Top 5 Things to know about ADUs and Junior ADUs

Many of our clients have been inquiring about Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADU) that we thought it was a good idea to put together this blog entry about what they are, how to plan for them and anticipated costs. 

Some history … in 2016 California legislators decided that in order to create more affordable housing quickly they would allow ADUs and JADUs to be built in all single-family residential areas.  So, unless you are restricted by CC&Rs or another zoning issue, you can build another unit for someone to live on your property in all residential zoning districts.  Please note these are meant to house people for longer terms and cannot be used for vacation rentals.

1- What is an ADU?  An ADU is an attached or detached unit that can be either newly built from the ground-up or a remodel from a existing house, garage or shed.  How large an ADU you can build depends on whether you are in the county or the city jurisdiction, on city water and sewer or private well and septic. However, no matter what your property configuration is, the maximum allowable size is 1200 sf.  An ADU has all the typical rooms that any single family residence has; kitchen, living areas, bathroom, etc., and can be required to have a separate parking space.   Other than obtaining building permits for the structure itself the other technicality in the application process is that the howeowner must sign a deed restriction which, depending on the jurisdiction, states that you will live in the main residence or the ADU full time or it can state that you can only rent it out to someone living in the ADU full time.

2 – What is a JADU?  A JADU is created out of space from your main residence.  It is typically a conversion of one of your bedrooms with a maximum size of 500 sf and includes an efficiency kitchen, like a kitchen unit (below), but the unit can share a bathroom with the main house.  Additionally, it will need a separate exterior entrance but often no extra parking is required.  A similar deed restriction is required for the JADU.

A simple kitchenette unit or you could . . . .

A simple kitchenette unit or you could . . . .

take that old attached garage and get something like this.

take that old attached garage and get something like this.

3 – Agency Costs.  Costs for a permit depending on the size of the unit.  Typically, if you keep the unit below 750 sf there are no impact fees (i.e. park or capital improvements) but you will pay building permit fees.  Above 750 sf typically there will be some fees but they are reduced.

4 – Construction Costs.  Construction costs are difficult to project since every situation is different.  However, if you have a bedroom that can be easily converted to a JADU and would only need an entry door and kitchen unit, we recommend budgeting around $10,000 to $15,000.  To build a new detached ADU you should plan on @ $325/sf. from foundation to finish. 

5 – So why build?  If you’re thinking that you would like to provide a home for a loved one in need of care, or provide housing for relatives or friends, or feel safer by having someone living nearby, or have a space for guests, or increase the value of their home, or create a place for a caregiver to stay, or even earn extra income from renting to a tenant; ADU’s and/or JADU’s might be a consideration in your future. 

If you have any questions or would like to speak to us about an ADU or JADU on your property give us a call at 707 823 8915.