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All ADU Regulations

Albany, California

Albany has updated its ADU ordinance to comply with new state laws. Below are the up-to-date requirements to build an ADU in the city.
Updated Sep 23, 2021

Zoning

All properties zoned for single family, two-family or multifamily may be eligible to build ADUs.

Number of units

The number of ADUs you’re able to build depends on how your lot is zoned:
  • Lots zoned for single family use may add 1 ADU and 1 Jr. ADU (JADU).
  • Lots zoned for two-family or multi-family may add up to 2 detached ADUs per lot or up to 25% of the existing units in the building if conversions of existing non-living space.

Building size

The maximum ADU you can build depends on the ADU type:
  • The maximum size is 500 sq. ft. for a JADU
  • For detached ADUs: 1000 sq. ft., OR ADUs shall not exceed 50% of the total area of the primary dwelling or 1,200 sq. ft., whichever is less. ADUs/JADUs shall not exceed the maximum lot coverage of the underlying zoning districts of the project site; however, lot coverage shall not be imposed for attached or detached ADUs less than or equal to 800 sq. ft.
  • Attached ADUs can be up to 1,200 sq. ft.

Building height

Detached ADUs can reach a maximum height of 16 feet. There are no height limits for conversions within existing, permitted structures. If property is located within a FEMA flood zone that requires elevated living area, the height may be greater than 16 ft but the interior ceiling height may not exceed 8 ft.

Setbacks

Minimum setbacks of 3 feet (can also go < 6 in w/ 1hr fire-rated walls) from the side and rear lot lines, as well as 6 feet from any existing structures are required for detached ADUs.

Parking

One parking spot required unless any of the following true:
  • The accessory dwelling unit is located within one-half mile walking distance of public transit.
  • The accessory dwelling unit is located within an architecturally and historically significant historic district.
  • The accessory dwelling unit is part of the proposed or existing primary residence or an accessory structure.
  • When on-street parking permits are required but not offered to the occupant of the accessory dwelling unit.
  • When there is a car share vehicle located within one block of the accessory dwelling unit.

Owner-occupancy

Owner occupancy is not a requirement for permitting an ADU from January 1, 2020 until January 1, 2025. This is a great opportunity for rental property owners to increase their yields in a cost-effective way.

Rental

While long-term rentals are permitted for ADUs, short-term rentals (e.g. Airbnb for less than 30 days) are not permitted in the city.

Watch-outs

Are you in a creek protection area? Do you have a utility easement over your property? Reach out to us and we’ll help you build a custom ADU to fit your unique property characteristics and local regulations!

Want to learn more about ADU regulations in your area?

Book a free consultation and estimate with a Cottage ADU Expert to find out what’s possible on your property!