Accessory and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU/JADU)
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 ADUs and JADUs.
ADUs and JADUs are integral to 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.
- Allowing the use of permit-ready, no-cost building plans from the County of San Diego and the City of Encinitas Permit-Ready Accessory Dwelling Unit (PRADU) program. The plans still must meet the City of San Diego submittal guidelines for a building permit.
- Effective Nov. 29, 2020, Amended ADU and JADU Regulations Outside Coastal Overlay Zone
Within the Coastal Overlay Zone, amendments will not apply until the California Coastal Commission certifies it as a Local Coastal Program Amendment. View the Strikeout Ordinance highlighting changes.
- Building Permit Procedures
- Additions and Modifications to the California Codes
- ADU and JADU Map: Conduct searches for ADUs and JADUs in the City of San Diego by location, time frame and application status.
- California Department of Housing and Urban Development ADU Handbook
- City of San Diego ADU Fact Sheet
- Information Bulletin 101 - Building Valuation
- Information Bulletin 117 - Building Permit Extension and Expiration
- Information Bulletin 118 - Construction Changes
- Information Bulletin 140 - Residential Addition/Remodel
- Information Bulletin 152 - Building Permit Submittal
- Information Bulletin 153 - Building Permit Issuance
- Information Bulletin 400 - ADU/Junior ADU
- Technical Bulletin RESD-3-4 - Sprinkler Requirements for ADUs
- Permit-ready design/building plans:
- City of Encinitas Permit-Ready Accessory Dwelling Unit (PRADU) program*
- County of San Diego*
*Contact each jurisdiction for the latest version of their plans. Once customized for your application, they must be submitted in PDF format. View PDF requirements.
The City’s “Affordable ADU Bonus” program was created in response to AB 671, which mandates local jurisdictions to incentivize the construction of affordable ADUs. The Affordable ADU bonus program allows for constructing one unrestricted ADU for every affordable ADU deed-restricted for 10 years or 15 years, depending on the affordable income level.
Outside Sustainable Development Areas, projects are limited to one more unrestricted ADU.
The number of additional ADUs within SDAs does not have a specific limit. In all instances, the number of bonus ADUs would be physically limited by zoning regulations such as:
- maximum allowable floor area ratio.
- lot coverage.
- structure height requirements.
This means that aside from setbacks, the ultimate building mass allowed would be no different than what a single dwelling unit or multi-family structure could build on the lot, depending on whether the ADU is located in a single-family or multi-family zone. The primary difference is the number of housing units provided.
- As part of O-21618, a pipeline provision was adopted, allowing projects that have submitted applications one year from the effective date of the Ordinance (May 6, 2023) to be subject to the rules in effect prior to the effective date of the Ordinance.
- Project applications submitted on or before May 5, 2024, may utilize the bonus ADU provisions on properties that are within a Transit Priority Area but outside of a Sustainable Development Area.
A written agreement and a deed of trust is required between the applicant and the San Diego Housing Commission, which is established as part of the ADU permit review and approval process.
- For ADUs restricted to very low-income and low-income households, the restriction shall apply for a period of not less than 10 years.
- For ADUs restricted to moderate-income households, the restriction shall apply for a period of not less than 15 years.
- The current AMI for a family of four is $116,800
- San Diego Housing Commission Income limits chart: https://sdhc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/AMIIncomeLimits-2023.pdf
- San Diego Housing Commission Income and Rent calculations spreadsheet: https://sdhc.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/AMIIncomeRentChart-2023.pdf
No. Only one JADU is permitted on a premises in the Single-Dwelling Unit Zone. JADUs are not permitted in Multiple Dwelling Unit Zones.
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.
Yes, but the JADU must also have a separate exterior entry.
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 does not conform with current city standards, the driveway shall be closed to the satisfaction of the City Engineer.
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.
Yes. The parking spaces must meet minimum dimension standards. 9’ x 18’ for parking spaces with a 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.
If I convert my existing garage to a JADU or ADU and my existing driveway length is less than the minimum driveway's dimension, do I have to close the curb-cut and install a new curb, gutter, and sidewalk?
Yes. However, no additional floor area can encroach into the front and/or street-side setbacks.
Yes. These proposed encroachments should be in conformance with §131.0461 of the San Diego Municipal Code.
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.
Yes. However, there must be at least one existing or proposed primary dwelling unit.
No, at least one existing or proposed primary dwelling unit must exist.
1 detached ADU with 800 square feet of new gross floor area. Exterior wall thickness is included in the gross floor area. See SDMC §113.0234 Calculating Gross Floor Area.