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Guest House or Casita Concerns? Consider THIS in Arizona

Real Estate Agent with HomeSmart Real Estate BR632450000

Can a guest house or casita prevent a home from closing in Arizona?

Well, one would not think so as people generally love separate building casitas around Arizona. A great place to have a guest stay but not stay too close and giving privacy for both. Or as a home for kids when they come back to visit and are grown with their own children. There is a lot to love.

Well I had a home buyer years ago that wanted a guest house for all of the normal reasons. In fact I found them a beautiful home in Pima County on multiple acres with a view with 2 guest homes each with separate kitchens around a central courtyard in the back yard. Everything was great, just what the buyer wanted.

However during the due diligence period, it was learned that the County required no ovens in the two guest houses. The home was zoned for single family and the two guest houses were permitted as additional structures. Each of the 3 homes, the main home and the two structures were well built but they were not allowed to have separate full 220 volt electric ovens. The ovens had to be removed from the guest houses. So a kitchen sink and refrigerator were allowed and a microwave and/or a toaster oven that could be plugged into a regular wall outlet.


It was all about the OVENS

stainless steel oven

The ovens had to go in the two guest houses (Photo: Solomon Rodgers, Pixabay)


Evidently, the county felt that each of the 3 homes had a full oven that would make 3 residences on a single family zoning lot, making it likely that the guest houses cold be rented out making it a multi family situation. An oven is evidently is conducive to a longer staying rental where the opinion was that a microwave and toaster oven were for shorter stays of guests. 

My buyer client was not planning to rent out but he had to understand the permitting and use before the inspection was finally accepted.

Pima County  has since loosened up on some of their guest house rules as they are so popular and we see multi generational living. This is often the same in other Arizona cities in their municipal zoning like in the Phoenix and Scottsdale metro areas.

The bottom line? Check out the permits and use requirements especially if you are planning to rent out the guest house and not use it for your own personal guests or personal use.


Here are the current Pima County, Arizona guest house rules:

"Guest houses are allowed with certain conditions that protect neighboring properties from adverse affect.  The standards listed in  the Pima County Zoning Code Section 18.09.020 (G) must be met.

A Guest house is a detached structure consisting of a minimum of two rooms and a bathroom, which may have a kitchen, used primarily by members of the family occupying the main dwelling and their non paying guests.  (Per 18.03.020  (G) (7))
Secondary dwelling for RH or GR-1 zones"


When can a guest house be allowed on a property?

A guest house shall be permitted on any residential or rural lot which has a minimum lot size of sixteen thousand square feet or more, and


A guest house shall meet the following Zoning Requirements:

Shall be no larger than forty-five percent of the floor area of the main dwelling

Only one guest house per lot shall be allowed

Minimum Yard Requirements:
Front: Must meet the minimum front yard setback for accessory buildings for the zone in which the guest house is located.
Side and Rear: Twenty feet
Distance to residence: Three feet

One additional on-site parking space shall be required for each bedroom within the guest house

Shall use the same access which serves the main dwelling (No new driveway or other access points allowed)

The guest house and the main dwelling shall not be served by separate utility meters"


Homes with a Guest House or Casita For Sale in the Phoenix Arizona Metro

Looking for a home for a Multi Generation Family including Mom and Dad? Here are Homes For Sale with GUEST HOUSE Phoenix metro of Arizona on the MLS UPDATED DAILY. As your Buyer's Realtor, I track homes for sale with include a guest house, casita or are a larger multi generation home that could be great for you! Read on for more...

ALWAYS UP TO DATE Homes For Sale with Guest House or Casita in Phoenix Arizona Metro

UPDATED DAILY Homes For Sale with GUEST HOUSE Phoenix metro on a FULL PAGE view and also create your own filtered FREE MLS SEARCH PORTAL in Arizona. As your Buyer's Realtor I can show you any of these homes on the MLS.

How about Phoenix metro area Homes for sale with a mother in law quarters with a separate entrance or casita? Take a look here for a list, pictures, prices and free MLS search. There are larger and smaller homes here, but a separate place for Mom or guests.

Living in the Phoenix Metro Area including Scottsdale                 

Jeff Masich, REALTOR® discusses living and buying a home in Phoenix metro area and Scottsdale

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Meet Jeff Masich, REALTOR® and call/text 480-242-6500 or at https://ArizonaHomesLand.com to get started

To learn more about Scottsdale living or in the Phoenix metro area and to see homes for sale Scottsdale Homes For Sale or Arizona Homes For Sale.

