Frequently Asked Questions: Junior Accessory Dwelling Units


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Frequently Asked Questions: Junior Accessory Dwelling Units

Is There a Difference between ADU and JADU?

Courtesy of Lilypad Homes and Photo Credit to Jocelyn Knight

Yes, AB 2406 added Government Code Section 65852.22, providing a unique option for Junior ADUs. The bill allows local governments to adopt ordinances for JADUs, which are no more than 500 square feet and are typically bedrooms in a single-family home that have an entrance into the unit from the main home and an entrance to the outside from the JADU. The JADU must have cooking facilities, including a sink, but is not required to have a private bathroom. Current law does not prohibit local governments from adopting an ordinance for a JADU, and this bill explicitly allows, not requires, a local agency to do so. If the ordinance requires a permit, the local agency shall not require additional parking or charge a fee for a water or sewer connection as a condition of granting a permit for a JADU. For more information, see below.

ADUs and JADUs

REQUIREMENTS Maximum Unit Size
Kitchen Bathroom Separate Entrance Parking
Owner Occupancy
Ministerial Approval Process Prohibition on Sale of ADU

ADU

JADU

Yes, generally up to 1,200 Square Feet or Yes, 500 Square Foot Maximum 50% of living area

Yes

Yes

Yes

No, Common Sanitation is Allowed

Depends

Yes

Depends, Parking May Be Eliminated and Cannot Be Required Under Specified Conditions

No, Parking Cannot Be Required

Depends, Owner Occupancy May Be Required

Yes, Owner Occupancy Is Required

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

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Why Adopt a JADU Ordinance?
JADUs offer the simplest and most affordable housing option. They bridge the gap between a roommate and a tenant by offering an interior connection between the unit and main living area. The doors between the two spaces can be secured from both sides, allowing them to be easily privatized or incorporated back into the main living area. These units share central systems, require no fire separation, and have a basic kitchen, utilizing small plug in appliances, reducing development costs. This provides flexibility and an insurance policy in homes in case additional income or housing is needed. They present no additional stress on utility services or infrastructure because they simply repurpose spare bedrooms that do not expand the homes planned occupancy. No additional address is required on the property because an interior connection remains. By adopting a JADU ordinance, local governments can offer homeowners additional options to take advantage of underutilized space and better address its housing needs.
Can JADUs Count towards the RHNA?
Yes, as part of the housing element portion of their general plan, local governments are required to identify sites with appropriate zoning that will accommodate projected housing needs in their regional housing need allocation (RHNA) and report on their progress pursuant to Government Code Section 65400. To credit a unit toward the RHNA, HCD and the Department of Finance (DOF) utilize the census definition of a housing unit. Generally, a JADU, including with shared sanitation facilities, that meets the census definition and is reported to the Department of Finance as part of the DOF annual City and County Housing Unit Change Survey can be credited toward the RHNA based on the appropriate income level. Local governments can track actual or anticipated affordability to assure the JADU is counted to the appropriate income category. For example, some local governments request and track information such as anticipated affordability as part of the building permit application.
A housing unit is a house, an apartment, a mobile home or trailer, a group of rooms, or a single room that is occupied, or, if vacant, is intended for occupancy as separate living quarters. Separate living quarters are those in which the occupants live separately from any other persons in the building and which have direct access from the outside of the building or through a common hall.
Can the JADU Be Sold Independent of the Primary Dwelling?
No, the JADU cannot be sold separate from the primary dwelling.
Are JADUs Subject to Connection and Capacity Fees?
No, JADUs shall not be considered a separate or new dwelling unit for the purposes of fees and as a result should not be charged a fee for providing water, sewer or power, including a connection fee. These requirements apply to all providers of water, sewer and power, including non-municipal providers. Local governments may adopt requirements for fees related to parking, other service or connection for water, sewer or power, however, these requirements must be uniform for all single family residences and JADUs are not considered a new or separate unit.
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Are There Requirements for Fire Separation and Fire Sprinklers?
Yes, a local government may adopt requirements related to fire and life protection requirements. However, a JADU shall not be considered a new or separate unit. In other words, if the primary unit is not subject to fire or life protection requirements, then the JADU must be treated the same.
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Frequently Asked Questions: Junior Accessory Dwelling Units