Are Tiny Homes The Answer To Utah’s Housing Shortage?

May 20, 2019, 7:08 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — It measures just 432 square feet, even so, a tiny home on display at a shopping mall in downtown Salt Lake City features a full kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living area and plenty of storage.

“People are interested in the minimal lifestyle of living in 432 square feet as well the potential to generate extra income in their backyard,” said Colin Jube, one of the founding partners of Modal Living.

Modal Living has a model unit on display at City Creek Center that is generating a lot of interest, Jube said. Once the stand-alone homes are built, they are delivered and installed in just a few days. The all-inclusive price—including arranging for building permits and utility connections—starts at $120,000.

“Most people who own homes have fairly unused space in their backyards,” Jube said. “So it’s just a way to use that space a little bit better.”

Thanks to an ordinance change last October, homeowners across Salt Lake City can apply to build what’s called an accessory dwelling unit, or ADU, either in their yard or attached to their existing home. The city has created a handbook to help property owners complete their applications.

The company said the ordinance change paved the way for homeowners to add its one-bedroom dwellings in neighborhoods like Rose Park, Liberty Wells, Sugar House and other east bench communities.

“Homeowners can install a Modal unit to increase their living space — be it a studio, mother-in-law apartment, extra residential space, or as an income property,” Modal Living said in a press release. “The property owner is required to reside on the property, either in the ADU or the home.”

Charlie Luke, chairman of the Salt Lake City Council, voted against legalizing the dwelling units but says he supports the council’s decision.

“This is something that has been debated a lot,” he said.

While allowing the additional living spaces could help combat rising rents and a shortage of apartments, Luke said he had many reservations about adding more people to neighborhoods without adding more infrastructure.

“It also has the potential of having some pretty big impact in the neighborhoods,” he said, adding that one of the main concerns is parking.

 “I hope I’m wrong,” Luke said. “I hope the things that I was concerned about won’t factor out.”

Since the ordinance was changed in October, Luke said the city has received 13 applications for ADUs (two of which have since been withdrawn by the applicant).

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Unaffordable Utah

Ladd Egan, KSL TV

Home valuations jump dramatically, but watchdog group says to expect modest increase in property taxes

Assessors across Utah are finishing up home valuations for upcoming property tax notices, and two counties are already reporting big increases in values.
15 days ago
Utah's hot housing market...
Ladd Egan, KSL TV

Utah housing expert predicts pullback in activity because of mortgage rates

An expert in Utah’s housing market expects that rising mortgage rates will cause a pullback in real estate activity and a slowdown in home price increases.
16 days ago
Lauren Steinbrecher, KSL TV

SLC neighborhood townhall raises questions over Affordable Housing Incentives proposal

Thursday night, concerns arose at a community townhall in a Salt Lake City neighborhood over an affordable housing incentives proposal, that some worry is deeply flawed.
19 days ago
Ladd Egan, KSL TV

Unaffordable Utah: Budget-friendly family summer fun

After two summers of pandemic restrictions, Utah families are itching to have some fun. If inflation, gas prices, and sky-high plane tickets are taxing your budget, don't worry! KSL has the solutions.
1 month ago
Ladd Egan, KSL TV

National home builder confidence drops to two-year low

For the fifth straight month, national home builder confidence fell, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index.
1 month ago
Lauren Steinbrecher, KSL TV

Moab housing crisis demands solutions as workers struggle to find places to live

One of Utah’s most popular tourist destinations is facing a crisis. Tourists flocking to Moab have plenty of options when it comes to places to stay, but the workers who keep the town running say they can’t afford to live there and there aren’t enough places to rent.
2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Are Tiny Homes The Answer To Utah’s Housing Shortage?