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City Reopens Amnesty Period for Accessory Dwelling Units

Post Date:04/05/2019 4:30 PM

Does your property have an unpermitted accessory dwelling unit (ADU) or junior accessory dwelling unit (JADU)? If the answer is yes, you have a rare opportunity to legalize it during the City of Sausalito's reopened ADU/JADU amnesty period from March 31, 2019, until March 31, 2020.

Accessory Dwelling Units are small units accessory to a primary dwelling unit that have exterior access and kitchen and bathroom facilities. ADUs are also known as in-law units, secondary dwelling units, or granny flats.

A Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit is halfway between renting a room to a roommate and having a full ADU. JADUs are limited to 500 square feet in size and are typically created from bedrooms within existing dwellings that have an entrance into the existing dwelling and a separate entrance to the outside. JADUs are required to have separate cooking facilities (such as a kitchenette) but are allowed to have shared bathroom facilities with the main house.

ADUs and JADUs help create affordable housing options in a community and allow homeowners to repurpose underutilized space to generate extra income.

During the amnesty period that runs through March 31, 2020, property owners of existing unpermitted ADUs and JADUs may apply to legalize the unit. Only unpermitted ADUs established prior to January 1, 2012, and unpermitted JADUs established prior to June 30, 2018, qualify. During the amnesty period, the permit fee for amnesty ADUs and JADUs is also reduced, and the process for legalizing the unit is simplified.

If unpermitted units do not take advantage of the amnesty period, they could be subject to code enforcement actions after the amnesty period has concluded. Questions about the amnesty process will not result in code enforcement against your property.

To find out more information about the ADU/JADU amnesty period, visit the public counter of the Community Development Department in City Hall or contact Associate Planner Katie Faulkner at or (415) 289-4135. Amnesty forms are available on the City website. If you are considering creating a new ADU or JADU for a dwelling that doesn't have one already, please ask us about applying for a permit.

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