KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Homeowners across Kansas City have a new option for how to build out their property to house a family member or renter.

The city recently made it a lot easier to build small living spaces on the side of an existing home, called an accessory dwelling unit, or ADU. They’re commonly called “in-law suites,” or “Granny Flats,” but they’ve been largely banned in Kansas City for years.

While the cost of rent and home prices have continued to climb, the hope is that allowing ADU’s and streamlining the process to build them will add supply to the housing market and help stabilize prices.

Experts say that might happen in the long run but there are some short-term obstacles that have to be addressed first.

“Probably the most daunting part was the plumbing and the electricity,” said Columbus Park resident Kate Barsotti, who created an ADU for her father 10 years ago.

She was willing to navigate the build out and the cost because it allowed her father to move in, while having his own space.

Aging family members are one of the main reasons Midtown KC Now’s executive director Kevin Klinkenburg says homeowners have wanted to build these units.

“It’s a lower cost housing option that can be built by anybody that can qualify for a mortgage,” said Klinkenburg.

Lower cost, but not necessarily cheap.

“Ten years ago, it was less than $100,000 and that was 1,800 square feet,” said Barsotti. “I don’t know if you could do that today.”

The city’s new ordinance ends a long ban on ADU’s and makes it a lot easier for homeowners today to start building one, potentially creating a handful in certain communities that would help mix in housing at new, lower price points.

“I think the benefit is that you’re not relying on a big developer with a nice suit and fancy watch to come in a build your housing for you,” said Klinkenburg. “This is something that anybody can do.”

Klinkenburg warns that in other cities, it hasn’t created a sudden windfall of new, affordable housing options right away and that it normally takes five to ten years for many of them to pop up.

Barsotti says that means other affordable housing tools have to be prioritized too, like expanding where housing at lower prices is built.

“This is one tiny tool in the toolbox,” said Barsotti.