ADU in Berkeley: A Guide to Requirements, Permits, and Regulations
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ADU in Berkeley: A Guide to Requirements, Permits, and Regulations

|Aug 4, 2023

Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in Berkeley is permissible; however, there are some requirements and rules that are needed to be followed in order to keep your ADU legal. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about Berkeley ADU requirements.

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Regulations in Berkeley, California

Minimum Lot Size

For ADU construction, there are no minimum size requirements, so you can build an ADU as small as possible.

Location Restrictions

In Berkeley, you can have your ADU built in any residential area. However, there is one requirement that you must meet. You must own a separate home where you live with your family or an old house (duplex, triplex, or any type of apartment) which comes under the residential location. In short, an ADU can only be built with an existing residential home. Also, keep in mind that the detached accessory dwelling unit cannot be built in the front yard.

Number of ADUs Allowed

For the ones having a single-family home, you can attach one or two different ADUs with it. There is no specific number allowed for ADUs in City of Berkeley ADU Regulations; however, it depends on the type of ADU you are attaching to your home. There is a maximum space you can allow for ADUs, so it depends on how many units you can adjust in that space.

Number of ADUs Allowed - ADU Berkeley


According to Berkeley ADU rules, The exterior of your ADU must match your base house. The walls on the outside, roofing, windows, doors, and sidings should also match your granny flat. Once the architectural form of your separate dwelling unit matches completely with your primary dwelling, you are good to move forward to the next step.

Entrance Requirements

Following ADU requirements in Berkeley, The entrance of your secondary dwelling unit must be separate from the primary unit. The same entrances for both cannot be used in Berkeley.

Entrance Requirements - ADU Berkeley

Maximum Size Allowed

In Berkeley, you can easily build a one-story unit with around 14 feet in height and a 1000 square feet area for two bedrooms (Detached Units). For higher units, you will need additional permits. Make sure to check the height of your primary unit, as you'll need to match the roofs.

Moreover, the dwelling unit must not exceed 50% of your primary dwelling's size, and it must be at least 4 feet away from the street or roads. Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADU) must be built even further to reduce fire spread risks.

Parking Rules

For attached and detached units, you will need at least one parking space. However, for ADUs in Berkeley that meet the following criteria, no parking will be required.

  • You are building an ADU in Berkeley that is less than half a mile from a public transport service such as a railway station or bus stop.
  • You are building an ADU in the historic district, which is listed in the Historic Resource Inventory of the city.
  • The ADU is within the area of the primary residence.

Parking Rules

Reselling or Renting

Unfortunately, ADUs in Berkeley cannot be sold separately from your primary dwellings. You can sell them with your home or earn rental income from them. However, keep in mind that renting your ADU is only allowed on long terms (more than 30 days). Short-term rentals that are 30 days or less would not be allowed. At last, you must register with Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board in order to make your ADU eligible for rentals.

Distance From the Primary Dwelling

A detached dwelling unit must be at least 6 feet away from your primary house. You must build your extra dwelling unit in the rear yard.

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Permits for Building an ADU in the Berkeley

Building Permit

If you want to build an ADU or JADU with your primary dwelling, make sure to have the building permit. For that purpose, you are required to align yourself with the ADU zoning and development standards to complete the building permit process. You can submit the applications for permissions online or physically at a permit service center.

Neighborhood Permits

Building an ADU Berkeley also requires notifying the neighbors or people living in the home confronting or adjacent to your house. Once you submit the application to the service center, the city staff sends a direct mail to all the people living near your house within 10 working days of submission. During this time, a fee of $460 will be charged to you.

Neighborhood Permits

Recording A Deed Restriction Agreement

In between the permit process, you are required to record a deed restriction that shows that you have agreed not to use the ADU or JADU as a short-term rental. It also confirms your agreement on not selling the ADU in Berkeley separately. The deed restriction can be recorded at the Clerk Recorder's office.

Permit Fees

Permit fees vary from one ADU to another. To calculate the total permit fees required to complete the whole process, check out the Permit Fee Estimator.

Permit Fees

Address Assignment

JADUs don't require any separate address assignments; however, all other ADUs do ask you to do it. The address assignment request must be submitted to the Building and Safety Division, which charges around $200 for the whole process.

Best ADUs for You to Build in Berkeley

Accessory Dwelling Units are of different types, such as detached, attached, repurposed, conversion ADUs, JADUs, and multifamily. These can be built for either living or having an office separate from your home.

You can decorate your prefab ADUs with must-have accessories to make them look more appealing and productive.

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