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All ADU Regulations

San Diego, California

The City of San Diego has updated its ADU ordinance to comply with new state laws. Below are the up-to-date requirements for permitting an ADU in the City of San Diego.
Updated Jun 15, 2022

San Diego

From the picturesque bluffs of Point Loma to the sun-drenched neighborhoods around Old Town, La Jolla and beyond, San Diego is the perfect place to build an ADU. Homeowners in San Diego are prime for building ADUs that open outwards and let in the sea breeze and warm California sunshine.


All properties zoned for single family and multifamily use may be eligible to build ADUs.

Number of units

Lots zoned for single family use that have an existing dwelling are permitted to add 1 ADU and 1 Junior ADU (JADU).

Building size

Maximum square footage is determined by your ADU type:
  • 500 sq. ft. for a Junior ADU (JADU)
  • 1,200 sq. ft. for a detached ADU (unless limited by local zoning rules)
  • 50% of existing dwelling, or none if new building. Exception: A 1 bedroom attached ADU with a Floor Area of <850 square feet is always allowed, and a 2+ bedroom attached ADU with a Floor Area of <1000 square feet is always allowed.

Building height

Attached and detached ADUs have a limit of 16', but there may be other zoning height limits dependent on zone.


Differs by zone.


No parking spaces are required for ADUs.


While long-term rentals are permitted for ADUs, short-term rentals (e.g. Airbnb for less than 31 days) are not permitted in the City of San Diego.


Do you have a utility easement over your property? Are you in the coastal zone? 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!