Multi-Family Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

ADUs are attached or detached accessory dwellings that provide independent living for one or more people, including permanent facilities for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation. ADUs require both Planning/Zoning and Building Bureau review.

Date Posted: November 17th, 2020 @ 4:38 PM
Last Updated: July 19th, 2021 @ 12:57 PM

When Are Permits Required?

Multi-Family ADU icon

All Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) require a Design Review Exemption (DRX) Permit from the Planning/Zoning Bureau, along with Building Permits.

Here are the categories of Multi-Family ADUs* under California state law:

  • CATEGORY ONE ADU: Conversion of existing non-habitable space located within portions of an existing Two-Family or Multi-Family Dwelling, such as storage rooms, boiler rooms, passageways, attics, basements or garages
  • CATEGORY TWO ADU: Construction of new detached structure(s) or conversion of existing detached structure(s) on lots with an existing Two-Family or Multi-Family Dwelling

* Change of Occupancy regulations for the California Existing Building Code (CEBC) may apply when adding ADUs.

See below for step-by-step requirements to apply for your ADU permits.

Who Can Be Issued a Permit?

  1. Contractors who are licensed by the State of California with a classification appropriate for the work that will be performed and have a current Business Tax Certificate.
  2. Owners of a building or their legal representative.

How to Apply

Download the Multifamily ADU Application and follow these steps:

Step One: Planning/Zoning Review

  • Complete all required information, checklist, documents, and plans as outlined in the "Zoning Requirements, Step 1" section on page 2 of the application
  • E-mail ALL completed application form(s) and all associated plans and documents to permitInfo@oaklandca.gov or via our Digital Inbox for applications over 20MB
  • A planner will review your submission
  • Once approved, you will receive a decision letter from the Bureau of Planning
  • Proceed to Step Two

Step Two: Building Permit Application

  • Ensure that all required information, checklist, documents, and plans are complete as outlined in the "Building Requirements, Step 2" section on page 2 of the application
  • Once advised by Zoning, re-submit via e-mail any required Building application form(s) and associated plans and documents to permitInfo@oaklandca.gov or via our Digital Inbox for applications over 20MB

WHAT'S NEXT?

Once we receive your application and have created it in our system, we will review your plans. If your plans require corrections or if we need further information, we will contact you. Once you've gone through Steps 1 and 2, we will contact you to issue your permit. Depending on our workload and the complexity of the project, the process may take between 6-8 weeks from the date the City receives a completed application to the date when we issue your permit (subject to time limits set forth in California Government Code 65852.2).

QUESTIONS?

Call (510) 238-3911 or find quick answers through our Permit Questions Portal.

Additional Resources