We Know San Diego ADU Permitting

Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is the smartest investment a homeowner can make in San Diego. ADUs are increasingly becoming popular in big family homes, thanks to the benefits they add to properties. For instance, a well-constructed ADU can add to the ROI of the property during resale. Moreover, having an ADU is a sure way of standing out in the competitive San Diego real estate market. Additionally, the main advantage of adding a granny flat in your home is creating additional space to host adult children, in-laws, and any other visiting family member. An ADU can keep your family close but still provide privacy for the occupants.

Whether you prepare a budget for a stand-alone, repurposed garage or attached ADU, you’ll only realize its long-term benefits if the structure fulfills all San Diego ADU permitting regulations. Moreover, the process can only begin if you have a valid accessory dwelling unit permit. Organic ADU is your number one ADU specialist in San Diego. We adapt to the needs of our customers to enhance a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. Our specialists will walk you through the whole process of ADU permitting in San Diego to ensure your projects end within the shortest time possible.

What Is An Accessory Dwelling Unit ?

Many San Diego homeowners prefer referring to an ADU as a casita, a Spanish name for “little house.” Typically an accessory dwelling unit is a sizable outdoor guest house that includes a separate doorway, bathroom, and kitchen area. A valid San Diego ADU permit will require you to build a structure covering about 600-1200 square feet, either attached or detached from the main house. Some homeowners may also repurpose an existing garage into a granny flat.

Generally, an ADU should be secondary in size to a typical single-family residence. For example, if you reside in a single-family dwelling, the attached granny flat can be as big as 50% of the main house but up to 1,200 square feet maximum. The same full size also applies to detached ADUs, regardless of the residence’s size. However, some zones in San Diego allow the construction of up to two structures, including one accessory dwelling unit and a junior accessory dwelling unit (JADU).

The Costs Of Building An ADU In San Diego

The costs of building a granny flat in San Diego vary accordingly, depending on many factors. For instance, companies charge differently for their services. Generally, a JADU of between 200 to 600 square feet will cost about $150,000 to $250,000. On the other hand, a large ADU of between 600 to 1,200 square feet will cost you about $250,000 to $350,000. Therefore, it will help if you prepare a budget of about $300 to $350 per square foot including design, permits, construction, and utilities.

However, many factors can contribute to additional fees associated with erecting a granny flat in San Diego. For instance, you may have to pay utility & upgrade fees, taxes, and licenses, which may vary depending on your region. The required city upgrades may include sidewalks or driveways. Besides the design and annual costs, you have to prepare for yearly taxes, which may change every year. And since constructing an ADU will likely add value to your property, you can expect to pay higher property taxes in the subsequent years. Nevertheless, taxes in San Diego will never increase by more than 2%.

You may need to part with other costs before building an accessory dwelling unit, including base plan review fees charged at $1,490 plus an extra $0.315 per square foot. You’ll also pay base planning fees at $1,222 plus an additional $0.411 per square foot. Also, it is imperative to note that homeowners must renew their permits after the expiration date. It is separate from the regular inspections required every 180 days. If you fail to comply with the inspection requirements, you may have to restart the process of acquiring a permit all over again.

San Diego ADU Permitting Information

As noted, the state laws applicable in the County of San Diego allow a residential home with a proposed or existing single-family dwelling (SFD) to have a maximum of one accessory dwelling unit or a junior accessory dwelling unit. Also, the County of San Diego Planning and Development Services urges all applicants to contact regional fire departments to ensure that the proposed structure complies with the necessary fire setbacks. In addition, applicants must fulfill the following regulations:


  • You can build an ADU either attached or detached to an existing single-family dwelling on the same legal lot.
  • Homeowners cannot connect any other room, workshop, or storage area to an ADU but a garage without an Administrative Permit authorization.
  • You must provide floor area mathematical computations during the application process. It includes exterior dimensions taken from the outside wall.
  • Homeowners can only build a detached ADU with a maximum height of up to 24 feet. However, there is an exception for multifamily complexes.
  • Homeowners cannot sell the ADU separately unless you divide the lot to create separate dwelling lots. Also, you cannot rent the structure for less than 30 days.

The Benefits Of Building An ADU In San Diego

As noted, adding an accessory dwelling unit is the best thing that can ever happen to your home. So, besides adding property value, what other benefits will you likely experience after completion? They include:


Private Guest Accommodation

Do you have senior parents or grandparents who often visit your home? If so, you would want to accord them a private reception in a comfortable room. A well-constructed ADU provides all the basic amenities that make a comfortable stay, including a kitchen, bathroom, and separate entryway. You can also design your accessory dwelling unit to create a communal outdoor living space. In that case, you can interact with your guests with minimal disruption of your daily routine. After late-night stories, everyone retreats to their quarters.

