What are Garage Apartments?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2019
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A garage apartment is a living space created within the main section of a garage or is constructed over the garage area on a second floor. Apartments of this type are sometimes included in the original apartment garage plans, although they are more often added to the original structure at a later date. Generally compact in size, garage apartments can serve as cozy living quarters for relatives, or as a way of generating a secondary income by renting out the space.

Garage apartments are usually constructed with all the features that are associated with any type of living quarters. The apartment will have plumbing and electrical wiring similar to that found in any type of apartment. Often, the kitchen is built for efficiency and will take up only a small amount of floor space. Bathrooms in garage apartments are usually constructed to include a lavatory, toilet, and a shower. The bathroom is likely to be compact and functional, with relatively few decorating accents other than the wall color.

With above-garage apartments, the dwelling will have a stairwell that allows people to easily access the upstairs apartment. In some designs, the stairwell is housed in the bottom floor of the garage. More commonly, the stairs are located on the exterior of the garage and lead up to a small landing by the main entrance to the apartment. Depending on local housing codes, the apartment may also be equipped with a rear entrance.


Some garage apartments are single floor edifices that are created by converting a basic garage into living space. When this is the case, the interior walls are usually insulated and covered with paneling, sheet rock, or some other materials to give the space a finished look. The design may be an open floor plan, with various areas of the interior designated for sleeping, eating, and entertaining. Plumbing and power connections are often installed during the renovation, making it possible to create a galley kitchen along one wall as well as install a basic bathroom.

Garage apartments are ideal living arrangements for many single individuals who want a home that is easy to care for while still enjoying all the basic amenities, but not at the prices charged by most apartment complexes. Apartments of this type are also helpful when relatives come to visit or to live for a period of time. Since the apartment is separate from the main house, the owner and tenant can still enjoy their privacy while also having the option to socialize as much or as little as they prefer.


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Post 3

@fify-- I don't know about permits. But I know that each city has a code or regulation on development and infrastructure that includes information on this.

In my city for example, you can't rent out a garage apartment if the rest of the house is under construction. And there is also a minimum size for it and some other zoning requirements.

I'm sure that your city has a similar code. You should contact them first thing so that you can figure out if your house is going to be suitable for a garage apartment.

Post 2

I'm having a house built right now, it's actually going to be completed in a few weeks. There wasn't a garage apartment included in the original plans of the house. But I am now thinking that I should have one put in before I move in. I will be paying loans, so I'm thinking of renting that space out.

Can anyone give me advice about any state regulations or laws that might apply to me in this case? Do I need to get a separate approval or permit to do this?

Post 1

I wish our garage was made into an apartment as well. My sister, her husband and baby are now staying with us. My brother in law has lost his job during the recession and my sister was not working. They moved in with us but we don't have enough rooms for everyone.

If we had a garage apartment, then they could settle there and it would be like they had their own place. My dad is actually thinking about having that done. Even if they move out in the near future, someone else in the family might be in the same situation later on. It's always good to have such a place ready.

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