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Miami-Dade County

Miami today is one of the most expensive cities in the country.  This is not only because the houses are expensive, but also because the average salary in Miami is not comparable to the average salaries in the rest of the county.  Due to this, Miami has illegal units all over Miami-Dade County.  For years, Miamians have been converting single-family homes into duplexes or triplexes, all illegal housing units.

As the years have gone by, the City of Miami as well as Miami-Dade County government have discussed ad nauseum the production of affordable housing.  Although some money from the federal and state governments has produced some affordable housing, we need many more units than we are building at any one time.  SMASH, a local non-profit corporation, calculates that the need may be in the millions or the billions of affordable and workforce housing units.

Since this is so difficult to fund, the county has come up with an option that does not entail government funding.  In this program called the Miami-Dade Workforce Housing Program, any homeowner or investor not in a city but within the county,  can take a single-family home and convert it to a duplex, under certain circumstances.  The program is on a case-by-case basis. 

On this page, you can see an example of what the Miami-Dade County Workforce Housing Program allows you to do.  You can build a duplex on a single-family lot.  However, only one door can be visible from the street.  The house must look like a single-family house.  There are restrictions on the size of the lot depending on whether it is on a sewer line or septic tank.  A pre-submittal review must be done.  You can read more below by clicking the red button.

Also, the program is not only for single-family houses.  Developers can take advantage of the program as well.  However, to be able to build any units under this program, an agreement must be signed with the county to keep the units within the cost guidelines of the Workforce Housing Program. 

Read more details by clicking this link:

Now that I explained to you the Workforce Housing Program, and there is a link at the bottom so you can see all the details, I now want to explain another program.  In this new ordinance, Miami-Dade County will be allowing the construction of an additional dwelling unit or guesthouse on a single-family lot in a number of zoning districts.  RU-1, the most typical zoning district for single-family houses in Miami-Dade, allows these new ADUs or guesthouses.  You can read more about this here.

City of Miami

The City of Miami also commissioned a study to obtain more affordable housing units, but no action has been taken to do anything with the study.  If you are interested in this, you can read about it here.

The City of Miami has a somewhat similar program in two of its residential zoning districts T-3L and T-3R.  In one of them, granny flats, or accessory units, are allowed, and in the other one, duplexes are allowed.  Unfortunately, not many people seem to be aware of this and I see few people taking advantage of this by building additional units.

You can read my opinion on granny flats in the city here.

If you want to discuss your ADU or guesthouse, call me, Miami architect Maria Luisa Castellanos on my cell at 305-439-7898 or at my office below.


Call 305-552-5465 or Email to discuss your exciting project ideas.

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