STATEWIDE UPDATE: New California ADU Bills SB13, AB68, AB881, AB670 have passed. These laws will create more options for building an ADU in Oakland 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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Oakland ADU Guidelines Last Updated 08/11/19


The city government of Oakland 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): 13401, 13419, 13408
Relevant state bill updates for SB13, AB68, AB881, AB670 are shown in green below.


City Hint: In The City of Oakland, there is no requirement for the property to be owner-occupied in order to add an ADU.

City Hint: The city has not yet responded to requests for ADU permit volumes for the past year, but they will be provided here once response has been received.


Number of ADUs allowed:

A total of one primary dwelling Unit and one ADU Unit are allowed per lot.

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 allowed.

Category One: Located entirely within the building envelope of a One-Family Dwelling Facility or detached accessory structure legally in existence prior to January 1, 2017; involve no expansion of the existing structure; have independent exterior access; and side and REAR setbacks are sufficient for fire safety

Category Two: Involve construction of a new structure, or an exterior addition to an existing structure.

Lot size:

No minimum lot size, so long as the property is a legal lot of record.

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

ADU size:

Category One: No size restriction. Category Two: May not exceed 800 square feet or 75% of the floor area of the existing Single-Family Dwelling, 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.


Category One: No setback restrictions, other than those sufficient for fire safety. Category Two: A detached ADU may extend into a required side and the 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 the facilities over 6 feet high. An ADU located above a garage and conforming to maximum height and other applicable regulations is not required to have a side or a rear setback of more than 5 feet. All other ADUs must meet the setbacks required for the underlying zone.

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.


If a covered parking structure is demolished to construct a ADU, the replacement parking may be located in any configuration (including covered, uncovered, tandem or mechanical lift).

Category One: No additional parking is required.

Category Two: No additional parking is required for ADUs located:
Within ½ mile of a bus stop, train station or, if appropriate, para-transit stop; or In a historic district; or Where on-street parking permits are required but not offered to the ADU occupant; or Within one block of a fixed car-share pick-up/drop-off spot.

For all other Category Two ADUs:

One parking space per unit required in zones other than S-11 and S-12.
In S-11, one space per bedroom, up to maximum of 2 per unit.
In S-12, one space per bedroom.

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

Fire Safety:

An ADU is only required to provide fire sprinklers if sprinklers are required for the Primary Unit. The fire flow and water pressure on the adjoining streets must meet minimum Fire Marshal requirements.

Shape, materials and style:

Category One: No architectural compatibility requirements are applicable.

Category Two: Must be clearly subordinate to the primary dwelling in size and location; exterior materials must match or be visually compatible.


Category One: No height restriction Category Two: For attached or detached ADUs outside required setbacks, height limits are consistent with standards for that zone. For detached ADUs within a required side or rear yard, maximum wall height is 10 feet and roof height is 14 feet.

Design review:

Design review exemption, to be processed within 120 days of application receipt. The application will be considered, without discretionary review or a hearing. No public notice is required, and public input cannot be considered per State law.

Number of Bedrooms:

Not specified by State Standards.


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.

The property owner is not required to live in either the primary home or the ADU.

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

Utility Connections

Category One: No new or separate utility connection shall be required.

Category Two: A new or separate utility connection may be required, but the connection fee or capacity charge shall be proportionate to the burden of ADU on the water or sewer system.

Permit Fees

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


A "Secondary unit" (also known as “accessory dwelling unit,” “in-law unit”, or “granny flat”) is an attached or detached accessory dwelling unit that is located on the same lot as an existing One-Family Dwelling facility; provides complete independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation; and meets the standards and criteria of Section 17.103.080.

Emergency Access

Category One: No restrictions apply.

Category Two: Not permitted within the S-9 Fire Safety Protection Combining Zone. Outside of the S-9 Zone, not permitted if accessed by a street with pavement less than 20 feet wide or by a dead-end street longer than 600 feet.

Residential Building Code:

The California Building Code (CBC) 2016 is adopted with the following amendment(s): 13401, 13419, 13408

Oakland City Planning Offices

City of Oakland: Zoning and Planning Commission

250 Frank H Ogawa Plaza Suite 2114 Oakland, CA 94612 Oakland, CA 94612

Oakland ADU Marketplace

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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: $3.97) * (ADU's Living Space: sqft)

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