Schedule ADU Consultation
(916) 249-1279 ext: 074
Schedule ADU Consultation (916) 249-1279 ext: 074

Sacramento ADUs

Everything about building Accessory Dwelling Units in Sacramento, CA

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Sacramento ADU Guidelines Last Updated 10/13/20

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


City Hint: The city permitted a total of 57 ADU projects in the past year of 2019, which is below the average compared to other cities in California.

Number of ADUs allowed:

The City of Sacramento allows a total of two ADUs on a single lot/parcel. There must me an existing (or proposed) primary residential structure on the property (i.e. house, duplex, etc.). The total square footage of all ADUs on a single lot/parcel shall not exceed 1,200 ft2. For example, two ADUs (400 ft2 + 800 ft2 = 1200 ft2).

Multi-family lots, per every four existing residential units, may build one Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), so long as the existing units were legally established.

Types of ADUs allowed:

Detached ADU, Attached ADU, Junior ADU are permitted. ADUs may be new construction or converted from existing space. JADUs 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 Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) projects. ~ Updated: State Law AB-68

ADU size:

The maximum size of a single ADU is 1,200 ft2. In addition, the total square footage of all ADUs on the property shall not exceed 1,200 ft2 (excluding stairs and garages).
• Attached ADUs may be 50% of the primary structure or a maximum of 850 ft2, whichever is greater.
• Attached ADUs with two or more bedrooms may be 50% of the primary residence or a maximum of 1,000 ft2, whichever is greater


Setbacks (Distance from property line): Structures are required to be located a certain distance (in feet) from the property line, depending on the zone in which your property is located.
Conversion: no setback requirements if you are converting an existing structure into an ADU (i.e. a garage on the property line).
One Story: no side yard and rear yard setback. (Must be at least 60-feet from the front property line or comply with two-story setbacks)
Two Story: 4-foot side yard and rear yard setback, or property’s zone, whichever is less.
The ADUs front yard and street side yard setbacks must comply with the property’s zone.
New detached ADUs must be a minimum of 4-feet from the primary residence.


Parking: No parking is required for an ADU

Fire Safety:

ADUs meeting all the following are exempt from fire sprinkler requirements:
1) Detached ADUs - If the main home is not sprinkled and the ADU (not including the garage) does not exceed 1,200 ft2.
2) Attached ADUs - If the existing home is not sprinkled, the addition is not more than 50% of the original structure, and the total structure including the addition does not exceed 3,600 ft2.

Shape, materials and style:

The ADU unit shall be designed to be architecturally compatible with the primary single-unit dwelling and the surrounding neighborhood in terms of scale; massing; and color, material, and texture of all exterior materials, including the roof, siding, window types, detailing, and trim.

New ADU units should use universal access design features, including “no step” entrances, where topography and site constraints allow.
No portion of a ADU unit balcony, deck, or open-stair landing that faces the rear lot line or the side lot line nearest to the ADU unit shall be higher than three feet from the ground. For ADU units that do not meet the zoning designation’s setback requirements for the primary dwelling unit, no portion of any window that faces the lot line where the setback requirement for the primary dwelling unit is not met may extend above 10 feet from the ground.


Maximum Height: Ranges from 18 feet and above, depending on the property’s zone.

Design review:

The design of the ADU unit shall conform to the design guidelines applicable to the lot on which the ADU unit is located. If the design of the primary single-unit dwelling or surrounding neighborhood conflict with the applicable design guidelines, the design guidelines control.

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. ~ SB-13

Utility connections:

Public sewer and water facilities shall be provided in the RD zones. Per the City’s Department of Utilities (DOU), City code section 13.04.070 requires that each lot or parcel shall have only one water service connection, unless otherwise approved by the Director of Utilities. Thus, a separate water meter tap is not required for ADUs.

Historic Requirements

A secondary dwelling unit located within a historic district or accessory to a landmark is subject to site plan and design review.


No passageway shall be required in conjunction with the construction of a secondary dwelling unit.

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. ***

Lot Coverage

A secondary dwelling unit shall not be included in the calculation of the density of the lot on which the secondary dwelling unit is located.

Existing Structures

Conversion of existing structures: The requirements in subsections A through D, above, do not apply to a secondary dwelling unit that (1) is entirely contained within an existing single-unit dwelling or existing legally-constructed accessory structure, (2) is not located within a historic district or, if located within a historic district, does not involve modifications to the exterior of the existing structure, (3) does not involve a landmark or, if involving a landmark, does not involve modifications to the exterior of the landmark, (4) has exterior access independent from the existing primary dwelling unit, and (5) the side and rear setbacks are sufficient for fire safety.


Deviations from development and design standards.

A request to deviate from the development standards contained in subsection C and the design guidelines contained in subsection D may be made by application for site plan and design review under chapter 17.808. (Ord. 2017-0008 § 7; Ord. 2013-0020 § 1; Ord. 2013-0007 § 1)

Residential Building Code:

The California Building Code (CBC) 2019 is adopted.

Sacramento City Planning Offices

City of Sacramento Community Development Department

300 Richards Boulevard, 3rd Floor Sacramento, CA 95811 Sacramento, CA 95811

Call/Text ADU Operator (916) 249-1279
Dial Ext: 074
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ADU Design Library

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

ADU Model 483 sqft

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ADU Model 400 sqft

W 20 ft L 20 ft

ADU Model 920 sqft

W 34 ft L 30 ft

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.
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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: $2.06) * (ADU's Living Space: sqft)

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

Everything you need to get accurate estimates from contractors for your ADU project. Get help with ADU feasibility, design, permitting and sourcing contractors for your project in one place.

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