Is an ADU Right for You?

Before considering the construction of an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) on your property or a Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit (JADU) conversion, here are some things to consider. As with any construction project – large or small – contact Lenton Company for a team of licensed professionals to move your project forward.

California ADUs Defined

As defined, an ADU is a unit with complete independent living facilities for one or more persons and has a few variations. The unit may be detached and separated from the primary structure, or it could be attached to the primary structure. It could also be a converted existing space – a master bedroom, attached garage, storage area, or similar use, or an accessory structure – on the lot of the primary residence that is converted into an independent living unit. A JADU is a specific type of conversion of existing space that is contained entirely within a current or proposed single-family residence.

ADUs with Benefits

According to the California Department of Housing and Community Development, benefits of ADUs include an affordable type of home to construct in California since they do not require paying for land, major new infrastructure, structured parking, or elevators. They can also be 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 and 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. ADUs can also provide a source of income for homeowners.

Current Laws Covering ADUs

Recent changes in Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) laws in California that became effective January 1, 2021, have reduced barriers, better streamlined approval processes, and expanded capacity to accommodate the development of ADUs. With the passage of SB 13 in 2019 and AB 3182 in 2020, California now requires local jurisdictions to lift restrictions and allow ADUs to be built on almost any property with a single-family residence. Could more restrictive laws come back into place? It’s always a possibility.

Next Steps

For property owners interested in exploring the feasibility of constructing or converting a unit, the Lenton Company team of professionals can provide information on allowable ADU uses, types, setback requirements, parking, utilities, plans and submittals, along with realistic timelines and budgets.