What is an ADU?

© Max Vakhtbovych Photo

What is an ADU?

What is an ADU? 1155 765 Tessa Maristela

Demand for housing in California is at a steep incline in ratio to its production rate. The fraction of houses built is less than 50% of what has been necessary in the last ten years. The increasingly unfulfilled demand forcibly influences housing costs, which consequently collide with affordability, and becomes a challenge to renters and homeowners alike.

An ADU is an alternative housing that addresses these challenges and provides benefits that both renters and homeowners can enjoy. ADUs stretch the bracket of housing categories to increase the endorsement of affordable housing for renters, while providing supplemental income and value to a homeowner’s property with extra square footage.

WHAT IS AN ADU?

An ADU or accessory dwelling unit is an additional living space to a primary residence that provides self-sustaining amenities. Utilities are conventionally connected to the single-family structure within the property. An ADU has its own kitchen, living/dining room, bedroom, bathroom and an exclusive entrance.

ADUs have a few diversities:

  • Detached: The unit is not connected to the main house. It could be a new building or a detached garage conversion.
  • Attached: The unit is an attached first floor/second-story addition to the main house.
  • Converted Interior Space: Also known as a JADU (junior accessory dwelling unit), the space is an existing part of the primary residence converted into an independent living unit. An attached garage, attic apartment or master bedroom are ideal conversions.

WHY BUILD AN ADU

Homeowners build ADUs for flexible reasons, including provision of habitable space for visiting guests or independent living to senior relatives, in-laws and grown-up children. The more prevailing reason why homeowners build ADUs is to create a stable source of auxiliary revenue. Renting ADU spaces establishes additional financial gains for mortgage payments or covering other living expenditures.

BUILDING PERMIT

Is a building permit required for an ADU? Absolutely. Local governments require a permit to legitimately build any habitable space within your property.

MAXIMUM ADU SIZE LIMITS

In July 2022, the California Department of Housing and Community Development updated ordinances, allowing for an ADU to have a maximum unit size of 850 square feet, or 1,000 square feet for ADUs with more than one bedroom. Local bureaus without any existing ADU laws in place permit a maximum unit size of 1,200 square feet for “a new detached ADU, and up to 50% of the floor area of the existing primary dwelling for an attached ADU (at least 800 square feet).”

A statewide exemption ADU is an ADU consisting of up to 800 square feet with a four-foot rear and side setbacks, and a structure height of 16 feet.

A JADU or junior accessory dwelling unit conversion should not exceed 500 square feet.

PROPERTY VALUE UPGRADE

Beside the additional monthly income derived from renting a space, an ADU appreciates the property valuation with the expansion of extra square footage. Given that a property owner selects the right model, manages his budget wisely and hires the right building professionals, an ADU can justifiably turn out to be among the most profitable investments for a homeowner like you.

* Photo Credit to ©Max Vakhtbovych