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Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU)


What is an ADU?

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a permanent dwelling unit that may share at least one wall with the primary residence (attached) or be a stand-alone structure (detached) from the primary residence. ADUs provide permanent facilities for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation.


How many can I build?

The City of Sacramento allows a total of two (2) ADUs on one lot. There must be an existing (or proposed) primary residential structure on the property (i.e. house, duplex, apartment, etc.).  Junior ADUs must be contained in a single-unit dwelling.

What are the zoning Requirements?

a)      Maximum Size (Floor Area): The maximum size of an ADU on a property excluding garages:

  • Detached: All detached ADUs cannot exceed a total of 1,200 square feet. (i.e. if you have two detached ADUs, each can be 600 square feet or some combination that does not exceed 1,200 square feet.)
  • Attached: Each attached ADU may be 50% of the primary residence or a maximum of 850 square feet, whichever is greater. Attached ADUs with 2 or more bedrooms may be 50% of the primary residence or a maximum of 1,000 square feet, whichever is greater.

  • Junior:  Maximum of 500 square feet contained inside the single-unit dwelling.

b)      Lot Coverage: ADUs that are 800 square feet or less and comply with the setback requirements are exempt from lot coverage. Any ADU larger than 800 square feet must meet the lot coverage requirements of the property's zone.

c)      Setbacks (Distance from property line): Structures are required to be located a certain distance (in feet) from the property line, depending on the zone in which your property is located. You can find your property’s zone here: Land Information Lookup App

  • Conversion: no setback requirements if you are converting an existing structure into an ADU (i.e. a garage on the property line).
  • One Story: no side yard or rear yard setback. (Entire ADU must be at least 60-feet from the front property line or comply with two-story setbacks)
  • Two Story: 3-foot side yard and rear yard setback, or property’s zone, whichever is less.
  • The ADUs front yard and street side yard (corner lot) setbacks must comply with the property’s zone. To find your zone’s setback requirements, see Sacramento City Code Sections 17.200-17.224
  • Detached ADUs must be a minimum of 4-feet from each other and the primary residence.  Two detached ADUs under one roof do not require 4-foot separation.

d)      Maximum Height: Ranges from 18 feet and above, depending on the property’s zone. To find your zone’s height requirements, see Sacramento City Code Sections 17.200-17.224

e)      Parking: No parking is required for an ADU.  If an ADU removes a parking space for the primary unit, no replacement parking is required for the primary unit.

f)       Density: ADUs are exempt from density calculations.

h)  Balcony, Decks & Open Stair Landings:  All open portions (balcony, deck, open stair landing) higher than 3-feet from the ground must be at least 10-feet from the interior side or rear property line, except if abutting a nonresidential use, street (public and private), or alley.


Zoning Requirements for ADU’s can be found here:  

Sacramento City Code Section 17.228.105

SMUD electrical services

For information on the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s (SMUD) electrical services and Accessory Dwelling Units, please download the information pamphlet hereFor more information on SMUDs process, or to make an appointment with SMUD to discuss your ADU project, please go

How do I apply?

a)      Your first step is to submit a complete ADU application that includes the application’s supplemental material requirements, to the Planning Division. The ADU Planning Application can be found by clicking here.

b)      A homeowner may draw their own plans or hire a design professional. All plans must be drawn to scale. Click here for additional information on who may prepare plans.

c)      You can submit a completed ADU application online at Sacramento Citizen Portal. You may also submit the application at the City’s Public Counter, located at 300 Richards Boulevard, 3rd Floor.

d)      After Planning approves your application, you are ready to submit for your building permit. Our Accessory Dwelling Unit Handout provides an overview of the Building Code Standards, submittal requirements and fee information related to ADUs. Please visit the Building Division’s web page for building permit information.


How much does it cost?

City fees include:

a)      The Planning application fee of $544.32.

b)      Building Permit Fee Estimates can be found here.

  • Additional building permit fee information can be found at the Building Division’s webpage by clicking here.
  • Questions for the Building Division can be emailed to: