accessory dwelling units

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San Francisco might follow in the footprints of Oakland and Berkeley by passing a bill aimed at vastly increasing the number of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) allowed in the city.

Also known as secondary units, in-law apartments or granny flats, ADUs have their own kitchens, bathrooms and living spaces, and are often constructed from underutilized attic, garage or shed space. According to the San Francisco Planning Department, under the current rules there are over 37,000 properties in the city that could add at least one ADU.

Two new ADU bills were proposed this year by city supervisors, one by Aaron Peskin and the other by Mark Farrell and Scott Wiener. Under the former, any existing property with 10 or fewer units would be allowed to have an extra ADU, while properties with 11 or more units would get two — it could result in the creation of 33,000 new ADUs. The latter would allow unlimited ADUs on any property with five or more units, and would also allow ADUs in unused retail space in large developments. Midway through June, the city’s Planning Commission recommended that a new bill with elements of both proposals be approved.

“These are for real people who live in San Francisco. We are not trying to create 30,000 new hotel rooms,” Peskin explained to the San Francisco Examiner. He has emphasized that ADUs will help alleviate San Francisco’s housing crisis.

The new combined bill is still in the works, but for information on how you can currently add an ADU to your property, be sure to read through the San Francisco Planning Department’s ADU Handbook. You can also check this map to see which parcels are eligible.

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