs allow for greater flexibility in property use and have a lesser impact on the community. However, it's important to note that the choice between ADU and property subdivision depends on various factors such as local regulations, land characteristics, and the owner's needs. Consulting with local experts in development and urban planning is recommended to determine the best option for a specific property.


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