Reliable Rental Income

You can generate reliable rental income from your accessory dwelling unit. It will give you short-term rental income to supplement your home expenses. However, you may need to check the restrictions of a short-term rent with your municipality and HOA before venturing into it. Alternatively, you can enter into a lease agreement for long-term rental income gains.

Ample Working Space

Sometimes, it gets hard to concentrate on office duties if you’re working from within the main house. You can design your accessory dwelling unit to mimic a typical professional setting that drives focus and productivity. Moreover, you’ll also cut commuting and food expenses associated with working on business premises. Again, how much office rent do you think you can save annually with an ADU office? ADUs are also ideal for work studios and workshops.

Low-Cost Housing

The high cost of living in San Diego can prove stressful for your adult children when they finally want to settle down. Building a detached accessory dwelling unit can help your children achieve a hassle-free transition into adulthood. They can stay there throughout their college days to gain some independence and learn how to save money. Most importantly, they remain close to you at no additional costs, making it possible to watch over them without intruding on their privacy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What permits do you need to build an accessory dwelling unit?
Generally, you will need building permits to erect an ADU in San Diego, including work permits for water and electricity connections.
Do you handle ADU design and permit processing?
Yes, we handle ADU design and permit processing for our clients. Our experts can get involved in your project as much as you need them. Moreover, we can work alongside other independent contractors to bring your investment goal to reality. Even if you have an existing plan, we can work with that option too
Do I need a building permit for an ADU?
Constructing an accessory dwelling unit is nearly the same as erecting a new home, whether you opt for attached, detached, or repurposed garage options. Homeowners must obtain a building permit to guarantee that the new structure conforms to the required zoning, building, health, and safety codes.
How much does it cost to obtain a permit for an ADU?
Permit fees for accessory dwelling units vary, charged at either a fixed rate or inclusive of other costs. Obtaining an ADU permit in San Diego will cost you about a $1,222 fixed charge plus an additional $0.411 per square foot.

Building An Affordable Accessory Dwelling Unit In San Diego

As you can see, you can build an ADU for guest or rental purposes. The best part is that regardless of how you intend to use the unit, it adds value to your property, say instant equity after completion. Moreover, you can rent a high-quality ADU in San Diego for about 1,500 to 2,000 per month. There is no home remodeling project with the highest returns as building an accessory dwelling. Call our ADU specialists at Organic ADU for on-site consultation and permit facilitation.

Get Help With ADU Permitting In San Diego

Dealing with the initial steps for permitting ADUs can be overwhelming for homeowners. It can even hinder you from starting with the process. Countless resources about San Diego ADU permits are at your disposal. Additionally, we can also help with the San Diego Permitting process by being as involved as you need us to be. Our knowledge of San Diego ADU Permits will save you hours of research and planning.

Accessory dwelling units or ADUs are state recognized. They are a great option for those who wish to add an affordable housing option. Property owners can use ADUs as a housing option for family members. What’s great is they can maintain the privacy of their primary housing units.

The ADU could house your children as they venture into adulthood. You can also use this to offer your guests a comfortable place to stay in your home. Moreover, it enables you to care for an aging parent. You can do all these without sacrificing your privacy and routines.

Getting ADU Permits in San Diego has become easier due to recent changes in state law. The state of California has recognized the significance of accessory dwelling units. Because of this, they introduced new legislation.

The county ADU program waives fees of qualified unincorporated communities. Check if you’re part of these communities. If you are, you can have your San Diego ADU Permitting fees waived.

ADU permitting has become as simple as browsing available floor plans online. A list of pre-approved floor plans available makes starting more effortless. You only need to follow the outlined steps and submit the necessary paperwork.

ADU permits in San Diego are available for all residential buildings. But, ensure that your project follows all required health and safety code requirements. Do you need the step-by-step permit process for adding an ADU? You can find it on the San Diego Planning and Development Services website.

For hassle-free permitting, you may let us handle the ADU permitting processes for you. Thanks to our extensive knowledge of ADU ordinances and building codes, it will be easy.

We will be with you every step of the way. We can help you with the planning. Once plans are up, we will assist you with the permit submission too. And when we secure the permits, we’ll help you construct your accessory dwelling unit.

ADU Permitting In San Diego

Having extra living spaces by getting an ADU permit in San Diego has never been easier.

Do you need additional information about zoning codes and o requirements for ADUs? You can find them on the San Diego Planning and Development Services website. Or you can contact us with your questions.

Getting an accessory dwelling unit or ADU permit shouldn’t stop you from owning one. It is a lucrative and convenient space that can serve as a guest area to your family dwellings.

Accessory dwelling units are becoming popular for adding value to residential lots. At Organic ADU, permitting ADUs is our specialty. We are experts in managing your ADU project. We can include all the features you desire without sacrificing time and cost.

Let us take the hassle out of San Diego ADU permitting. So you can enjoy your new addition sooner. Get in touch with us today!

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