June 30 deadline for applying without penalties
The City of Seattle wants to remind homeowners of the grace period through June 30 for legalizing existing unauthorized backyard cottages. Under new regulations that went into effect December 4, 2009, backyard cottages became legal throughout Seattle. Previously, backyard cottages, also known as detached accessory dwelling units or DADUs, had been allowed only in southeast Seattle neighborhoods since 2006. Included in the December legislation is a grace period that allows owners of existing, unauthorized backyard cottages the opportunity to legalize their unit without penalty. Owners have until June 30, 2010 to apply for a building permit and until December 31, 2010 to obtain final inspection of the unit.
Why should a homeowner legalize their unit?
Owners who submit for a building permit before June 30, and receive a final inspection before December 30, 2010, will not be subject to violation penalties. Owners who do not take advantage of this grace period opportunity and are found to be in violation may be subject to civil penalties including per-day penalties and a one-time penalty of $5,000.
Permit fees for backyard cottages will vary. It often takes several weeks to obtain a permit, so please plan accordingly.
For information on permit requirements for backyard cottages, it is recommended that owners begin by reading DPD’s Client Assistance Memo (CAM) 116B, Establishing a Backyard Cottage. Additional information on permit requirements for backyard cottages can be found on the project website: www.seattle.gov/dpd/BackyardCottages or by contacting the Permit Specialist line at (206) 684-8850.
For further information about legalizing a backyard cottage that is currently occupied by tenants, please contact: Diane Davis, firstname.lastname@example.org