Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) City Regulations

Are ADUs allowed in Oakland:


Number of ADUs allowed:

One ADU per Primary Unit per lot.

Types of ADUs allowed:

Detached, attached, and junior ADUs allowed.

Lot size:

No minimum lot size.

ADU size:

Attached ADUs have no size restrictions. Detached units may not exceed 800 sq. ft. or 75% of the floor area of the primary dwelling, whichever is less.


Attached ADUs have no setback restrictions. A detached ADU may extend into a required side and rear setback up to 4 feet from the lot line. No more than 50% of the horizontal area of the required rear yard may be covered by structure over 6 feet high. All other Secondary Units must meet the setbacks adopted for that residential zone.


Replacement parking for a demolished parking structure may be in any configuration (covered, uncovered, tandem or mechanical lift). An attached ADU requires no additional parking. Detached accessory dwelling units do not require additional parking if located within one-half mile of a bus stop, train station or, if appropriate, paratransit stop, in a historic district, where on-street parking permits are required but not offered to the ADU occupant, or within one block of a fixed car-share spot. For all other ADUs one parking space per unit is mandated in zones other than S-11 and S-12. In S-11, one space per bedroom, up to maximum of 2 per unit. In S-12, one space per bedroom.

Fire Safety:

ADUs are only required to provide fire sprinklers if such devices are required for the primary structure.

Shape, materials and style:

Detached units must be clearly subordinate to the main dwelling in both size and location. Additionally,  exterior materials must be visually compatible.


For detached ADUs a maximum wall height is 10 feet and roof height is 14 feet.

Design review:

Design applications will be considered ministerially, without discretionary review or a hearing. No public notice is required.


The ADU may be rented, but only be for Permanent Residential Activities on a 30-day or longer basis and may not be sold separately from the primary dwelling. Unlike many districts, the property owner is not required to live in either the Primary or Secondary Unit.

Utility Connections:

Detached units may require new or separate utility connections, but the connection fee or capacity charge shall be proportionate to the burden of new unit on the water or sewer system.

Permit Fees: Permits page:

Potential Rental Income:

According to, an ADU in Oakland can generate $24,000+ in possible rental income per year.

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