Junior accessory dwelling units create separate, small in-law suites within an existing single-family house. Permitting requirements are typically lighter than for attached/detached ADUs (e.g., fewer restrictions on sprinklers, parking) and include allowance for a small kitchen.
Benefits & Problems Addressed
More units with fewer regulatory hurdles: Homeowners can create suites within their homes inexpensively and quickly. JADU programs seek to eliminate or lessen requirements that form the biggest, most expensive hurdles: sprinklers and parking.
Affordability: JADUs offer affordability for renters (increase in supply) and for homeowners.
Flexibility: Units can be constructued and dissembled quickly.
Tips & Techniques
How to get started: Read your city or county's zoning code to determine the requirements for accessory dwelling units. Document the restrictions. California has adopted state legislation defining the parameters & process for JADUs.
Regulatory considerations: With Junior ADUs, the zoning and deed remains the same. In general, JADUs are allowed in all single family, residential zoning categories.
Comparison of JADUs and ADUs: Though not currently in widespread use, California is leading the way on junior ADUs:
|Located within main house, attached or detached cottage||Located wholly within the main structure|
|Off-street parking required||Parking not required|
|Full kitchen||Small kitchen|
|Separate entrance||Separate or within home|
|Permit fees||Reduced or waived permit fees|
|Fire proofing & sprinklers||Smoke detectors|
Smaller kitchen: California's law governs kitchen size by plumbing (a wet-bar type kitchen with a 1.5 inch drain pipe limit and limits on stoves/overs to standard electrical service (110v). This means a homeowner cannot install natural gas or heavier electric service for a large stove.
Hot Buttons: The relaxed requirements raise common concerns with neighbors on parking and additional rental units. California's action on the state level overrides local authority.
Junior Accessory Dwelling Units, AccessoryDwelling.org
Image: Novato California