Accessory Dwelling Units

Curious about the benefits of adding an ADU to your property?
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Questions About Accessory Dwelling Units?

Please send any questions or inquiries to:


Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also called secondary units, in-law units, or cottages, are units added to existing residential buildings. In 2016, San Francisco’s Accessory Dwelling Unit Program became available Citywide in zoning districts that permit residential use.

Adding an ADU to your property can provide several benefits, such as providing housing for family members, simplifying your lifestyle, and increased financial flexibility. For more information on the benefits of ADUs, please see our video, “Are ADUs Right For You?

Recent amendments have been made to the Planning Code that may offer more flexibility to your project. One applies to projects in multi-unit buildings and single-family homes that require waivers from the Planning Code to add the ADU (207(c)(4). The other program applies to single-family homes that do not require any waivers from the Planning Code, or 207(c)(6). Please find more information below on the recent changes, which program applies to you, and how they may offer more flexibility to your ADU project.

*If you're looking to legalize an existing unauthorized unit, please review San Francisco Planning's Fact Sheet on the Legailzation program. More information is also available on the Department of Building Inspection webpage here:

  • Video: Are ADUs Right For You?
  • ADU Handbook:** The San Francisco Planning Department and OpenScope Studio developed a handbook to serve as a guide for homeowners and contractors when adding a unit to an existing residential building.
    ** Please note: At this time, the ADU handbook is being updated to reflect the recent changes in the ADU program.
  • An ADU financial calculator is available to estimate how many years it will take for an owner to break even on the costs of adding an ADU. Download the calculator here. | MS Excel file
    This calculator is originally from a one-stop website about accessory dwelling units

If you have questions about the program, please contact staff at:

Kimia Haddadan, Policy
Marcelle Boudreaux, Permits and
Program Implementation
Planning Information Center
1660 Mission Street, First Floor
San Francisco, CA


  • Look up your zoning information on the Property Information Map.
  • Draft Regulatory Agreement: If the existing building is rent controlled, and Planning Code waivers are granted, the new unit will also be rent controlled. A regulatory agreement will be created adding the new ADU under rent control. Please see a sample of the agreement here. The Regulatory agreement will be edited by Planning staff to reflect project specific conditions.
  • Dwelling Unit Legalization Program Fact Sheet
  • Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) and Legalization of Unauthorized Dwelling Units (UDU)
    Permit Intake Checklist - 12/07/16 revised 08/07/17 (all permits at intake also require the Supplemental Information Form.)
    Optional: Expansion Checklist for ADU and Legalization Permits
    Note: these permits are not over-the-counter and will be routed to the Flex Team within the Planning Department.

Legislative Documents and Code Summary Updates

Event Coordinator

If you would like staff to attend an upcoming neighborhood or organization meeting, please contact Kimia Haddadan,

ADU Handbook