If you live in Berkeley, you’ve likely heard the horror stories of working with the city to get anything built. Luckily for you, there have been some big changes in Berkeley ADU regulations that will dramatically improve the process from what it used to be. 

California’s new ADU bills have removed barriers that once made it almost impossible for homeowners to build an ADU on their properties.

These bills further encourage homeowners in Berkeley to build a granny flat on their property. With a granny flat, homeowners will maximize the value of their property in the midst of the housing crisis and sky-high rental prices. 

While the perks of building a granny flat may be endless, navigating local and state ordinances and keeping up with new bills can seem like a mountainous task. This is where Maxable can help. You can also schedule a free phone consultation with an ADU expert if you still have questions.

Here’s everything you need to know about granny flat regulations in Berkeley.

Current ADU regulations for Berkeley:

Lot Size 

There is no minimum lot size. 

Owner Occupancy 

For ADUs permitted by 2025, owner occupancy is no longer required. 

Appearance

On the exterior, your granny flat must use facade materials that match the primary dwelling unit, including similar roofing, siding, windows, and doors; the architectural form of the unit should match as well, with similar roof pitch and form.

Entrance: 

Berkeley ADU must have a separate entrance from the primary dwelling. 

Street Width: 

Street width must be greater than 26 feet.  

If the street width is between 20-26 feet, the Berkeley ADU could be approved with an Administrative Use Permit (AUP). Properties with a street width under 20 feet do not qualify. 

Parking Requirements for Berkeley ADUs:

Per State law, no additional parking is required for an ADU that meets any of the following criteria: 

  • The ADU is located within half a mile of a public bus stop or rail station, with a path of travel that is publicly accessible. Find transit maps at www.vta.org. ƒ
  • It is located within a historic district listed in the City’s Historic Resources Inventory.
  • The ADU is part of or within the primary residence or existing accessory building. ƒ The ADU is on a street requiring on-street parking permits but the permit has not been offered to the occupant of the ADU.
  • It is located within one block of where a motor vehicle provides hourly and daily service as part of a regional fleet operated by a public agency or publicly-leased motor-vehicle sharing organization.

Fire Sprinklers: 

Fire sprinklers are only required if they are required in the primary dwelling. 

Rental and Resale: 

ADUs in Berkeley can be long-term rentals, and all rentals must be registered with the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board. 

Additionally, ADUs in Berkeley cannot be short-term rentals (rentals of 30 days or less).

As far as resale goes, ADUs may not be sold separately from the primary dwelling.

Berkeley Accessory Dwelling Unit Regulations for a Detached Unit 

Detached units are ADUs that are completely separate from the primary dwelling. 

In Berkeley, detached ADUs are most typical, so let’s take a look at the specific regulations for them. 

Maximum Floor Area:

Your Berkeley ADU can now be up to 850 square feet for a one-bedroom or up to 1,000 square feet for a two-bedroom.

Building Height:

Only one-story ADUs are allowed in Berkeley with a 14’ maximum height. 

Setbacks (Distance from street/road):

  • Rear setback: 4 feet 
  • Side setback: 4 feet 
  • Front setback: Detached ADU in Berkeley cannot be in the front yard 

Location: 

  • Must be located in the rear yard with a 6-foot separation between the primary dwelling and the ADU

Berkeley ADU Permitting & Property Tax Costs

  • Creating an ADU requires a building permit, which is priced based on the square footage of your unit. School and park impact fees may also apply in some residential areas.
  • Under the rules of Prop. 13, the Office of the County Assessor appraises new construction at fair market value when the improvements are complete, and the value of the new construction is added to the total assessed value of the property, changing your property tax rate.
  • Refer to our article “Granny Flat Tax Implications in California” for more detailed information on property tax costs for your Berkeley ADU. 

After seeing that regulations have lightened up compared to the past, you may be wondering what your next steps are. Feel free to download our granny flat resource packet or sign up for a free phone consultation!

Other Common Questions for Berkeley ADUs:

Can I build a new house and ADU at the same time?

Yes.

Can I build an ADU on a property where the single-family house is a rental property?

Yes.

May I rent the house and ADU to different parties?

Yes.

Can I build an ADU on a property that contains a duplex or apartment building?

No.

How many bedrooms are allowed in an ADU?

The ADU may be designed as a studio or have one bedroom; ADUs that are 800 sq. ft. or greater may have 2 bedrooms.

Can an ADU have a porch?

Yes. Will the porch count in the allowed square footage for the unit? If the porch is uncovered, it will not count toward the maximum floor area allowed. If the porch is covered and is 50% or more enclosed with walls, then it will count toward the allowable floor area of the ADU.

Can the ADU be located at the front of the house?

Only an attached ADU may be within the front setback of the primary house. However, the entrance to the ADU may not be on the same façade as that of the primary dwelling.

Is an ADU required to have its own address?

Yes. An address will be assigned as part of the permit approval.

Is an ADU required to have separate utilities?

Utilities can be combined with the main residence or can be separate.

Above all, building an ADU should be an exciting journey, but dealing with regulations can make it overwhelming. 

With our free ADU Planning Phone Call, Maxable can help you figure out what is most appropriate for your specific property and ensure that you are paired with the right companies to make your ADU journey as smooth as possible.