Check rules for adding an ADU to a building using the Local Program

If you are building an ADU with the Local Program, follow these rules

These rules only apply to ADUs in the Local program. California state law affects whether we can subject some ADUs to rent stabilization.

Rent Ordinance for new ADUs

Your new units will be subject to the Rent Ordinance if:

  • You are building a Local program ADU
  • You are adding an ADU to an existing building that already has a rental unit subject to the Rent Ordinance
  • You request a waiver for your project

The Rent Ordinance regulates evictions and rents. See more from the SF Rent Board.

You must register these units with a Regulatory Agreement called a Costa Hawkins Agreement. Here is a template for a Costa Hawkins Agreement.


Depending on your property and ADU plans, you may need a Waiver to build your ADU. A waiver is an exception to a Planning Code requirement.

For ADUs added to existing buildings, we grant waivers or partial waivers for requirements for:

  • Density (or the amount of residential units on a property)
  • Open space (or the amount of outdoor useable space per unit)
  • Rear yard (or the amount of back yard)
  • Exposure (or the amount of windows that a unit has or amount of open area that it’s facing onto)

For ADUs added to new constriction, we grant waivers for density requirements only. 

We do not grant waivers for ceiling height, ventilation, fire safety, and exits. These are Building Code requirements. See more info in EG-05 and FS-05.

Other activities

You may need to work with the Rent Board on other actions.

Last updated November 15, 2022