Click to Home
Go To Search
Planning Building and Code Enforcement
CommunityBusinessVisitorsGovernmentEnvironment
San Jose Home
Contact Us
If you have questions about the ADU permitting process, please reach out to our ADU
Ally at the Permit Center:

ADU Ally

Email: adu.ally@sanjoseca.gov
Phone: 408-793-5302

Secondary Unit Ordinance & Updates
2018 Secondary Unit Ordinance Changes

Based on public input and public hearings before the Planning Commission, in mid-2018 the City Council approved updates to Section 20.30 of the Zoning Code to ease requirements for ADUs. 
The changes are now expressed in Section 20.30.150 of the Zoning Ordinance. The table below reflects the changes.

Item             Prior Regulation             Regulation 
            Effective July 27, 2018
Zoning District ADUs allowed in R-1, R-2, and PD (subject to R-1 standards) zoning districts, which are comprised of single-family residences. Additionally allow ADUs in R-M zoning districts, and in any Planned Development (PD) district where ADUs are not expressly prohibited. Development standards of the Municipal Code and of planned developments zones apply in all cases.
Minimum Lot Size 5,445 sf 3,000 sf
Minimum Setbacks from Rear and Side Property Lines 0 feet – Conversions 5 feet – New construction 0 feet – 1-story conversions 5 feet – New construction or for ADUs constructed above a garage or accessory structure.  
Maximum Height Single story – 18 feet maximum No 2nd-story unit allowed Single story – 18 feet maximum
2nd-story allowed – 22 feet maximum*  *Either an ADU atop a garage or accessory structure or a two-story ADU.
Rear Yard Coverage Not including pools, not more than 40% of the rear yard may be covered. No change
Detached ADU Location Rear yard only, at least 6 feet away from primary dwelling, attached only to a detached garage. Rear yard only, at least 6 feet away from primary dwelling, attached to a detached garage or other existing accessory structure.
ADU Size
(in sf)

Lot Size (sf)

ADU Maximum Size (sf)

3,000 - 5,444

Not allowed

5,445 - 9,000

600

9,001 - 10,000

650

10,001 - Up

800

Lot Size (sf)

ADU Maximum Size (sf)

3,000 - 5,444

600

5,445 - 9,000

700

9,001 - 10,000

800

10,001 - Up

900

Number of Bedrooms Studio or 1 bedroom Under 800 sf: Studio or 1 bedroom allowed 800 sf and up: 2 bedrooms maximum allowed
Attached ADUMaximum Floor Area May not exceed 50% of the existing primary dwelling living area May not exceed 50% of the existing or proposed primary dwelling living area
Design Standards   Match appearance, and match roof form and pitch Require visual compatibility with existing primary dwelling.
Parking requirements Parking configurations in conformance with State law

An ADU requires 1 space unless the property qualifies for an exemption under State law—see the Parking section of this webpage. If a garage has been converted, the main dwelling parking space must be replaced, as uncovered or in front or side setback areas. Parking spaces may be configured on-site per state law.

Reduction in required off-street parking spaces No more than one dwelling occupies the lot. (Section 20.90.220) No more than one dwelling, in conjunction with an ADU, occupies the lot.
Junior ADU Not allowed Removed from consideration; not part of the approved ordinance.
Front yard paving No more than 50% of the front setback may be paved with any impervious surface. (Section 20.30.440) No more than 50% of the front setback may be paved with any impervious or pervious surface.
ADU requirements for lots in Historic Resources Inventory Requires Single-Family House Permit Waive requirement for a Single-Family House Permit for detached ADU or for conversion of existing accessory structure with no exterior alterations.