Accessory Dwelling Units
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?”
There are two programs for adding ADU(s) to your property:
- Waiver ADUs - this program applies to projects in multi-unit buildings and sing-family homes that require waivers from the Planning Code to add the ADU, or 207(c)(4)
- No Waiver ADUs - this program applies to single-family homes that do not require any waivers from the Planning Code, or 207(c)(6)
*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: http://sfdbi.org/UnitLegalization.
- 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: Due to recently adopted Code changes to expand and improve the ADU program since completion of this version of the ADU Handbook in 2015, some of the sections of this document may be out of date. We are the in process of updating the ADU Handbook and anticipate publication of the revised version in early 2018. The prototypes continue to be generally applicable, along with other general background information on ADUs, however the regulatory controls described under "Section 2: Zoning" are being updated. In addition, new laws may allow more flexibility and additional design options than discussed in this document. Please check back in early 2018 for the updated handbook. If you have questions, please contact the Planning Department using the contact information listed below.
- 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 www.accessorydwelling.org a one-stop website about accessory dwelling units
If you have questions about the program, please contact staff at:
- 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)
Required: 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.
- Waiver ADU Fact Sheet and FAQ
- No Waiver ADU Fact Sheet and FAQ
- Ordinance 0162-16, ADU Legislation (Planning Code Summary for 0162-16)
- Ordinance 95-17, Amendments to ADU Legislation (Planning Code Summary for 95-17)
- Ordinance 0162-17, Amendments to ADU Legislation (Planning Code Summary for 0162-17)
- Ordinance 0043-14, Legalizing of Dwelling Units Installed without Permits (Planning Code Summary for 0043-14)
If you would like staff to attend an upcoming neighborhood or organization meeting, please contact Kimia Haddadan, firstname.lastname@example.org.