A zero lot line is a term used to describe when a boundary wall of a house or structure is built right on the property line to maximize space.
When a boundary wall of a structure is built right on the property line, it is said to have a zero lot line. This technique is used in both residential and commercial construction for a variety of reasons, with houses arranged in this way being called “zero lot houses”. In some regions, building codes may actually prevent people from building a structure that has this type of line, while in other areas, this type of construction may be allowed. Many subdivisions and housing subdivisions apply exemptions from setback rules, if any, so zero-lot homes can be built.
Both residential and commercial structures can be built to have a zero lot line, but building codes can prevent people from doing that.
One of the main reasons to build along the property line is to create more usable space on the lot, especially if the lot is small. A house with setbacks will be surrounded by several small lawn or garden beds that can require a lot of work for minimal returns. On the other hand, a house built along the property line may have a large outdoor area, which is why these structures are sometimes called garden, courtyard, or narrow houses.
In some zero-lot line structures, buildings that are next to each other actually share a wall.
Building along the property line can also be used to maximize interior space by building a larger structure or to eliminate the need for landscaping entirely by filling in the land, as is done with some retail businesses and townhomes. A store, for example, may collide with the sidewalk with walls very close to the property line and a small space in the back for parking.
Promoting zero-lot line development can encourage people to use available land more efficiently, and can sometimes be used to create greener projects, encouraging people to gather open spaces to create park-like areas that create habitats. . For example, houses in a housing project can cluster around a central common area, rather than each having a small backyard. People can also sometimes enjoy more privacy by pushing a home against one of the property lines.
There are some distinct disadvantages to building the zero lot line. One of the big problems is that it is often not possible to include windows as another structure may be on the other side of the property line, and sometimes structures even share a wall in a zero lot line development. Lack of space can also become an issue during disputes over noise and land use because there is no buffer between neighbors. Maintaining the exterior of the structure can also be a challenge, as any kind of cleaning, maintenance, and construction will encroach on neighboring property or public land.