Here is a FREE MLS Search and your very own MLS Search Portal for homes for sale in Arizona. Jeff Masich would be pleased to help you find Arizona Homes For Sale and the right home at the right price!

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Jeff Masich


Scottsdale including Phoenix, Tucson and Prescott metros and throughout Arizona

Buy/Sell with Arizona Homes and Land Group. Ask me, Group Leader about Metro Homes or Ranches and Large Acreage properties throughout the state.

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Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Yes we had similar issues about bathrooms in guest houses.... and then the wild west of ADU's came along, now it is a different story:)Endre

Mar 27, 2023 10:20 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Jeff - sometimes rules make sense and sometimes they don't.  At times, they are relatively easy to follow.  Then there are those occasions where adapting and adjusting "makes sense".  And then there are moments when moving on is the best solution.  These are challenges that become a regular part of life.  

There will be another, right.  There does not seem to be any "shortage".  Ever.  

Mar 28, 2023 03:35 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Jeff,

Always rules and regulations and some don't always make sense or is logical. They also become outdated. With the wave of the ADU it's certainly causing many to take a second look at zoning and restrictions. 

Mar 28, 2023 04:58 AM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Casita is definitely a West coast term. Odd that an oven would be considered a violation of ordnances.

Mar 28, 2023 06:41 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate Services

As Endre Barath, Jr. mentions, in the Wild Wild Wild Unruly Wild West of California, a multi-story dwelling can be built in a residential area between two single-story homes. Larger lots can build other structures (homes) and rent them. 

I get that we need some restrictions but the example you give in this post is just crazy no matter the reasons.  All of that over ovens. No exceptions for multi-generational living.

Thank you for your participation in the March to a Solution Challenge Jeff Masich-Scottsdale AZ Associate Broker,MBA,GRI 

Mar 28, 2023 08:28 AM
Jeff Masich-Scottsdale AZ Associate Broker,MBA,GRI
HomeSmart Real Estate - Scottsdale, AZ
Arizona Homes and Land Group/ Buy or Sell

I know what you mean Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist in this case they were trying to protect the neighbohood from the lot becoming multi family with the main house and two guest houses. To prevent the two guest homes from being rented out annually and not for guests the county put in the no oven rule as well as a rule for no separate power meter. The power had to come from the main house. Yes, one could still rent out the 2 guest houses with those conditions but it does it make it more difficult. My client was ok with that since he did not plan to rent the two guest houses out. Jeff

Mar 29, 2023 12:06 AM
Jeff Masich-Scottsdale AZ Associate Broker,MBA,GRI
HomeSmart Real Estate - Scottsdale, AZ
Arizona Homes and Land Group/ Buy or Sell

Righto Ed Silva casita is the Spanish and a little more romantic sounding. A "GUEST HOUSE" is more descriptive. Either way they are getting more and more popular with multi gen households.

Mar 29, 2023 12:08 AM
Jeff Masich-Scottsdale AZ Associate Broker,MBA,GRI
HomeSmart Real Estate - Scottsdale, AZ
Arizona Homes and Land Group/ Buy or Sell

Hi Dorie Dillard Austin TX . I guess everyone has a different perspective although I side with my buyer client on this one. Some neighbors do not want to see multiple rental units in the backyard with more cars coming in and out or parked on the street. Guest houses often turn into additional multi family rental units in a single family neighborhood. Jeff

Mar 29, 2023 12:11 AM
Jeff Masich-Scottsdale AZ Associate Broker,MBA,GRI
HomeSmart Real Estate - Scottsdale, AZ
Arizona Homes and Land Group/ Buy or Sell

Yes Michael Jacobs there is often a "fine line" in protecting the rights of a single homeowner and also the housing density issues in a single family neighborhood when it comes to guest houses and their real intent vs usage.

Mar 29, 2023 12:13 AM
Jeff Masich-Scottsdale AZ Associate Broker,MBA,GRI
HomeSmart Real Estate - Scottsdale, AZ
Arizona Homes and Land Group/ Buy or Sell

Hi Endre Barath, Jr. yes, the rules on guest houses in a multi gen world are changing before our eyes. Jeff

Mar 29, 2023 12:14 AM