Can you build an ADU on your property?
Local Building regulations can be complex and they change often. Particularly with ADUs, regulations seem to change weekly as new laws are enacted to help alleviate the housing crisis.
You have two options to find out if you can build an ADU.
Option 1 – Do It Yourself
Once you have decided what type of ADU you would like, before you do anything else, you should visit your local authority Planning & Building Department. Arrange for a meeting at the Department or visit during times that they are available for over the counter discussions. These Departments get very busy, so avoid the earliest times when contractors need to get their questions answered and be prepared to wait.
Most Planning & Building department are extremely helpful to homeowners who visit. They prefer to give advice before any work is done, rather than having to correct mistakes after the fact.
A typical introduction would be:
You might find the attached checklist to be helpful. (ATTACHMENT)
A likely response from the official would be to look up your address in their database and advise you of any site restrictions such as set-backs (distance from your boundary where you cannot build), size (square feet) and height (height above existing grade) limitations. Most Departments will have an ADU hand-out which will provide you with additional information.
This initial visit will help you answer the following questions:
- Can I build an ADU on my property?
- Are the limitations acceptable?
- Should I proceed to the next step?
Option 2 – Ask ADU HQ to do this work for you.
ADU HQ can do the research for you and deliver an ADU Feasibility Report. You’ll find out right away if the ADU you want to build is possible. For more information about ADU HQ Services, please visit our ADU HQ Feasibility Report page.