Minnesota lawmakers are considering legislation to allow small houses for disabled family members to be temporarily placed next to existing homes.
Rep. Roz Peterson, R-Lakeville, wants allow a temporary dwelling for a family member near a property owner’s primary home. Its use would be recommended after a doctor’s written certification of either mental illness or physical disability.
“Sometimes people have an elderly relative who is either injured or needs to be in temporary hospice that wants to come home, but there is either not enough room or the house isn’t accessible anymore,” Peterson said. “This provides an option to take care of those loved ones at home.”
Only one temporary dwelling would be permitted per property, under the guidance of a caregiver older than 18 who is either a relative, legal guardian or health care agent. A permit would allow the dwelling to be established for a six-month period and could be extended for up to a year.
Approved by the House Aging and Long-Term Care Policy Committee, the bill now moves to the House Government Operations and Elections Policy Committee.
North Carolina, Virginia and New York have similar laws.
Temporary dwellings visually resemble a recreational vehicle or large trailer home. However, the qualifications in which they are built are like a home.
No larger than 300 square feet, each dwelling has its own electrical outlet and a self-enclosed septic tank accompanied by an insulated water intake that can be connected to the primary house on a property. They are constructed of exterior materials comparable in appearance and durability to materials used in residential construction. On the inside a full kitchen, bathroom and bedroom nook are designed to comply with American Disabilities Act requirements. Heating and air conditioning are available.
According to NextDoor Housing, which specializes in the creation of temporary dwellings, one can be rented for about $1,500 a month, or bought for around $55,000 depending on amenities. A nursing home can cost more than $62,000 per year on average in Minnesota…
One concern came over the power of local governments to control the use and location of temporary dwellings, including utility management and renewals.
Burke tried to petition the Apple Valley City Council to allow a temporary dwelling on her lot, but was told it would not be possible.
“This could really put a city council in a bind if, for whatever reason, they did not want to extend a renewal and are now in a position of evicting grandma,” Rep. Barb Yarusso, D-Shoreview, said.
As written, a city would be mandated to allow the temporary dwelling upon a doctor’s certification.