Jason Cohen Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Real Estate Market

Are Granny Flats the Next Big Thing?

Are Granny Flats the Next Big Thing?

So-called “Granny Flats” might just be the next big trend in real estate rentals. Formally called “Accessory Dwelling Units” (ADUs) and more informally known as “mother-in-law apartments”, these homes were given their nicknames on the basis of their small size, and for their placement on the grounds of an otherwise single-family home. They were initially meant for and primarily used by aging grandparents, parents, young adult members, nannies, caregivers, or others who need a self-contained living area big enough for one or two people.


There has been a popular surge of interest in tiny house living, especially with our current trend towards multigenerational housing and the financial barriers the housing crisis poses to more traditional accommodations. CityLab estimates that by 2020, ADUs will take off in popularity as more units enter the market and provide a ready accommodations alternative for those seeking affordable housing.




Some granny flats are miniatures of full-sized housing units and have complete kitchens, while others are limited to a small refrigerator and a microwave. If needed, high-tech monitoring allows remote access to check on the inhabitant and even a timed medication dispenser along with other devices that can monitor the health and well-being of the older person.


Because of the ADU’s limited size, it is recommended to have a “great room” that combines the dining room, the living room, and the kitchen. If the room has high ceilings and a visual connection to the outdoors, it will make the space appear bigger as living quarters that fit much better into the budget of the elderly who have limited income.


Research has shown that senior citizens do best when they have social contacts, so living close to younger family members makes that possible and enjoyable for grandparents, who may also offer some child care and transportation to relieve the parents.


Are There Barriers?


Check municipal statutes, building restrictions, zoning laws, neighborhood covenants, and other pertinent regulations. It may not be too difficult if you are converting a garage or other existing structure, but building a new structure can be overwhelming due to the expense and the above laws. A prefabricated or modular building may be the answer, but this type of structure is prohibited in some communities. Some homeowners have tried to use the ADUs as rental units, but deed restrictions and zoning laws usually ban renting.


In 2017, California adopted legislation that minimized the laws on providing separate parking spaces for ADUs on property and reduced other law provisions. For example, that allowed Los Angeles to go from issuing 142 ADU permits in 2016 to approximately 2,000 in 2017. Cities that have ADU-friendly legislation are seeing and uptick in demand for ADUs.

Best Practices for Landlords

Best Practices for Landlords

No landlord wants to keep a flaky client. Every investment property owner counts on their tenants to pay their rent in full and on time – otherwise, they have no way of making a profit off of owning and renting out the building. A landlord’s choice of tenant matters; no property owner wants to risk bringing on a tenant that will trash place and skip out on rent. Likewise, they can’t afford to lose responsible and reliable tenants as a result of poor communication or subpar landlord-tenant relationships. In order to find and maintain responsible and reliable tenant, landlords must take stock of their own actions and strategies to establish a productive rapport with those living in their investment properties. In this piece, Jason Cohen Pittsburgh provides a few best practices for landlords who want to cultivate mutually-beneficial, long-term relationships with responsible tenants.


Creating the Lease


Standard lease forms are readily available and cover rent, security deposit fees and legal rights. From there, add pet restriction policies, late payment fees, maintenance responsibilities and expected behavior. A detailed lease explaining a landlord’s expectations and requirements reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings in the future.


Be Welcoming


New tenants are often new to the area. As such, landlords might consider creating a printed map that provides directions to frequently visited locations that may include grocery stores, medical clinics, pharmacies, restaurants and perhaps nearby attractions. Leave a welcome card in the residence to start the relationship on a positive note.


Friendly but Professional


Make a good first impression by dressing appropriately. By appearing clean and properly put together, you convey that you expect your tenants to maintain their residence. Follow the guidelines clearly established in the lease to prevent misunderstandings. Go over the lease with them before they move. You can always amend trivial matters along the way if you choose. If a disagreement should arise, it is important that the landlord always remain calm and professional.




In the event that a problem occurs, tenants must be able to contact the landlord. Supply one or more phone numbers and perhaps an email address. Emails also reduce the number of after hour calls while providing documentation of an issue. Consider tenants as customers. In order to keep customers, property owners must respond as quickly as possible when contacted. When a problem arises, set a time to visit and inspect the problem. Remedy the problem or have the repair completed as quickly as possible.


Respect Their Privacy


Tenants have the right to privacy. Some states require that landlords provide notice before entering the property. Landlords should also schedule visits to business hours or at a time that is convenient for the tenant.

About Jason Cohen Pittsburgh

Jason Cohen is a real estate investor in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He created Jason Cohen Pittsburgh, a group of real estate enthusiasts committed to helping others invest in real estate, and he has thrived in the area since 2002.

As Jason’s career has grown and flourished, so has Pittsburgh itself — transforming from an industrial “rust belt” city into a major cultural center abundant with high-end multi-family rental properties. Jason has seamlessly handled the dynamic nature of Pittsburgh and of the real estate industry in general. A research-driven professional, he consistently enables smart and profitable investments in the area, helping to transform modest properties into high-end rentals in Pittsburgh’s hottest neighborhoods.

Jason Cohen first entered the world of real estate shortly after his graduation from college. He started out by investing in distressed properties in Pennsylvania. After some experience working full-time for a real estate company, he decided to pave his own path in the industry. He has worked as an independent real estate agent and developed the Jason Cohen Pittsburgh team ever since. The team consists of highly qualified investors, property managers, leasing agents, and contractors.

Over the course of his career Jason has become highly proficient in acquisitions, joint ventures and partnerships, multifamily real estate investments, asset repositioning, real estate management, real estate brokerage, and new construction. He has excelled in high-level investment strategies, but is also no stranger to “ground work” when it comes to the industry. He is well-versed in each step of Jason Cohen Pittsburgh’s unique system: researching local areas and investing in properties, performing renovations to transform these properties from dilapidated eyesores into high-end units, and ultimately repositioning the properties for maximum profit in renting and selling.




Jason Cohen Pittsburgh is the group of choice for anyone who needs advice, analysis and due diligence, and general expertise in matters of investing, whether they are short-term or long-term. Jason Cohen Pittsburgh has dealt with properties in a variety of neighborhoods throughout parts of Pittsburgh, including the South Side, Oakland, Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, Mt. Lebanon, and Regent Square. Each and every one of these locations, paired with Jason’s overall knowledge of real estate investing, has allowed him to play a part in restoring Pittsburgh’s place as one of the most popular cities in the United States.

This blog will share news, updates, and insights regarding Pittsburgh and its real estate market from the perspective of Jason Cohen Pittsburgh. Stay tuned!