ADU Building, Zoning, and Design Regulations for Sacramento, CA

Sacramento is a great place to build an ADU and allows you to add significant value to your property. Before you start building, make sure you understand Sacramento’s special use regulations for accessory dwelling units.


General Requirements

  • The lot on which an accessory dwelling unit is located shall be improved with a single-unit, duplex, or multi-unit dwelling prior to or at the same time as the construction of the accessory dwelling unit.
  • A maximum of two accessory dwelling units are permitted on a lot developed with a single-unit, duplex, or multi-unit dwelling.
  • An accessory dwelling unit shall not be included in the calculation of the density of the lot on which the accessory dwelling unit is located.
  • An accessory dwelling unit is a residential use that is consistent with the general plan and zoning designation for the lot on which the accessory dwelling unit is located.
  • An accessory dwelling unit may not be sold or otherwise conveyed separate from the primary residence, except as provided in California Government Code section 65852.26.
  • No passageway is required in conjunction with the construction of an accessory dwelling unit.

Maximum Area

  • Attached accessory dwelling units. The total floor area for all attached accessory dwelling units on a lot shall not exceed the greater of the following:
    • 50% of the existing floor area of the primary dwelling; or
    • 850 square feet if the accessory dwelling unit has one bedroom or less, or 1,000 square feet if the accessory dwelling unit has more than one bedroom.
  • Detached accessory dwelling units. The floor area of one detached accessory dwelling unit may not exceed 1,200 square feet.
    • In the case of two detached accessory dwelling units on one lot, the combined floor area of both detached accessory dwelling units may not exceed 1,200 square feet.

ADU Setbacks in Sacramento

  • The City of Sacramento does not have a setback requirement if you convert an existing structure into an ADU.
  • All accessory dwelling units must comply with the street side-yard setbacks applicable to the lot on which the accessory dwelling unit is located. The other setback requirements are as follows:
  • Two-story ADUs must have either a 3-foot side yard and rear yard setback or the property’s zone – whichever is less.
  • One Story ADUs without a side yard or rear yard setback must be at least 60 feet from the front property line or comply with two-story setbacks.
  • Detached ADUs must be a minimum of 4-feet from each other an the primary residence. Two detached ADUs under one roof do not require this separation.
  • An ADU’s front yard and street-side yard (if on a corner lot) setbacks must comply the the property’s zone. Find zone setback requirements in Sacramento City Code Sections 17.200-17.224.

Design Requirements for Sacramento ADUs

  • The design of the accessory dwelling unit must conform to the objective design guidelines applicable to the lot on which the accessory dwelling unit is located.
  • New accessory dwelling units should use universal access design features, including “no step” entrances, where topography and site constraints allow.
  • No portion of an accessory dwelling unit balcony, deck, or open-stair landing within 10 feet of the rear lot line or side lot line may be higher than three feet from the ground unless the rear lot line or side lot line abuts a nonresidential use, alley, public street, or approved private street.
View All Sacramento ADU Regulations

Custom ADU Builder in Sacramento

Backyard Unlimited has helped our Sacramento neighbors increase their liveable space and property values by adding accessory dwelling units to their properties.

Over the years, we have worked throughout the greater Sacramento region, including Citrus Heights, Rancho Cordova, Roseville, Davis, Vacaville, and Elk Grove. In addition, our team has installed backyard structures throughout the Central Valley, including Lodi, Stockton, Modesto, Merced, Fresno, Visalia, and Bakersfield.
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