Accessory Dwelling Units - Secondary Units

In January of 2017, a new California state law took effect that encourages homeowners to build Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) also known as Secondary Units, Garage Apartments, Back Yard Homes, and Granny Flats. The state law authorizes cities and counties to enact their own local ordinances subject to certain restrictions. Therefore, each city ordinance must be evaluated individually.

Following are general guidelines that apply to most local ordinances:

  1. At least one additional parking space will have to be added, but not less than one per bedroom, unless the ADU is located within % mile of public transportation (bus stop). Street parking satisfies the requirement and tandem parking can be utilized.
  2. An attached garage may not be converted to an ADU if the vehicle door(s) open to the front of the lot.
  3. ADUs may not exceed 1,200 square feet.
  4. Building permits are required and most cities will not issue permits unless the plans have been approved by the homeowner association.