An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a legal and regulatory term for a secondary house or apartment that shares the building lot of a larger, primary home. The unit cannot be bought or sold separately, but they are often used to provide additional income through rent or to house a family member. For example, an elderly parent could live in a small unit and avoid having to move to an assisted living facility.
An ADU is an accessory dwelling unit with complete independent living facilities for one or more persons and has a few variations:
The unit is separated from the primary structure.
The unit is attached to the primary structure.
Space on the lot of the primary residence that is converted into an independent living unit.
A specific type of conversion of existing space that is contained entirely within an existing or proposed single-family residence
A statewide exemption ADU is an ADU of up to 800 square feet, 16 feet in height, as potentially limited by a local agency, and with 4 feet side and rear yard setbacks. ADU law requires that no lot coverage, floor area ratio, open space, or minimum lot size will preclude the construction of a statewide exemption ADU.
California has a long way to go before solving our housing crisis but they also understand where to start. It's by allowing more housing to be built. Hence the new ADU updates. Learn more...
Once a "completed" application is submitted, the local jurisdiction has 60 days to decision the permit application. Learn more...
There's a difference between what you can do and what you should do. ADUs are meant to cost you sell than building an entirely brand new home from the ground up. In order to avoid most traditional impact fees the size of your ADU should be below 750 square feet. That's the sweet spot. Learn more...
At some point you had to be living on site in order to qualify for the new ADU laws. But that is not the case anymore. Every California home can have up to 2 ADUs regardless of where the property owner actually lives. Learn more...
This might be the best law change to come out of the December 2020 ADU updates. Local agencies must delay enforcement against a qualifying substandard ADU for 5 years! As long as the Violation is not a health and safety issue. Get that ADU legalized.
It is any home that has an additional self-contained living space on the property. The terms for ADUs vary widely from location to location, and by type of ADU.
Some terms used to describe accessory dwelling units are the following: