April 5, 2021

Accessory Dwelling Units: Your Comprehensive Guide

California has been a hotspot for tiny home additions and secondary units for several decades. Over the past few years, the state has continuously refined its home addition laws to make room for accessory dwelling units. We’re going over why it’s worth investing in one for your California home and how Pasquini Engineering, Inc. is the right fit for your ADU project.


What Is An Accessory Dwelling Unit

accessory dwelling units callifornia pasquini engineering blog article 1 - Accessory Dwelling Units: Your Comprehensive Guide - blog

Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are smaller homes or units that are built on a property that already has a primary dwelling. The building codes differ across counties and municipalities in California, so it’s important to review these before deciding what you can build, who can use it, and under what circumstances. Note that a few California municipalities have low or no square foot minimums, which could allow you to build an ADU as a primary residence.


What Are The Benefits Of Accessory Dwelling Units

ADUs provide a great avenue for generating additional revenue and increasing the value of your property. Here’s how:

  • Increased Square Footage: When you complete an ADU, it increases the habitable square footage, which also increases property value.
  • Rentals: Homeowners can make a reliable income from ADUs by renting them out as short-term or even long-term dwellings.
  • Multi-Generational Living: Some jurisdictions only allow ADUs to be occupied by seniors or family members who have disabilities.
  • Sustainability: Tiny homes allow many people to simplify their way of life, which is why many people move into their ADUs and rent out the primary dwelling instead.


The Role Of Accessory Dwelling Units In California

Homeowners aren’t the only people who benefit from ADUs. They might also provide the answer to California’s growing housing crisis. As more people are priced out of the housing market, ADUs might present a much more affordable living arrangement. In fact, Santa Cruz homeowners can receive forgivable loans of up to $40,000 to cover accessory dwelling unit cost when rented to lower-income families.


New ADU Funding Laws That Went Into Effect Starting In January 2021

accessory dwelling units callifornia pasquini engineering blog article - Accessory Dwelling Units: Your Comprehensive Guide - blog

The strong support has manifested itself in the form of new laws that improve and clarify the building process. The idea was to promote the development of ADUs, including junior accessory dwelling units (JADUs). New laws recently came into effect that compelled planning and zoning departments to make a decision on ADUs in just 60 days. This was a drastic reduction from the previous wait time of 120 days. Here are some additional developments:

  • ADUs smaller than 750 square feet became exempt from impact fees.
  • Homeowners who convert their garages into ADUs do not need to meet off-street parking requirements.
  • Local agencies can no longer impose certain minimum requirements for ADUs.
  • Local agencies can set limits on sizes, but it must be more than 850 or 1,000 square feet.
  • Homeowners are no longer required to meet owner-occupancy requirements until 2025.


Pasquini Engineering, Inc. And ADUs

Not surprisingly, there has been a drastic increase in how many clients ask us about ADU building services. Because of this, we keep our ears to the ground and track all new developments. This allows us to answer homeowners’ and contractors’ questions and build ADUs that are to proper spec across California. We can also advise homeowners on the uses currently allowed in their areas, so they know what to expect before they commit to the project.



Are you looking for a reliable civil engineer and licensed design professional that uses innovative ways to successfully execute an accessory dwelling unit project? Look no further! Contact us for an accessory dwelling unit quote today.


DISCLAIMER: Pasquini Engineering, Inc. is licensed to work in the following states: California, Oregon, Florida, Arizona, Nevada and Texas. All the information on Pasquini Engineering, Inc. is published for general information purposes only, and will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with the use of our website. By using our website, you hereby consent to our disclaimer and agree to its terms.








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