Saratoga, CA – ADU Regulations


All properties zoned for single family and multifamily use may be eligible to build ADUs.

Number of units

Lots zoned for single family use are permitted to add 1 ADU and 1 Jr. ADU (JADU).

Building size

Maximum square footage is determined by your ADU type.:

  • 500 sq. ft. for a Jr. ADU (JADU)
  • 800 sq. ft. if the existing home has reached the maximum floor area and site coverage for the underlying zoning district
  • 850 sq. ft. for studio / 1 bedroom ADUs
  • 1,000 sq. ft. for 2+ bedroom ADUs
  • 1,200 sq. ft. if the detached ADU is not located within the underlying zoning district’s required side or rear setback area (often 20’+)
  • Attached ADUs may be no larger than than 50% of the floor area of the existing home
  • Garages are not factored into the maximum ADU size

Building height

Detached ADUs can reach a maximum height of 16 feet. Attached ADUs can reach the same height as the main structure, assuming they comply with municipal code (including daylight plane).

Detached or attached ADUs located outside the underlying zoning district’s required setbacks can reach a maximum height of 26 feet. Above 18 feet, additional design review is required.


Conversion of existing unfinished basement space can be used for an attached ADU.

Building above a garage

A 5 ft. setback from side and rear lot lines is required for an ADU that is built above a garage that is non-conforming to the zoning district’s required setbacks.


Minimum setbacks of 4 feet from the side and rear lot lines, as well as 6 feet from any existing structures are required for detached ADUs. If the ADU is built in the same location and dimensions of an existing structure that is demolished, it can maintain legacy setbacks of less than 4′.


One off-street parking space must be provided for and ADU in addition to the off-street covered parking spaces required for existing home. No additional parking is required for ADUs if they are within 0.5 miles of public transportation (a bus stop, train station, etc.). When converting a garage or carport, replacement parking is not required.


Owner occupancy is not a requirement for permitting an ADU from January 1, 2020 until January 1, 2025. This is a great opportunity for rental property owners to increase their yields in a cost-effective way.


While long-term rentals are permitted for ADUs, short-term rentals (e.g. Airbnb for less than 30 days) are not permitted in Saratoga.