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How to Calculate ADU Permit Fees For Your California Municipality

Permitting costs vary widely by city, and it’s important to know this information before you start building your ADU.

A couple of years ago, if you asked whether you could build an ADU on your residential property, you may have gotten an ambiguous answer. It all depended on the local permitting and zoning regulations. Some California cities made it relatively easy to build, but others charge exorbitant permitting fees, sometimes more than the cost of the ADU itself. In some cities, fees could be as high as $50,000.

In addition, they required large minimum lot sizes that made construction very difficult for the average homeowner. As a result, many people were effectively blocked from ADU construction.

All of this changed in 2020 with the passage of new state laws that significantly reduced the obstacles to building an ADU on any residential property in California. SB 13 in particular set limits on the amount that city planning offices can charge in permit fees.

The new law sets a tiered fee structure based on size and location. This represents the end of exorbitant fees across the state of California - though you of course will still have to pay fees which vary based on your specific location. The good news is that Housable has assembled a database of permit fees for every municipality in California, and you can access it for free.

If you’d like to learn your city’s permit fees, just go to Housable’s homepage and search your address and city. Then click “permitting fees” and you will find a detailed breakout of the information you need.

This includes permit and impact fees, from the basic application to all structural reviews like building, electrical, and mechanical. Once you have this information, you will have a clearer idea of whether building an ADU makes sense on your property.

In addition, you can use this search function to estimate your eligibility to build an ADU and obtain other important information. When you are ready to take things to the next level, order the Property Report, which will give you final confirmation from your City Planning Office regarding whether you can build.

Get started today!

The Team at Housable