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Oakland ADU permits and regulations 2021

More than 400 ADUs (accessory dwelling units) were permitted in Oakland, California, back in 2018—even before favorable laws were enacted. While that sounds promising, the city as of 2021 has a reputation for being somewhat difficult when it comes to building ADUs.


The Center for Community Innovation at UC Berkeley gives Oakland’s ADU program a grade of B+ on its ADU California website. The resources below will also help you in evaluating whether building an ADU in Oakland is the right choice for you.

Free webinar: Building an ADU in California

Oakland ADU resources

California building code

Learn about statewide ADU regulations that apply to Oakland.

Oakland ADU regulations chart

This handy downloadable chart shows maximum sizes, heights, setbacks, and more by ADU type.

Rental rate trends in Oakland

The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Oakland is $1,975 a month as of May 2021. Two-bedroom apartments rent for $2,500 a month on average.

Oakland ADU application—single-family

Submit this form to the Planning and Building Department if your ADU will be built in conjunction with a single-family dwelling.

City of Oakland ADU Info

This page on the city’s website provides links to state and local building codes, ADU permit applications, contact info, and more.

ADU financing options

See traditional and alternative ways to pay for your ADU. While Villa is not a lender, we can connect you with a lender who specializes in ADU financing.

Oakland ADU laws: Fast facts

(Compiled in June 2021)

Maximum ADU size

For a detached unit on a property with a single-family dwelling: 850 square feet for a studio or one-bedroom unit, or 1,000 square feet for a unit with more than one bedroom.

Front setback

Varies by the lot’s base zone, which you can check on the City of Oakland zoning map.

Maximum number allowed

Lots with a single-family dwelling as the primary residence can have one junior ADU and one detached ADU.

Side and rear setbacks

Both are 4 feet.

Additional setback requirements may apply per building and fire codes, or as a result of no-build easements; compliance with existing easement restrictions may also be required.

ADU news and events

Stay up to date on all things ADU.

New California ADU Laws Explained

Find out what changed in 2020 and 2021.

Webinar: Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit  in California

Hear about the new state laws, our process, and the advantages of building with Villa.

Design your dream ADU and get a quote in a few clicks.

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