Secondary Dwelling Unit | Build or legalize your accessory dwelling unit in California
Recent changes in California have given the residents in our state a great opportunity to build a secondary dwelling unit, now officially called Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs,) that can be rented out behind any Single Family Dwelling in residential zones.
The City of Los Angeles building department will allow Accessory Dwelling Units up to 1,200 square feet. These units can be rented out and will have their own separate address and utility meters, in effect turning a single family residence into a multi-family income generating property.
What are ADUs?
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are known by many names: granny flats, in-law units, backyard cottages, secondary units and more. No matter what you call them, ADUs are an innovative, affordable, effective option for adding much-needed housing in California.
- ADUs are an affordable type of home to construct in California because they do not require paying for land, major new infrastructure, structured parking, or elevators.
- ADUs can provide a source of income for homeowners.
- ADUs are built with cost-effective wood frame construction, which is significantly less costly than homes in new multifamily infill buildings.
- ADUs allow extended families to be near one another while maintaining privacy.
- ADUs can provide as much living space as many newly-built apartments and condominiums, and they’re suited well for couples, small families, friends, young people, and seniors.
- ADUs give homeowners the flexibility to share independent living areas with family members and others, allowing seniors to age in place as they require more care.
Technical Assistance Booklet
Information for cities, counties, other local government bodies, and homeowners interested in adding an accessory dwelling unit to their property.
Download the entire booklet (PDF) or select one of the following excerpts:
- Understanding ADUs and Their Importance (PDF)
- Summary of Recent Changes to Accessory Dwelling Unit Laws (PDF)
- Frequently Asked Questions: Accessory Dwelling Units (PDF)
- Frequently Asked Questions: Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (PDF)
- Sample ADU Ordinance (PDF)
- Sample JADU Ordinance (PDF)
- State Standards Checklist (PDF)