California ADU Laws 2022


We talked to Kendyl Young, Managing Partner at ADU DIGGS, a design/build ADU company specializing in Ventura County and Los Angeles County. You can see their models at


Jeff: Kendyl, why are ADUs so popular now?

Kendyl: Two reasons. We have a big housing shortage and ADUs are a great alternative for people with a housing need. The second reason is that California enacted a raft of new laws for ADUs that removed restrictions and made things easier. These laws are passed at the state level and it limits or removes the local government’s ability to remove or override them. This means it is a lot easier to understand what you can build in your own backyard.

Jeff: What are some of those laws?

Kendyl: Here is a recap of the most important points and what they mean for your future backyard home. You can read the full California Department of Housing and Community Development Accessory Dwelling Unit policy HERE.


California ADU Law Creates The Ideal Detached ADUThe ideal accessory dwelling unit in California

  • Under 800 SF
  • Less than 16 ft in height
  • Set Backs, 4 ft from back and sides, 6 ft from main home

A Backyard home like this is allowed anywhere in the state of California- local government can’t say “no”, and they can’t add additional permit fees (known as impact fees).

The maximum size for a detached ADU can vary by local jurisdiction.


Reduced Permit Fees

Impact fees are additional permit fees added by local government when homeowners add living space to their homes. The fees are supposed to offset growing infrastructure costs like schools and roads. These fees can add anywhere from $3,000 – $30,000 to a construction project.

The new California ADU laws prohibit these impact fees for any ADU that is less than 750 SF.


Add More Than One ADU

In general- a homeowner can add one detached ADU and one attached Junior ADU (JADU) per single-family home.

SB-9 is a very recent California ADU law that allows a homeowner to split their lot into two lots. Each lot can have a home and an ADU for a total of 4 housing units and the separate lot can be sold. The homeowner must occupy one of the units.


No Lot Size Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding lot size or lot coverage. This means even small lots can add a backyard home.


No Owner Occupancy Requirements

The homeowner is not required to live in any of the housing units. Prior to the new state accessory dwelling laws individual cities could choose to require owner occupancy.

This means investors are able to add ADUs and JADUS to create more rental housing.


Reduced Parking Requirements

You are not required to add off-street parking as long as your site is within 1/2 miles from a public transportation stop.


HOA and Historic Districts Can’t Say No

You can add an ADU even if your home owner’s association laws restrict or prohibit them. This is also true for historic overlay districts. They can impose requirements around aesthetics and visibility- but they can’t say no.

Jeff: Wow, that is a log of information. It’s also kind of confusing! What should our readers do if they aren’t sure about building an ADU in their yard?

Kendyl: I think the first call should be to you, Jeff. You can help them analyze all their housing choices! But when it comes to ADUs they can click the link below to schedule a free consultation. We are here to help.


Is An ADU Possible In Your Backyard?

Does your backyard qualify under the new California ADU laws? Get our Free Consultation to find out what is possible for your property.

Click Here To Schedule Your Free Consultation


Kendyl Young is the managing partner at ADU DIGGS, a design/build company located in Montrose, CA. They deliver architectural Backyard Homes for an affordable price and all-in White Glove service. 3 models are available in 4 styles starting at $151,000. See our models and options at