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FAQs About ADUs

What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

Whether you call them guest houses, granny flats or ADUs, these terms all refer to the same thing: a separate structure, detached from your home, built on your property in the back yard or side yard.

Why are ADUs more in demand now?

There are several reasons: they are an affordable housing option for seniors, young adults, and extended families. They can increase your property’s value; the quality of ADU design and come a long way in recent decades. And many of the zoning laws and other restrictions on ADU construction have been eased or eliminated.

Can I build an ADU on my property?

Yes. As long as it adheres to guidelines regarding size, distance from the main structure, and other qualifications that may apply.

What’s the difference between an ADU and a “Tiny House”?

Besides the obvious difference in square footage (ADUs can be much larger), a Tiny House may be a mobile home on wheels, An ADU is a fixed, foundation built home with permanent sewer and utilities, that is built to last for generations.

Also, Tiny Homes are also not built to any approved building code.  As a result, there is no financing available for them, and they will not increase your property value.  These houses are not attached to the property, and typically code enforcement will not allow a Tiny Home to be placed on a property for longer than six months. 

How long does it take to build an ADU?

Construction time plus delivery and attachment to a permanent foundation averages 10-12 months.

Do I connect ADU utilities to the existing home?

Yes, or separate services can be added just for the separate unit.

Will An ADU increase my property taxes?

Yes – the increase will be equal to the assessment of the ADU as an improvement to the property.

What about permits?

Ma Williams will help you get in contact with contractors who are experienced and will handle the permit processing with your city or county.

Can I choose my own layout, windows, doors, and other features and amenities?

Many of our ADU floor plans and features can be altered or customized to each customer’s preferences.

Will the ADU have a separate address?

The address issued will depend on the planning/building department for the county/city.  Sometimes it is a separate address, other times it is an A or B added to an existing address (8500B Maple Stree).

Do I have to live in the primary structure to build an ADU on my property?

That used to be the case in some areas, but in 2020 Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that no longer makes this a prerequisite for ADU construction.

Where can I find out more?

Visit the ADU page on the California Housing and Community Development website