STATEWIDE UPDATE: New California ADU Bills SB13, AB68, AB881, AB670 have passed. These laws will create more options for building an ADU in Berkeley in 2020. To prepare for the upcoming changes use our ADU Services to learn how these laws will effect your property!
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Last Updated 08/11/19


The city government of Berkeley has updated its local zoning codes to comply with the State ADU mandate.
The California Building Code (CBC) 2016 is adopted with the following amendment(s): 7,516-N.S. to 7,518-N.S. CALGreen
Relevant state bill updates for SB13, AB68, AB881, AB670 are shown in green below.


City Hint: The city permitted a total of 80 ADU project(s) in the past year of 2018, which makes it above average for ADU production compared to other cities statewide.


Number of ADUs allowed:

One accessory dwelling unit allowed per lot with one primary dwelling unit.

AB68 & AB881 Update: Properties which convert existing space to create ADUs may be eligible for one ADU -AND- one JADU.

Types of ADUs allowed:

Detached ADU, attached ADU, junior ADU.

Lot size:

No minimum lot size is required.

AB68 & AB881 Update: Properties will not be subject to minimum lot standards by ordinance or of the applicable zoning district.

ADU size:

The ADU will be limited to 750 square feet or 75% of the main residence, whichever is less.

AB68 & AB881 Update: Properties will be allowed up to 850 square feet for a one bedroom or up to 1,000 square feet for a two bedroom ADU.


Side and rear setbacks are 4 feet minimum from property lines, but no setback will be required when the ADU will replace existing structures within the required setback area.

AB68 & AB881 Update: The maximum required setback for a detached new construction ADU shall be no more than 4 feet from the rear or side property lines.


Tandem parking in driveways is allowed, including driveways where the 2 FT strip minimum landscaping requirement is not met. proposed to be built within a quarter mile of a BART station ~and~ located within an RPP zone will have no additional parking requirements.

AB68 & AB881 Update: Properties which convert an existing garage will not be subject to replacement parking requirements.

Fire Safety:

1. An ADU can only be allowed if the fire flow and water pressure to meet the minimum fire safety standards.
2. may be allowed on lots on streets that do not meet minimum fire safety standards.

Shape, materials and style:

Accessory structure should resemble primary dwelling in shape, style and materials used (walls, doors, windows and rooftop materials).


ADUs are allowed to be one 1 story.

Design review:

No design review is needed in permitting process.

Number of Bedrooms:

Not specified by State Standards.


The property owner must occupy either the primary dwelling unit or the ADU.

SB13 Update: Owner-occupancy requirements for ADUs will be voided statewide for 5 years.

Utility Connections

shall not be considered new residential uses for the purposed of calculating utility connection fees or capacity charges.

Permit Fees

SB13 Update: Local impact fees for ADUs will be reduced substantially statewide.


ADU entrance cannot be on front of primary dwelling unit and must be separate from primary dwelling unit entrance.

Allowed Zones

R‐1, R‐1A, R‐2, R‐2A, R‐3, R‐4, R‐5, R‐S, R‐SMU

AB68 & AB881 Update: ADUs will be allowed statewide in all single-family or multi-family zoning districts.

Open Space

New Comply with the coverage requirement of the district.
Existing* N/A

Lot Coverage

New Comply with the coverage requirement of the district.
Existing* N/A

Street Width

Street width must be greater than 26’. If greater than 20’ but less than 26’, then may be approved by an Administrative Use Permit (AUP).


* “Existing” applies to ADUs created from existing, legal dwellings, accessory structures or buildings with no change to building massing (building footprint and roof height do not change).

SB13 Update: Amnesty program to permit unpermitted units will be administered statewide, allowing non-health and safety code violations to be deferred.

Residential Building Code:

The California Building Code (CBC) 2016 is adopted with the following amendment(s): 7,516-N.S. to 7,518-N.S. CALGreen

Berkeley City Planning Offices

Berkeley Planning & Zoning Office

2118 Milvia St., Berkeley, CA Berkeley, CA 94704

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Costs / ROI


* upon completion of ADU


* based on local average price per sqft


* estimated by location


* 30 years / 5% interest rate / 20% down payment


Appreciation Estimate = (Base Value: $) / (Home's Living Space: sqft) * (ADU's Living Space: sqft)

Rental Estimate = (Rent Per Sqft: $4.57) * (ADU's Living Space: sqft)

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