San Diego

Accessibility Tools

  • Check if your spelling is correct, or try removing filters.
  • Remove quotes around phrases to match each word individually: "blue drop" will match less than blue drop.
  • You can require or exclude terms using + and -: big +blue drop will require a match on blue while big blue -drop will exclude results that contain drop.

Companion/Junior Units

Companion Units, also referred to as accessory dwelling units, casitas, cottages or granny flats, are detached or attached accessory structures on a residential lot that:

  1. Provide living facilities for one or more persons;
  2. Are independent of the primary dwelling unit; and
  3. Include permanent provisions for living, sleeping and cooking.

A Junior Unit is an accessory structure that is contained entirely within an existing, habitable single dwelling unit.

Both Companion and Junior Units can be integrated in existing single-family or multi-family properties and can be designed in a variety of ways, including converting a portion of an existing house, adding to the existing house, converting an existing garage or constructing a new detached structure. Learn more about PDF icon Companion and Junior Units


Companion and Junior Units are an integral part of the City's Housing SD initiatives that will help increase housing affordability and supply citywide. The City has amended regulations make it easier and less expensive to build Companion and Junior Units, helping to provide affordable and below market housing throughout the City. These amendments include:

  • Expediting permit processing, plan review and construction inspection times.  
  • Increasing zoning flexibility.
  • Waiving Development Impact Fees, Facility Benefit Assessment Fees and General Plan Maintenance Fees.  
  • Increasing the maximum size of a project from 700 square feet to 1,200 square feet. 
  • Maintaining the existing setbacks for a permitted garage or a non-habitable accessory structure that is converted to a Companion Unit. 
  • Exempting qualified projects from requirements to create new parking space.  
  • Requiring that rental periods for Companion or Junior Units be greater than 30 days. 

Here is a summary of the Companion Unit applications received, construction permits issued and the number of Companion Units completed by year. 

Year Applications
2019 479* 323* 148*
2018 409 266 72
2017 142 32 15
2016 19 18 19

*The data provided is current as of Oct. 7, 2019.

Municipal Code:


Fee Schedule:


Publications and Resources:

You must have Javascript enabled to use this form.