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An accessory dwelling unit, or commonly referred to as “ADU”, is a second permanent dwelling on the same property as a primary dwelling. ADUs provide complete independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation.
All properties with an existing or proposed residential dwelling may have an ADU. The ADU may be constructed prior to, at the same time or after the primary dwelling unit.
All residential properties are allowed to construct an ADU of at least 800 sf. In some cases, a larger unit up to 1,200 sf may be allowed. If you are considering more than 800 sf, contact the Planning Division at (916) 727-4740 for specifics on your property.
An attached ADU is a living unit that is either contained within the walls of the primary dwelling i.e. conversion of garage or bedroom, or is newly constructed and shares a common wall with the primary dwelling
Detached ADUs must have a minimum four foot side and rear yard setback. If the ADU is created through the conversion of space in an existing detached structure, i.e. garage, the existing setback may be maintained provided it is sufficient for fire safety.
Attached ADUs shall maintain a five foot side yard setback and a 20 foot rear yard setback. In some cases, the rear yard setback for attached units may be reduced to 10 ft. If your project requires a reduced rear yard setback, contact the Planning Division at (916) 727-4740 to see if your property qualifies.
There may be other factors such as easements that will increase the required setback. Additionally, it is not recommended to build right up to the setback line. Many times during construction if the structure appears too close to the setback, the property owner may be required to have the property surveyed during the inspection process. To find out if your property has easements that need to be considered, please refer to your property’s title report.
There is no maximum number of bedrooms provided the floorspace of the unit does not exceed the allowed size.
The floorspace of the ADU will include all areas accessed from within the unit. For example, if the unit has an attached garage that is accessible from within the ADU, the floorspace will include both the unit and the garage. If the garage is not accessible from within the ADU, the floorspace would only include the ADU.
The maximum height allowed for a detached ADU is 18 ft with an additional 2 ft allowed for accommodating roof pitch. If the ADU is attached to the primary home, the maximum allowed height is 30 ft.
If the ADU is above a detached building, such as a stand-alone garage, the maximum height allowed is 25 ft.
The unit does not have to be occupied by family. The ADU may be used for rental property but it may not be used for short-term rentals (less than 31 days).
A manufactured home may be used provided it meets the qualifications of Section 18007 of the Health and Safety Code.
A moveable living unit, or “tiny home” does not meet the city’s zoning regulations. Therefore, tiny homes may not be used as an ADU.
Additional parking, or replacement parking when converting a garage, is not required.
Yes, if it is a legal structure. However, it must meet current building and fire codes since it will be considered a change in use. To be considered an ADU, the unit must provide provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation.
Properties developed with a single-family residence may have one standard ADU (either attached or detached) and one Junior ADU.
A junior ADU is space within the “envelope” of the primary dwelling which is converted into separate living space, typically a bedroom or attached garage. To be considered a JADU, the following requirements must be meet:
Property owner must record a deed restriction to the property’s title prohibiting the sale of the JADU separate from the sale of the primary residence and restricting the size and attributes of the JADU.
Separate service is not required but your utilities will need to be sized to meet the additional demand or load of the new ADU. Some properties may need to upgrade utilities for more capacity. You will need contact your specific service providers on capacity questions.
ADUs must meet energy code requirements including the provision to provide solar. There are exceptions for units which have certain amounts of shade cover.
For more information on energy requirements, visit the CA Energy Commission’s website or speak to a building professional.
If the primary dwelling has sprinklers, the ADU will be required to have sprinklers.
A building permit is required.
The building permit fee varies depending on the size of the unit and whether it is a conversion, new structure or manufactured unit. In addition to the building permit fees, some projects also pay impact fees. To encourage the development of ADUs, impact fees are waived for units 749 sq. ft. or less and units 750 sf and greater pay a reduced rate.
To obtain a fee quote, contact the Building Division at (916) 727-4760.
If the Assessor’s Office reappraises your property due to a change in ownership or new construction, you will be notified by mail of the new assessed value. This notification is known as a ‘Notice of Supplemental Assessment.’ Information on supplemental assessments is available on the Sacramento County Assessor’s Office webpage.