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Oakland ADUs

Everything about building Accessory Dwelling Units in Oakland, CA

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Oakland ADU Guidelines Last Updated 05/23/20

PLANNING OFFICE The city planning office is not open to the public at this time, but is accepting ADU permit questions and applications.

The city government of Oakland has updated its local zoning codes to comply with the State ADU mandate.
The California Building Code (CBC) 2019 is adopted.
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:

Under state law, each single-family home may now construct at least one ADU. Owner occupied single-family properties may construct one ADU and one Junior ADU. Multi-family properties, per every four existing residential units, may construct one ADU, so long as the existing units were legally established.

As of January 1st, 2020

Types of ADUs allowed:

Detached ADU, Attached ADU, Junior ADU are approved. Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)s may be new construction or converted from existing space. Junior Accessory Dwelling Units must be converted from existing space.

Lot size:

Single family and multi-family residential parcels will not be subject to the minimum lot size of the underlying zoning district or by ordinance for ADU projects. ~ AB-68

As of January 1st, 2020

ADU size:

Residential properties will be allowed to construct up to 850 sq.ft. for a one bedroom ADU or up to 1,000 sq.ft. for a two bedroom ADU, regardless of the underlying zoning standards of the property. A Junior Accessort Dwelling Unit (JADU) is allowed up to 500 sq.ft.. According to Califronia Residential Code, the minimum size of any living unit is 150 sq.ft. (including Accessory Dwelling Units and Junior Accessort Dwelling Unit (JADU)s). ~ According To AB68

As of January 1st, 2020


The maximum required setback for a detached new construction Accessory Dwelling Unit shall be no more than 4 feet from the rear and side property lines. Setbacks will not be required for Accessory Dwelling Units and JADUs converted from existing space that was legally eastablished. Attached Accessory Dwelling Units and conversions from existing space to be expanded will be required to comply with the setbacks of the underlying zone. ~ Updated: State Law AB-68

As of January 1st, 2020


Replacement parking shall not apply to lots which convert an existing garage to an Accessory Dwelling Unit or Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit. ~ AB68

As of January 1st, 2020

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.


Between between 2020 and 2025, owner occupancy requirements will not apply to new Accessory Dwelling Units. (applicable to new construction and conversion units) ~ SB13

As of January 1st, 2020

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: As of January 1st, 2020, 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.

Allowed Zones:

*** Beginning in 2020, according to state law, all residential zoning districts, including single-family and multi-family, are allowed to build Accessory Dwelling Units. ***

As of January 1st, 2020

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) 2019 is adopted.

Oakland City Planning Offices

City of Oakland: Zoning and Planning Commission

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

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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


Size: 500 sqft


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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Expert Feasibility & Zoning Research

Expert Feasibility & Zoning Research

Use our ADU Property & Design Reports as a starting point to plan your ADU project. Our experts will do the legwork with your city or county planning office and design custom ADU concepts for your property and your needs.

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Get Your ADU Design Permit-Ready

Getting your designs ready for city permitting and construction can speed up your ADU project and reduce unforseen costs later on in the process.

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