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Pasadena ADUs

Everything about building Accessory Dwelling Units in Pasadena, CA

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

Last Updated 01/26/21


City Hint: The city permitted a total of 16 ADU projects in the past year of 2019, which is below the average compared to other cities in California.

Number of ADUs allowed:

Under state law, each single-family home may now build at least one Accessory Dwelling Unit. Owner occupied single-family parcels may build one Accessory Dwelling Unit and one JADU. Multi-family parcels, per every four existing residential units, may build one Accessory Dwelling Unit, so long as the existing units were legally established.

Types of ADUs allowed:

Detached ADU, Attached ADU, Junior ADU are allowed. ADUs may be new construction or converted from existing space. JADUs must be converted from existing space.

Lot size:

ADU projects on single family or multi-family residential properties will not be subject to the minimum lot size of the underlying local zoning code or by special ordinance. ~ According To AB68

ADU size:

Single-family and multi-family Properties will be approved to create up to 850 sq.ft. for a one bed ADU or up to 1,000 sq.ft. for a two bed ADU, regardless of the underlying zoning standards of the property. A JADU up to 500 sq.ft. is approved. The minimum size of any living unit (including Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)s and JADUs) is 150 sq.ft. according to California Residential Code. ~ Updated: State Law AB-68


Setbacks for a detached new construction Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) shall be no more than 4 ft. from the rear and side lot lines. No setbacks shall be required for Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)s and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units converted from legally eastablished existing space. Attached new construction Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)s and conversions from existing space to be expanded must comply with the setbacks of the underlying zone. ~ AB68


Replacement parking shall not apply to parcels which convert an existing garage to an ADU or Junior Accessort Dwelling Unit (JADU). ~ AB-68

Fire Safety:

Side and REAR setbacks must be sufficient for fire safety. Fire sprinklers are not required for the ADU unless they are required for the primary home.

Shape, materials and style:

The ADU should be designed to be consistent with the primary home in character and materials.


Conversion of existing spaces that are attached a second story is allowed, as long as the existing 2nd floor space is a legally permitted space. For detached existing spaces, they are allowed to have a second story as long as the existing 2nd floor space is a legally permitted space. New construction attached are only allowed if the existing house is two stories. New construction detached two story ADUs are prohibited.

Design review:

The Director or his designee shall review and approve, conditionally approve, or deny ministerial permits for accessory dwelling units conforming to the provisions of this section within the time limits specified by Government Code Section 65852.2 or successor provision.

Number of Bedrooms:

Not specified by State Standards.


Owner-occupancy will not be required for new Accessory Dwelling Units (conversion and new construction) built between 2020 and 2025. ~ SB13 Update

Utility connections:

Local health officer approval where a private sewage disposal system is being used, if required. (State requirements)

Historic Requirements:

Some flexibility from the standards of this ordinance is allowed for the relocation of a historic resource onto the front of a property with an existing single-family residence. Flexibility could include using the rear house as an accessory dwelling unit even though it may exceed the maximum size for an accessory dwelling unit. Waivers from these standards to accommodate the relocation of a historic resource shall be subject to the review and approval of the Director.


There is an independent exterior access from the existing residence. No entry to an accessory dwelling unit shaII be visible from the public right-of-way.

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. ***

ADUs are allowed in RS and RM zones.

Residential Building Code:

The California Building Code (CBC) 2019 is adopted.

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ADU Design Library

Browse hundreds of models to find the right fit for your property.

ADU Model 600 sqft

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ADU Model 500 sqft

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ADU Model 600 sqft

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Customer Reviews

"Housable has been a great resource regarding my ADU project. I purchased both the Property and Design Reports. In both cases, they delivered as promised and on time."

Ed in Corona, CA

"My experience with Housable was exceptional. The team was extremely helpful and responsive. I am very satisfied and happy to have used these services. As a home owner I do not know the construction lingo or process but the Housable team very kind and helpful and patient with me. My expectations were exceeded. Thank you for everything."

Monica H. in Oakland, CA

"The property report was great! Made me feel like my project is feasible."

Alexandria in Santa Ana, CA

Complete 5-Step Process

Browse hundreds of permit-ready ADU designs and order one to customize to your needs.
Connect with local contractors to get site visits and cost estimates for your project.
Mark up changes to your plans and provide critical info needed to permit your project.
Finalize your project blueprints to submit for building permits.
Select your contractor and build your project.

What our customers say:

Customer Reviews

"My permits were APPROVED, thank you for all your hard work. I am in the process of meeting with contractors. "

Mary S. in San Jose, CA

"I just wanted to let you know that the permit process has been completed and we are currently in the construction phase. The work you guys did was great and I will definitely be using this service again in the future. I will keep you guys updated on anything important. Thanks!"

Patrick L. in Orange County, CA

Detached ADU - Completed in 2020
1,003 sq. ft., 3 bed, 2 bath

Estimate Your ADU Potential
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: $3.66) * (ADU's Living Space: sqft)

Check your property's zoning, browse designs & get contractor estimates for your ADU project:

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