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New law makes it easier to build backyard cottages in Seattle

Mayor Durkan hopes the change helps address the city's housing crisis.

SEATTLE — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan signed a law on Tuesday that allows for property owners to build bigger and additional backyard cottages.

Backyard cottages, or mother-in-law apartments, are liveable units on a homeowner's property that are separate from the living space. 

Under the measure, the size of allowed backyard cottages increased from 800 square feet to 1,000 square feet, and height restrictions were raised an additional 1-2 feet. 

Owners can now build two backyard cottages on a property instead of one.

The new law allows for construction of these cottages in all Seattle neighborhoods while removing requirements that property owners need to live on site and provide off-street parking to tenants.

RELATED: Seattle Council approves more backyard cottages, restricts 'McMansions'

City officials hope the new laws will help address the housing crisis. 

"We have a responsibility to grow the supply of housing options as quickly as possible. We need to use every tool in our toolbox to boost the supply of housing,” said Mayor Durkan in a statement.

Durkan also signed an executive order designed to make it easier to obtain a permit for a backyard cottage.

It would have taken more than a year to get a permit before the legislation was signed. 

Durkan said she wants to cut that time to no more than 30 days.

Seattle City Council voted to allow the construction earlier this month, roughly three years after the legislation was proposed.

The new regulations on backyard cottages go into effect on Aug. 8.

RELATED: Seattle committee gives the OK for larger backyard cottages

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