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Accessory Dwelling Units: Outlining New Opportunities in the Bay Area – by Malika Junaid

Jul , 6
Accessory Dwelling Units: Outlining New Opportunities in the Bay Area – by Malika Junaid

This year has been one of many changes, and not all of them ideal. However, if you live in California, there is one recent and very significant change that stands out for homeowners. Laws have recently shifted to allow accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and junior accessory dwelling units (JADUs) on residential properties. Better yet, exorbitant local impact fees have been removed (for the most part), making ADUs more viable than ever.

While the precise regulations differ slightly between municipalities, property owners in the Bay Area can now plan for a guest house, in-law suite, home office, addition,or conversion to expand their living space or enable rental income.

The new laws are a response to the housing crisis in California. With it, lawmakers are hoping to stimulate jobs, provide new avenues for income,and open up access to affordable housing options for more Californians.

What Is An ADU?
An ADU is a self-contained residential unit on a residential-zoned property. It can be attached to the primary dwelling,or it can be completely detached, but to be a true ADU or JADU, it must provide independent living facilities for one or more people. It must also be located on a property with an existing or proposed residence on site.

JADUs can be built in addition to the ADU, but it must be owner-occupied. Generally, a JADU is 800 sqft or less, can be added on to the primary residence or an ADU and must be owner-occupied.For example, if you had a JADU on your property in addition to an ADU, whether it is attached or detached, you could use it for a home office or guest suite but not as a tenant suite.

ADU rules also apply to garage conversions and basement conversions, allowing you to create a new, self-contained living space within an existing space for income purposes. Under the new legislation, ADUs can be established in parts of the home other than the basement.

Benefits of an ADU or JADU

If you have been thinking about adding on to your home or converting an underused space, turning that new space into an ADU has many positive benefits. For example:
  1. Rental income givesyou an immediate return on your investment.
  2. Increasethe resale value of your property.
  3. Improve your quality of life withamore versatileand flexibleliving space.
  4. Empty nester? Turn underused square footage into income.
  5. Optimizeyour work-from-home routine.
  6. Give your teens some autonomy.

Need more inspiration? Just ask!

New Laws Make Approvals for ADUs or JADU’s Faster and Easier
In the past, the biggest barriers to building an ADU were the fees and regulations cities were allowed to impose. There were often restrictions on set-backs, permits, unit size, parking, and owner-occupancy regulations, and impact fees were sometimes in excess of $50 thousand. To add to the frustration, the rationale for these fees was not always clear.

In 2019, the State of California took back control of the ADU process with the ultimate goal of making ADUs more affordable, accessible, and easier to push through the approval process–all in the interest of stimulating numbers in the affordable housing initiative and making ADU construction faster and more affordable than ever before.

If You Have Questions, We’ve Got Answers!
If you live in Palo Alto, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Portola Valley, Woodside, Redwood, or anywhere in the San Francisco Bay area or the Peninsula, we would love to help bring your ADU ideas to life. Reach out today, and let’s start the conversation.

  1. Shazia Jang

    Malika ,
    Have you done any detached in Woodside ? We are looking to make one .

    • Malika Junaid

      Thank you for your message. We have experience with all kinds of ADU’s in different areas, attached and detached. I will send you an email to share more details.

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