With soaring demand and high housing costs, Northern California homeowners have long needed a solution to the housing crisis. What many of them are learning is that adding an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) can create extra living space on their property and even provide a new source of income.

San Jose’s City Council has also recognized that ADUs are a smart way to create more housing in densely populated areas, without changing the look or charm of neighborhoods. The Council recently approved changes to the rules governing ADUs, which go into effect on July 27, 2018 and allow more homeowners to take advantage of the benefits of adding an ADU to their property.

Under the new rules, an ADU can be built on a lot that is at least 3,000 square feet, down from the previous minimum size of 5,445 square feet. This change will have the biggest impact on older neighborhoods, where lot sizes tend to be smaller. Also, ADUs that are at least 800 square feet in size are now permitted to have two bedrooms.

The new rules also allow for larger ADUs, two-story ADUs, and relaxed requirements for setbacks, designs, and available parking. Though one parking spot is still required for an ADU, there are now reasons why a property might be granted an exemption—such as the unit being located within half a mile of a bus stop or rail station.

The new rules also allow for much more flexibility in size and design: a one-story ADU can be up to 18 feet tall, and a two-story unit, or an ADU over a detached garage or other structure, can be built to a maximum height of 22 feet.

Finally, the new rules allow ADUs to be constructed in most neighborhoods where single-family homes already exist—even in historic districts.

Adding an ADU is a great way to add living space to your property, provide a place for guests or relatives to stay, or help find income, literally, in your own backyard.

Ready to take advantage of these new changes and build your accessory dwelling unit? Contact us today for a free, in-home design consultation.