Accessory Dwelling Units
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), also called secondary units, in-law units, or cottages, are units added to existing residential buildings.
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 an ADU to your property, below (update August 2018: new ADU legislation is currently proposed - contact CPC.ADU@sfgov.org for status and details):
- Waiver ADUs - this program applies to projects in multi-unit buildings and single-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expand and improve the ADU program since completion of the Handbook in 2015, some of the sections of this document are out-of-date – we are in the process of updating the ADU Handbook and anticipate publication of the revised version in summer 2018. Please direct any questions to 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 includes Rental Unit(s) (as defined by Section 37.2(r) of the Administrative Code), and Planning Code waivers are granted, the new unit will be subject to rent control. Generally speaking, these existing buildings are already subject to rent-control. 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, and is required to be fully executed prior to permit issuance.
- 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 Project Application 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 Marcelle Boudreaux, firstname.lastname@example.org.