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Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)

What is an accessory dwelling unit?

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (aka, “second unit,” “in-law unit,” or “granny unit”) is an additional dwelling located on the same lot as a single-family or multi-family development. It can be attached to, detached from or contained within an existing residence or accessory structure.

Why are ADUs becoming so popular?

It's becoming increasingly easy to apply for and to qualify for an ADU on your property. Local jurisdictions are relaxing regulations in conformance with California Government Codes aimed at increasing the supply of smaller and affordable housing in the state.

Reasons for considering an ADU

ADUs allow you to add and/or allocate up to 1,200sf* towards a legally rent-able unit in your home or on your property. If you are interested in creating an income source in this way, it is becoming increasingly easy to do so.


The overwhelming attraction for many property owners with small lots, however, is the easy approval of up to 800sf**, with significantly fewer restrictions than those that apply to other additions to a residence. ADUs are now exempt from: Lot Coverage, Floor Area Ratio (FAR), Minimum Lot Size and are allowed to build closer to the property line than otherwise allowed. The appeal for many property owners is the ability to add fairly significant square footage above and beyond the typical FAR ceiling that they may previously have experienced as a limitation.

Some jurisdictions are now even waiving the separate planning approval process and requiring only a building permit application. They are incentivized by the state to report high numbers of ADUs and this is being reflected in the relaxation of the rules.

*under certain circumstances

**this maximum may vary by jurisdiction

How can Hyndman Studio help with an ADU?

  • By understanding and navigating the ADU process in a particular jurisdiction.

  • By envisioning a creative, practical solution and designing an ADU that satisfies the client's requirements and the possibilities of the property; within the allowances offered by the local jurisdiction.

  • By offering structural and interior design services for the ADU.

  • By bringing our design and construction knowledge to the process.

  • By producing the required application materials and plan sets.

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