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?"

There are two programs for adding ADU(s) to your property:

*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?
  • cover image of handbookADU 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expand and improve the ADU program since completion of the Handbook in 2015, some of the sections of this document are out-of-date – we are in the process of updating the ADU Handbook and anticipate publication of the revised version in summer 2018.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 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


Legislative Documents and Code Summary Updates

Event Coordinator

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

ADU Handbook