Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)
ADU General Information
An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is an attached or detached residential dwelling unit with complete living facilities (bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, etc.) in zoning districts that allow single-family and multi-family uses.
A Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit (JADU) is a dwelling unit that is no more than 500 square feet in size and contained entirely within an existing or proposed single-family dwelling. The JADU may include separate living facilities, or it may share the facilities with the existing structure.
ADUs go by many different names, including granny flats, in-law units, backyard cottages, secondary units, and more. The key distinction between an ADU and other types of detached structures, such as pool cabanas, is the inclusion of a kitchen in the ADU.
On February 24, 2020, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 2020-003 (PDF) in response to changes in State law to promote the development of ADUs and JADUs, which took effect on January 1, 2020.
The Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Ordinance (PDF) was updated by City Council after the ordinance's first reading on July 25, 2022 and its second reading on August 1, 2022. The new ordinance goes into effect on August 31, 2022.
The primary change to the ordinance is related to ADUs in high and very high fire hazard severity zones.
To learn more, visit our frequently asked questions (FAQs) below.
- What is an ADU/JADU?
An ADU is an Accessory Dwelling Unit. It is a separate unit on a property that has a single-family home, apartment, or other residential use. ADUs can go by many different names, including granny flats, in-law units, backyard cottages, secondary units, and more. The key difference between an ADU and other types of structures, such as pool cabanas, is they have living space, bedroom(s), and a kitchen. An ADU can be attached to the main home, the garage, or can be a standalone structure.
A JADU is a Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit. A JADU is different than an ADU in that they have to be part of an existing home and they have size restrictions. They can share the use of parts of the home, such as the bathrooms, and can have simpler kitchens with smaller appliances. JADUs are only allowed on a property with a single-family home on it, and the property owner has to live in either the single-family home or in the JADU. Development costs for a JADU are typically lower than an ADU.
- Can I have an ADU on my property?
If your property is in a residential zone (e.g., R-1, R-2, R-3) or mixed-use zone that allows residential and has an existing residential use on it, then the answer is yes.
You can check the zoning of your property using the following link: https://map.cityofventura.net/java/map/.
- How many ADUs can I have on my property?
Single-Family Properties - All single-family homes can have one ADU. Additionally, properties with single-family homes that are owner-occupied can have one ADU and one JADU with a recorded statement that the property owner will occupy one of the units.
Multi-Family Properties – There are a few ADU options for multi-family properties. You may select one from the following three options:
- An ADU can be added for up 25% of the existing units. The ADU(s) have to be within livable space inside the existing building(s) the units are in.
- One ADU can be added in an existing structure on the property that is currently non-livable, such as a garage.
- Up to two ADUs can be built in a new structure(s) on the property. These structure(s) would be detached from the existing building(s) and are limited to 16 feet in height with at least a four-foot rear and side yard setback.
- How big can an ADU/JADU be?
- A studio or one-bedroom ADU can be up to 850 square feet.
- An ADU with more than one bedroom can be up to 1,000 square feet, except if it is attached to an existing single-family home. If attached to an existing single-family home, the ADU is limited to 50% of the size of the house.
- There is no size limit for converting an existing accessory structure, like a garage or shed, into an ADU.
- A JADU can be up to 500 square feet and needs to be within the existing single-family home.
- Do I need to get a building permit for an ADU?
You may also need an Administrative Coastal Development Permit for an ADU that is in the Coastal Zone. Contact the Planning Division for more information if you think that your proposed location may be in the Coastal Zone.