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Oakland, California: ADU Regulations

Are ADUs allowed in Oakland:

Yes!

Date Updated:

07.02.2019

Number of ADUs allowed:

One ADU per Primary Unit per lot.

Types of ADUs allowed:

Category One – Exist entirely within an existing one-family dwelling or existing detached accessory structure (considered as Conversion or Junior ADUs in other municipalities)

Category Two – All other ADUs including units (a) not entirely within the building envelope of an existing structure that was in legal existence prior to January 1, 2017; and (b) involve either construction of a new structure, or an exterior addition to an existing structure

Lot size:

No min/max provided the ADU can maintain necessary setbacks.

ADU size:

All: Min 220 sq. ft. of superficial floor area, and additional 100 sq. ft. of superficial floor area for each occupant of such unit in excess of two.

Category Two: Attached ADUs have no max restrictions. Detached units may not exceed 800 sq. ft. or 75% of the floor area of the primary dwelling, whichever is less.

Setbacks:

Category One ADUs do not require any changes to setbacks.
Category Two ADUs must be no closer than 4' from side and rear lot lines. ADUs located above a garage shall not be required to have a side or rear setback of more than 5'.

Attached ADUs have no setback restrictions. A detached ADU may extend into a required side and rear setback up to 4 feet from the lot line. No more than 50% of the horizontal area of the required rear yard may be covered by structure over 6 feet high. All other Secondary Units must meet the setbacks adopted for that residential zone.

Parking:

Category One ADUs do not require any additional parking spaces.

Category Two ADUs must comply with prescribed applicable individual zone regulations, unless ADU (a) is located within one-half mile of a public transit stop, (b) is located in an API or ASI as defined in the Historic Preservation Element of the General Plan, (c) is located in an area where on-street parking permits are required but not offered to the occupant of an ADU, or (d) is within one block of a dedicated car share parking space. Parking may be provided in tandem.

In CBD, S-2, D-LM zones, except when combined with the S-11 or S-12 Zone, no additional parking is required. In any other zone, except when combined with the S-11 or S-12 Zone, one parking space is required unless otherwise specified above. In any zone combined with the S-11 Zone, one space per bedroom in the ADU up to a maximum of two spaces is required unless otherwise specified above. In any zone combined with the S-12 Zone, one parking space per bedroom in the ADU is required unless otherwise specified above.

Fire Safety:

ADUs are only required to provide fire sprinklers if such devices are required for the primary structure.

Note: Fire Department regulations should be assessed on a project by project basis.

Shape, materials, and style:

Detached units must be clearly subordinate to the main dwelling in both size and location. Additionally,  exterior materials must be visually compatible.

Height:

Minimum of 7’ for habitable areas and 6’8” for non-habitable areas. 

For detached ADUs a maximum wall height is 10 feet and roof height is 14 feet.

Design review:

Category Two ADU shall be clearly subordinate to the primary dwelling unit in size and location. Also, the exterior materials of a Category Two ADU shall match or be visually compatible with that of the primary dwelling unit, including the siding material, roof shape and/or pitch, roofing material, trim material and design, and window types.

Design applications will be considered ministerially, without discretionary review or a hearing. No public notice is required.

Note: Historic Neighborhoods or Districts should be assessed on a project by project basis.

Ownership:

The ADU may be rented, but only be for Permanent Residential Activities on a 30-day or longer basis and may not be sold separately from the primary dwelling. Unlike many districts, the property owner is not required to live in either the Primary or Secondary Unit.

Utility Connections:

Detached units may require new or separate utility connections, but the connection fee or capacity charge shall be proportionate to the burden of the new unit on the water or sewer system.

Note: Drainage and sewer connections should be assessed on a project by project basis.

Permit Fees:  

Permit Page:

Potential Rental Income:

According to Zillow.com, an ADU in Oakland can generate $24,000+ in possible rental income per year.

Important Note: Rules and regulations are updated and changed frequently. It’s one of our jobs to be up to speed and navigate those regulations. Let us know if our website isn’t up to date or if you have any information that could help. Cheers!