Need more space in your home for your parents or home office? Here are the top 10 essential facts you should know about building an ADU.
1. What is an ADU? ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit), otherwise known as an in-law suite, is an independent dwelling unit providing complete living facilities for a household, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.
2. Can I add an ADU to my property even if I am maxed out on FAR (Floor Area Ratio = the maximum habitable space allowed by the city)? Absolutely you can.
3. Can an ADU be attached to or detached from the main house? Yes, you can have an attached ADU, for instance, by converting the existing garage, or can have a detached ADU.
4. How large can an ADU be? Maximum 850 sf of habitable floor area for a studio or one bedroom, and 1,000 sf two bedrooms or more. An attached ADU cannot exceed 50% of existing primary dwelling’s gross floor area.
5. Do I need an additional parking space for an ADU? No, the parking space can be shared with the main house. No additional parking garage or covered parking space is required.
6. What are the setback requirements? 5’ setback from the side and rear property line. 10’ minimum from primary dwelling or other structure if detached.
7. Can I have a separate address for ADU? Yes, some cities including the City of Mountain View issues a separate address (house number) for ADU. They often also allow a separate electric meter which makes it easy to rent out the unit.
8. Does an ADU require a full kitchen or laundry? Laundry not required. The required kitchen features include a stovetop, sink and fridge.
9. Do the style and design of the ADU exterior need to match those of the main house? It depends, some cities such as Mountain View does not require the designs to match, so many homeowners go for a modern design for a detached ADU. We will confirm with your city during the planning process.
10. Do you help with the design & permit as well as construction of an ADU? Yes, we are a licensed architect and general contractors and can help design and build.
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