Family or caregiver suites are a type of secondary dwelling intended to allow the occupants of the suite to live independently while still maintaining access to the main dwelling. §12.9.8 of the Zoning Ordinance provides the guidelines and regulations for family or caregiver suites, which include design, operation, and occupancy criteria.
Family or caregiver suites are allowed as accessory uses in all single-family residential zoning districts (R-20, R-10, R-8, R-6, R-5, R-10T, R15-30T, and R2-7) and require Zoning Administrator approval.
Occupancy Requirements: Family vs. Caregiver
- The suite may be occupied by either:
- No more than two (2) persons who are related by blood or marriage to the principal occupant(s) of the main dwelling; OR
- No more than two (2) persons who may be unrelated to the principal occupant(s) of the main dwelling, at least one (1) of whom provides care for either:
- One (1) or more children of the principal occupant(s) of the main dwelling; OR
- One (1) or more elders or persons with disabilities who occupy the main dwelling.
- For caregiver suites, a written statement (Written Statement for Unrelated Caregivers) must be filed with the Zoning Administrator identifying the person providing care and the type of care being provided (i.e., child, elder, person with a disability) when the caregiver is not related by blood or marriage to the occupants of the main dwelling.
- The suite contains no more than two (2) rooms, plus a bathroom and an efficiency kitchen.
- The gross floor area of the suite must not exceed the lesser of either 750 sq. ft. or 35% of the combined gross floor area of the suite and the main dwelling.
- The suite must have interior access to the main dwelling.
- The suite must be designed to function as an integral part of the main dwelling but may allow the occupants to live independently of the occupant(s) of the main dwelling.
- The dwelling in which the suite is located may have only one (1) main entrance. No new entrance is permitted on the same side of the structure as the existing main entrance of the dwelling.
- A floor plan of the suite, which identifies its relationship with the main dwelling, must be filed with the Zoning Administrator.
- There may only be one (1) family or caregiver suite in any dwelling.
- There may only be one (1) family or caregiver suite on any property.
- Family or caregiver suites are not permitted in a dwelling or on a property which contains an accessory dwelling, as allowed under §12.9.2 of the Zoning Ordinance.
- There shall be only one (1) address for the property.
- The family or caregiver suite shall not have separate utility service (ex: electric and water meters).
- The property owner must record a Declaration of Covenants (Family/Caregiver Suite)(PDF, 341KB) on the property identifying the suite use and the restrictions imposed by the Zoning Ordinance.
You must complete a Family/Caregiver Suite Permit application in Permit Arlington. Click “Create” and select “Zoning Application.”
Application information will be available to the public for review.
All applicants must submit the following materials with the application:
- Floor Plans – Family or Caregiver Suite Only (to scale)
- Floor Plans – Main Dwelling Showing Suite Location (floor plans of the proposed family or caregiver suite showing its relationship to the existing main dwelling, to scale)
- (For caregiver suites only) Written Statement for Unrelated Caregivers—submitted by the property owner when the caregiver who will live in the suite is not related by blood or marriage to the property owner. (In Permit Arlington, designate as “Other Supporting Document.”)
- Staff review of a Family/Caregiver Suite Permit is typically completed within 30 days of receipt of a completed application and supporting documents.
- In addition to a Family/Caregiver Suite Permit, creating such a suite may require other permits. For more information, contact the following:
Fee schedules provide the range of fees charged for each type of application or activity related to land development in Arlington. Fees cover permitting, plan review, enforcement, inspection, service delivery, performance agreements, and conditions. There are separate fee schedules for the Inspection Services Division (ISD), Zoning, and the Department of Environmental Services (DES). Some permits involve fees from more than one schedule.