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Cottage Housing

This page provides a basic overview of cottage housing for local governments in Washington State, including helpful resources and examples of local regulations.


What is Cottage Housing?

Cottage housing is generally defined as a grouping of small, single family dwelling units clustered around a common area and developed with a coherent plan for the entire site. They have gained popularity in recent years as a type of infill development on small sites within existing developed areas.

The cottage units may have other shared amenities. The shared common area and coordinated design may allow densities that are somewhat higher than typical in single-family neighborhoods while minimizing impacts on adjacent residential areas. As a result, cottage housing can offer its owners a quality living experience that is less expensive than traditional single family housing.

Cottage housing provides a degree of privacy and some of the benefits of single-family housing, combined with the lower cost and maintenance of attached housing. The clustered arrangement can also contribute to a strong sense of community within the cottage housing site itself. Even so, its departure from existing patterns and its higher density have generated neighborhood resistance in some communities.

Image credit: HUD Kirkland Case Study/Wenzlau Architects


Examples of Local Cottage Housing Regulations

Below are some selected examples of local cottage housing codes and ordinances in Washington State.

Featured Examples

Other Examples


Recommended Resources


Last Modified: September 21, 2018