Today, the Washington State Senate passed HB 1337, sponsored by Rep. Mia Gregerson (D-SeaTac), legislation to expand the building of accessory dwelling units, also known as ADUs, mother-in-law units, or backyard cottages, and ensure they are legal and allowed statewide.

Sen. Sharon Shewmake (D-Bellingham), one of the Legislature’s foremost supporters of ADUs, applauded passage of the bill.

“Both Rep. Mia Gregerson and I introduced ADU bills this year, and after discussion, hers is the one that we’re going to pass into law,” said Shewmake. “Rep. Gregerson’s bill includes a lot of the same policy as my bill and will be a great step forward for expanding these housing options. We need housing options as diverse as our communities are, and this will help make sure these smaller, more affordable homes are available for people who want them. I’m very excited that we’re acting on ADUs this year.”

The bill requires cities and counties to allow ADUs and prohibits certain regulations and restrictions on ADU construction, to ensure that ADUs are legal in cities across Washington. The bill also authorizes cities to adopt incentives for the construction and development of ADUs.

The popularity of ADUs has surged in recent years. It’s reported that in the city of Seattle, more ADUs are now being constructed than single-family homes. Permitting of ADUs in Seattle has increased 250 percent from 2019 to 2022 after the city passed legislation to authorize them in more areas, and HB 1337 would ensure communities across Washington have similar legal authority to build ADUs going forward.

The bill was amended in the Senate, so the versions as passed out of the House and the Senate will still need to be reconciled. The House will have the opportunity to concur in the Senate amendments, ask the Senate to recede from the amendments so the Senate could pass the version as passed the House, or the two chambers could appoint a conference committee to negotiate a final agreement between the two versions. The bill has until the end of session on Sunday, April 23, to pass.