San Diego

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Accessory and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU/JADU)

  ADU/JADU Updates | Sept. 2022

  • The San Diego Housing Commission’s (SDHC) Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Finance Program helps homeowners with low income in the City of San Diego build ADUs on their property. The program provides financial assistance in the form of construction loans and technical assistance that helps homeowners understand and complete the process of building an ADU. Learn more
  • Have questions about building an ADU on your property? Schedule a free virtual Planning and Zoning appointment.
  • New PDF icon Info Bulletin!! 
  • View the PDF icon regulations outside the Coastal Overlay Zone effective April 10, 2022, including new setback and landscape requirements. 
  • View the regulations within the Coastal Overlay Zone certified by the California Coastal Commission on Sept.  7, 2022, which includes a Process 1 Coastal Development Permit for non-appealable areas. 

ADUs are detached or attached accessory structures on a residential lot that provide independent living areas. ADUs are intended as permanent housing solutions and shall not be used for rental terms of less than 31 consecutive days.

ADUs can be integrated into existing single-family or multi-family properties. They can be designed in various 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 ADUs and JADUs



ADUs and JADUs are an integral part of the City's Housing SD initiatives to increase housing affordability and supply citywide. The City has amended regulations that make it easier and less expensive to build ADUs and JADUs, providing affordable and below-market housing throughout the City.

Some of these changes include:

  • Digital plan review, expedited processing and construction inspection times.
  • A property with a Single Dwelling Unit may have both an ADU and a JADU.
  • A property with Multiple Dwelling Units may have two detached ADUs and may convert habitable and non-habitable spaces to ADUs.
  • The maximum size is 1,200 square feet, attached or detached.
  • Encroachments into the side and rear yards.
  • No parking required: Replacement parking is not required for conversions of garages.
  • Bonus ADU Program for Affordable ADUs.
  • Rental terms are for a minimum of 31 days.
  • Waiving Development Impact Fees, Facility Benefit Assessment Fees and General Plan Maintenance Fees.

Municipal Code

Fee Schedule


Publications and Resources

*Contact each jurisdiction for the latest version of their plans. Once customized for your application, they must be submitted in PDF format. PDF icon View PDF requirements.

FAQ - Single Dwelling Unit Zones Outside of the Coastal Overlay Zone

Can I build a new detached JADU?

No, a JADU must be within the envelope of an existing Single Primary Dwelling Unit, within a proposed Single Primary Dwelling Unit or within an attached garage. 

Can I have an access door between my JADU and my primary dwelling unit?

Yes, but the JADU must also have a separate exterior entry.

Am I required to provide a kitchen in my ADU or JADU?

Yes. ADUs must have a permanent facility for cooking. This includes the installation of a sink, refrigeration facilities, as well as a stove, a range top or an oven.  JADUs must have an efficiency kitchen, which shall include a cooking facility with appliances, a food preparation counter and storage cabinets that are of reasonable size in relation to the size of the JADU.

Do I have to replace any parking spaces if I convert or demolish a garage or carport to a JADU or ADU?

No. However, if the construction of an ADU or JADU involves the conversion or demolition of an existing covered parking structure and the existing driveway curb is not in conformance with current city standards, the driveway shall be closed to the satisfaction of the City Engineer. 

I am at the maximum allowed floor area ratio of my zone, can I still construct an ADU? If so, what is the maximum size I can construct?

Yes. However, if you exceed the maximum FAR of the zone, you are limited to one (1) ADU with a maximum gross floor area of 800 square feet.

Can I use my existing driveway as a parking space? 

Yes. The parking spaces must meet minimum dimension standards. 9’ x 18’ for parking spaces with wall or column on one side. 9’-6” x 18’ for parking spaces with a wall or column on two sides.  8’ x 18’ for all others.

I have previously permitted floor area encroaching into my front setback and/or street-side setback. Can I convert this area to an ADU?

Yes, however, no additional floor area can encroach into the front and/or street-side setbacks.

If I want to construct an ADU or JADU with a balcony, rooftop deck, or exterior stairs, are there any regulations I should be mindful of?

Yes. These proposed encroachments should be in conformance with PDF icon §131.0461 of the San Diego Municipal Code.

I am in a Single Dwelling Unit Zone, but I have previously permitted multiple dwelling units. How many ADUs can I build?

The regulations allow for the following:

  • •    Two detached ADUs.
  • •    The conversion of 25% of the existing previously permitted multiple dwelling units.
  • •    Unlimited ADUs when converting non-habitable areas of an existing multiple dwelling unit building.