Check if you can add new Accessory Dwelling Units to your residential property

You may be able to add additional accessory dwelling units (ADUs), also known as granny flats, in-law units, cottages, or garage apartments to your existing or proposed building.

What to do

1. Decide if an ADU is right for you

To make more housing available, the City and State has made it easier to build ADUs. 

You can use the space for family members or to rent out for extra income.

Consider these limitations as well:

  • An ADU cannot be used for short-term rentals
  • Renting out your ADU will likely increase your income tax
  • In most cases an ADU cannot be sold separately from the main property
  • Adding an ADU will likely increase the value of your property, which means you will pay more property tax

2. Decide about type of ADU(s)

You can pick from a variety of ADU options, including ADUs that convert an existing part of your home, expand your home to add an ADU, or build a new, free-standing, backyard cottage. 

Check which ADU best suits you and if you qualify.

Depending on which option you pick, some restrictions will apply to your ADU and your ADU may be subject to laws about rental units in San Francisco. See more in Section 37.2 of the Administrative Code.

3. Check if you are eligible to add an ADU to your property

Special cases

Eviction history

If you are building an ADU under the Local ADU program, ADUs cannot be added to buildings that had:

  • An owner move-in eviction in the last 5 years
  • A no-fault eviction in the last 10 years

If there was an eviction for capital improvements, the property owner must show that they notified the tenant of their right to reoccupy.

Get help

Last updated March 01, 2021

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