In Western countries, particularly in the United States, such a concept as building an auxiliary, additional residential unit on the territory of the primary residential unit is widely spread. Following the issues in housing density after WWII, additional dwelling units became a signature feature for California. In essence, an ADU is another residential building situated next to the main house. There are certain peculiarities concerning the policies and procedures required for ADU construction, and they vary by state. Let us delve into the details.
In the following article, we will walk our readers through the main reasons to have an ADU built, consider how you can use your accessory unit, find out the types of them allowed in Sacramento, and answer the most frequently asked questions the residents have about the ADU. Read on to find more valuable information!
Why build another house on the existing single-unit dwelling lot at all? There can be certain complications on the way: even an additional single-unit dwelling will take up space and might cause a lot of additional planning, costs, and more bills. However, there are multiple ways in which constructing an additional dwelling unit might turn out beneficial. ADUs can be constructed in conjunction with the main unit or at some distance from one.
Most often, such accessory dwelling units are used for the following purposes:
If the guests often come to visit you and stay for quite a while, it will be more comfortable to house them in an ADU, with its own space for cooking, bedrooms, and sanitation system, that is, with all the vital things.
Elderly members of the family can use your ADU for their needs. It can be difficult for them to live in other cities, far away from you, and they require continuous care on your part. Simultaneously, housing several generations under the same roof can cause discomfort to most of us: the youth want to have fun, the elderly want silence to prevail, etc. Because ADU's are commonly used as dwellings for elderly family members, in the USA, they are often referred to as a 'Granny Flat.' And they quite fit the name, being very comfortable for all the family.
If the additional house is well-located— for example, by a pond or a forest— and the ADU design follows the design guidelines applicable to the lot on which the ADU is located, it is quite possible to rent it out to those people who want to live and relax in tranquility. It will ensure your extra income monthly and allow your renters to dwell in peace.
Having an ADU is extremely convenient if the property owners work remotely. Such an additional building will allow you to work in a quiet environment, without being distracted by people you live with and household chores. You can cross the backyard and be already at the workplace: which is a really convenient option, let alone the change of air and scenery.
The Sacramento State Law permits the city residents to have two ADUs within one primary dwelling lot. The total lot coverage of the ADUs (or a single-unit dwelling) must not be more than 1 200 square feet. But the residents of the City of Sacramento must also pay attention to the primary lot itself. According to the City of Sacramento's manual (ordinance), the lot size must be at least 5.200 square feet. Any lot sized over 10 000 square feet can feature a 600-square-feet ADU. On the smaller-sized lots, the building of an ADU is prohibited. All ADUs must equally follow height requirements and do not exceed 14 feet in their height.
All designers in this field recommend making an accessory dwelling unit architecturally compatible with the primary residence unit and the surrounding neighborhood. The colors, materials, and other features of your new ADU must be compatible with those of your primary dwelling unit and meet the local law requirements. Otherwise, the construction of an ADU will be prohibited. Every part of an ADU unit's balcony or open-stair landing facing the rear lot's line (or the side lot line nearest to the accessory dwelling unit ADU) must be placed at least three feet above the ground level. Using appropriate designs such as “no step,” entrances are preferable where topography and site constraints allow. It's also crucial to meet zoning designation and setback requirements to building accessory dwelling units. The ADUs front yard and street side yard setbacks must comply with the property’s zoning requirements.
You don't need to meet fire sprinkler requirements in the following cases:
It is essential to build ADUs at a certain distance to the primary dwelling unit, depending on the zone in which your property is located. Conversions (i.e., a garage on the property line) do not need to meet setback requirements. But an additional multi-story property must fit the requirements. An ADU with one story doesn't need to meet side yard and rear yard setback requirements. It must be at least 60-feet from the front property line or comply with two-story ADU setbacks. A two-story additional building must be a 4-foot side yard and rear yard setback. The ADUs front yard and street side yard setbacks must comply with the property’s zone requirements.
No parking zones are required for an ADU in Sacramento.
There is no exact cost of prefab ADUs. The project's expenditure depends on the future size of lot coverage of ADUs, the quality of the items you want to use, and the contractors you are to summon. The situation is the same as with building the primary residence unit. The average total price of a prefab ADUs is around 400 dollars. Some building companies use cheaper materials, while others prefer more expensive ones. Before you start the project, certain consultation with professionals is required.
We are sure that building accessory dwelling units is a beneficial project. It can serve different purposes and add value to your parcel no matter what quantity of square feet it takes. It can serve as a source of passive earnings: a rental income. It's also useful to have ADUs for multi-family households because all family members do want to have some privacy. It's worth mentioning that the quality of the foundation can cause trouble with the building. Contact your contractor to figure it out.
There are lots of legitimate ways to use accessory dwelling units. The owner can settle elderly members of the family there to give them privacy and, at the same time, be able to look after them. So this building can surely serve as the second home or apartment, and your dear ones will live closer to you without making it a problem. A family can also use accessory units as guesthouses, as a passive income source (rent out), and as a home office, workshop, or studio.
According to statistics, the average ADUs built so far in the City of Sacramento areas cost around 150 thousand dollars. Meanwhile, the cost of the most expensive ones reaches up to 200 thousand dollars. The pricing also depends on your design, size preferences, and other peculiarities, which you should discuss with your contractor before starting the project. Don't forget that in California, the accessory dwelling units' design should suit the surrounding environment.
Regulations concerning the ADU building depend on the type of the accessory unit. Below is the list of the allowed ADU types: