What is a Zero-Lot-Line House?

A zero-lot-line house is a house whose structure goes right up the edge of the property line.

How Does a Zero-Lot-Line House Work?

Let's say John Doe buys a tiny tenth-of-an-acre lot and decides to build a house on it. The lot is 55 feet wide. In order to create more indoor living space (and because he has no interest in having a back yard), he builds a house that is exactly 55 feet wide so that he uses up all the space he has purchased.

A more common example of a zero-lot-line house, however, is a rowhouse. Common in large metropolitan centers, these houses are often on long, narrow lots and abut one another.

Why Does a Zero-Lot-Line House Matter?

Zero-lot-line houses are great for people who do not want to maintain their properties or have outdoor living space. However, there is little buffer from the neighbors. When built in the wrong neighborhoods, they can create strife among people who are used to houses that have a 'set back' or 'building envelope.'