Secondary Units / Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

A Secondary Unit — also known as an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) — is an attached or detached accessory dwelling unit located on the same lot as a Single-Family Home that provides independent living for one or more people, including permanent facilities for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation.

Apply to Build a Secondary / Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)


Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Project Approval Process

To help expand housing options for Oakland residents, the City has streamlined the process for property owners to build Secondary / Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) on their lots. Please see below for general requirements, check out our Secondary / Accessory Dwelling Units Overview Handout, review the Zoning and Building Code Requirements, and apply to get your own ADU approved!


Occupancy, Rental, and Sale

  • May only be rented for 30 consecutive days or longer.
  • Both the Single-Family Home and Secondary / Accessory Dwelling Unit may be rented. Business taxes are required.
  • May not be sold separately from Single-Family Home.

Maximum Number of Units

  • Only one ADU is allowed, only on lots with a Single-Family Home.

Utility Requirements

  • Separate electrical meters are required for each unit, and occupants of both units must have access to all electrical panels, disconnects & devices that serve their own unit.
  • Separate gas meter required for ADU w/vented appliances.
  • For detached ADUs, a sewer lateral permit is required for the connection to the existing building. No portion of the lateral may be located underneath the primary building.
  • Detached ADU must have its own water shutoff valve where service enters building. Attached ADU without separate water shutoff has integral stops or fixture shutoffs.

Room Dimensions & Accommodations

  • Ceiling height must not be less than 7’ for habitable space and 6’ 8” for non-habitable areas.
  • ADU must have a combined living, eating, and sleeping room not less than 220 sq ft, and an additional 100 sq ft of superficial floor area per occupant in excess of two (2).
  • ADU must have a separate clothes closet, approved cabinet adjacent to kitchen sink for storing food,
    crockery, cutlery, and cooking utensils.
  • ADU must have a private bathroom with toilet, lavatory, and bathtub or shower receptor.

Building Safety

  • Fire flow and water pressure on adjoining streets must meet minimum Fire Marshal requirements.
  • ADD-compliant path of egress to City-right-of-way is required.
  • All walls less than 5’ to property line must be 1-hr. fire-rated. No wall openings are allowed less than 3’ to property line. If entire building does not have sprinklers, all separation walls & floor/ceiling assemblies, as well as supporting construction, must be 1-hr. fire-rated for attached units; otherwise separations must be 1/2-hr. fire-rated.
  • ADU fire sprinklers are required if required for main unit.


Category One

  • Located entirely within the building envelope of a Single-Family Home with independent exterior Access OR
  • Located Entirely within a detached accessory structure legally existing prior to Jan. 1, 2017 and involves no expansion of the existing structure, side and rear setbacks are sufficient for fire safety.

Category Two

  • Involves construction of a new structure, or an exterior addition to an existing structure.

Contact Us

Map location for Secondary Units / Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), located at 250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza in Oakland, CA 94612
250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
2nd Floor, Permit Center
Oakland, CA 94612

Phone Numbers

Email Address