Single-Family Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are attached or detached accessory dwellings that are accessory to primary Residential Facilities located on the same lot and provide complete independent facilities for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation. ADUs require both Planning/Zoning and Building Bureau review.

Date Posted: November 17th, 2020 @ 4:38 PM
Last Updated: February 15th, 2022 @ 5:32 PM

When Are Permits Required?

Single Family ADU icon

All Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) require a Design Review Exemption (DRX) Permit from the Planning/Zoning Bureau, along with Building Permits.

Here are the categories of Single-Family ADUs under California state law:

    • JUNIOR ADU (JADU): Involves conversion of space within the building envelope of an existing or proposed One-Family Residential Facility, resulting in a living unit of not more than 500 sq. ft., requiring owner-occupancy in the JADU or primary dwelling unit.
    • CATEGORY ONE ADU: Involves either conversion of space within an existing One-Family Residential Facility, or conversion or rebuild of an existing accessory structure; includes no expansion of the existing building envelope other than up to 150 sq. ft. for purposes of accommodating ADU access and egress only.
    • CATEGORY TWO ADU: Involves construction of a new detached or attached accessory structure, including an exterior addition to an existing or proposed One-Family Residential Facility to accommodate the ADU.

Please note that a Category 1 OR a Category 2 ADU may be combined on the lot with one JADU. However, a lot may NOT contain both a Category 1 ADU and a Category 2 ADU. If a lot contains two ADUs, one must be a JADU.

IMPORTANT METERING UPDATE! Please note that separate utility meters may be required for your ADU as per California Public Utility Code (P.U.Code) Section 780.5. Please read our joint ADU bulletin with PG&E for details.

See below for step-by-step requirements to apply for your ADU permits or review our Guidebook to Single-Family ADUs.

Who Can Be Issued a Permit?

  1. Contractors who are licensed by the State of California with a classification appropriate for the work that will be performed and have a current Business Tax Certificate.
  2. Owners of a building or their legal representative.

How to Apply

APPLY ONLINE:

Ready to get started? First, make sure you are registered and activated at our Online Permit Center. For instructions, please visit our Planning & Building Video Tutorials webpage.

Download the Single-Family ADU Application and follow these steps:

STEP ONE: Planning/Zoning Review
  • Complete all required information, checklist, documents, and plans as outlined in the "Zoning Requirements, Step 1" section on page 2 of the ADU Application
  • Submit a Zoning Worksheet through our Online Permit Center
  • In the Worksheet, upload your completed ADU Application and all required plans and documents
  • A planner will review your submission
  • Once approved, you will receive a decision letter from the Bureau of Planning
  • Proceed to STEP TWO
STEP TWO: Building Permit
  • Ensure that all required information, checklist, documents, and plans are accurate and complete as outlined in the "Building Requirements, Step 2" section on page 2 of the ADU Application
  • Once advised by the Zoning Division, submit a Building Worksheet through our Online Permit Center
  • In the Worksheet, upload any required Building Permit Application form(s) and associated plans and documents

WHAT'S NEXT?

Once we receive your application and have created it in our system, we will review your plans. If your plans require corrections or if we need further information, we will contact you. Once you've gone through Steps 1 and 2, we will contact you to issue your permit. Depending on our workload and the complexity of the project, the process may take between 6-8 weeks from the date the City receives a completed application to the date when we issue your permit (subject to time limits set forth in California Government Code 65852.2).

QUESTIONS?

Call (510) 238-3911 or find quick answers through our Permit Questions Portal.

Additional Resources