ADU Programs & Resources

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CA Dept of Housing and Community Development

What are ADUs?

photo of house

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are known by many names: granny flats, in-law units, backyard cottages, secondary units and more. No matter what you call them, ADUs are an innovative, affordable, effective option for adding much-needed housing in California.

What are the benefits of ADUs?

  • ADUs are an affordable type of home to construct in California because they do not require paying for land, major new infrastructure, structured parking, or elevators.
  • ADUs can provide a source of income for homeowners.
  • ADUs are built with cost-effective wood frame construction, which is significantly less costly than homes in new multifamily infill buildings.
  • ADUs allow extended families to be near one another while maintaining privacy.
  • ADUs can provide as much living space as many newly-built apartments and condominiums, and they’re suited well for couples, small families, friends, young people, and seniors.
  • ADUs give homeowners the flexibility to share independent living areas with family members and others, allowing seniors to age in place as they require more care.

Technical Assistance Booklet

Downloadentire booklet(PDF)

Information for cities, counties, other local government bodies, and homeowners interested in adding an accessory dwelling unit to their property.

Download the entire booklet(PDF) or select one of the following excerpts:

 

Housing Trust Silicon Valley Small Homes, Big Impact Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Program

Small Homes, Big Impact is a new pilot program from Housing Trust offering free educational workshops and financial assistance to homeowners seeking to build a secondary dwelling – commonly known as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) – in their backyard.

The workshops intend to answer the following five questions:

  1. Can I build an ADU on my site?
  2. How do I get a permit to build an ADU?
  3. How do I hire a builder and manage construction?
  4. How do I pay for an ADU?
  5. I’m a landlord, now what?

The workshops are led by local ADU Practitioners (land use consultants, builders, designers, architects, lenders etc.) during a half day course, typically on a Saturday.

The financial assistance program is currently being developed, it will consist of a planning grant and a construction loan. Products will be available in early 2019, register for more information.

Home for All: San Mateo County Resource Center

Second units, backyard cottages, garage apartments, ADUs, or granny flats – no matter what you call them, it’s now easier than ever to build them in San Mateo County.  Visit the Second Unit Resource Center for ideas/stories/photos, information on how to build an ADU, and don't forget to checkout the Second Unit Calculator to see typical costs and rents.