Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU)

⇐ Click here for the City of Santa Paula's ADU Guidebook  

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) &  Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit (JADU)

Several State laws enacted in recent years require local governments to allow properties with one existing single family dwelling unit to add an ADU and/or a JADU by submission of building permits and payment of related fees.

What is an ADU?

ADUs go by many names. The State of California and the City of Santa Paula refer to them as Accessory Dwelling Units, but they are also commonly referred to as “second units,” “granny flats,” “in-law suites,” “tiny homes” and / or “cottages.” An ADU is a small residential unit on a permanent foundation that is intended to provide relatively affordable housing for family members, the elderly, students, in-home health care providers, the disabled, and others within existing neighborhoods and on existing legal lots with a “Primary Unit” single family dwelling. ADUs may be a new detached structure in the rear yard (with or without a garage), an attachment to the existing Primary Unit, a conversion of a detached or attached garage, the conversion of several rooms within the Primary Unit, or a combination of converting rooms and a new addition. An ADU must have its own living and sleeping areas and a full kitchen and bathroom, and be at least 220 square feet in total size.

What is the maximum allowable size of an ADU?

ADU size (attached or detached) shall not exceed 50% of existing living area or 1,200 square feet, whichever is smaller. Additions must also comply with the lot coverage requirements of the lot’s zone. Lot coverage is any area of the lot covered by buildings, solid patio covers, projecting balconies, decks, or other similar built or impervious features. In certain cases, lots in which the construction of an ADU would violate lot coverage or setback requirements are still permitted to build up to 800 square feet according to state law. In addition, ADUs of 749 square feet or smaller are not subject to impact fees, which can save money in permitting costs.

What is a JADU?

A Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit (JADU) is a residential unit that is contained entirely within an existing or proposed single-family structure. It either includes its own separate bathroom facilities or shares bathroom facilities with the single-family structure. If the unit does not include its own separate bathroom, then it must contain an interior entrance to the main living area of the single-family structure in addition to an exterior entrance that is separate from the main entrance to the primary dwelling.

What is the maximum allowable size of a JADU?

A JADU shall be no more than 500 square feet in size.

Can I build both an ADU and JADU on my property?

If your lot is a legal lot of record that has an existing single family residence as the Primary Unit (or a single family residence is proposed through a separate permit request) in a residential or mixed-use zone, California State Law allows you to build one ADU and/or one JADU if there are adequate water and wastewater services, minimum setback requirements are maintained, and fire and life safety standards are met. All ADUs and JADUs are subject to building code standards and require building permits.

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What if my lot is deed restricted or my HOA does not allow ADUs?

After several bills were enacted in 2019 and 2020, local Homeowner Associations (HOAs) cannot unreasonably prohibit the construction or use of ADUs or JADUs. Individual HOAs may, however, require additional design standards that the City does not. The City generally does not intervene between an HOA and its members in interpreting State Law as it applies to any one HOA. This is a civil matter between private parties to be resolved by those parties or their agent(s).

Am I required to live on the property?

California State Law does not require the property owner(s) to reside on the property if the ADU is permitted between January 1, 2020 and January 1, 2025. JADUs are only allowed on properties that are owner-occupied. In addition, ADU's shall not be offered for sale separate from the primary property.

Am I allowed to rent my ADU?

Per State Law, all ADUs may only be rented for periods of longer than 30 days. Short-term rentals (AirBnB, etc.) of less than 30 days are not permitted.

Are ADUs allowed in a multifamily structure?

State law allows conversion of non-livable space within multifamily structures (two or more units in the same structure) to one or more ADU’s. In addition, a multifamily property may add one or two newly constructed ADUs on the property, space permitting. The total number ADUs may not exceed 25% of the total of existing units. JADUs are not allowed in multifamily properties.

Do I have to provide parking for an ADU?

No off-street parking spaces are required for any new or converted ADU. When a garage, carport, or covered parking structure is demolished in conjunction with the construction of an ADU or conversion to an ADU, those off-street parking spaces are not required to be replaced.

Please refer to the City's ADU Guidebook for further information.