Encinitas Accessory Dwelling Unit Regulations

Introduction to Accessory Dwelling Units

An accessory dwelling unit commonly called a granny flat or in-law suite must exist on a lot that’s zoned single-family. It has its own entrance, separate from the primary house, as well as a kitchen, bathroom and living space. These units can be rented, year-round, and add a lot of value to a property.

Zoning in Encinitas

ADUs are allowed in lots zoned for single-family or multi-family use. A single-family dwelling must already exist on the property or be built simultaneously with the ADU.

Lot size

There is no minimum or maximum lot size requirement to build an accessory dwelling unit.

Min/Max Building Sizes

The total floor space area of the ADU should not be more than 1,200 square feet or the total living area of the primary residence, whichever is less.

Height Restrictions

ADUs are limited to one-story in Encinitas.

Parking in Encinitas

ADU’s are required to have one parking space. Parking spaces are allowed to be tandem, on an existing driveway, or within the residence’s setbacks given that it is safe to access.

Parking spaces lost during ADU construction must be replaced.

Parking not required if the ADU is:

  • Located within ½ mile of public transit
  • Located within an architecturally and historically significant historic district
  • Part of an existing primary residence or an existing accessory structure
  • In an area where on-street parking permits are required, but not offered to the occupant of the ADU
  • Is located within one block of a car share area


A setback is a minimum distance a structure must be away from the street, buildings, or other features.

ADUs should follow the same setbacks as the primary residence.

There is a setback of not less than five feet from the side and rear property lines, unless

The ADU is above a garage and built prior to January 1, 2017, in which case there should be a setback of five feet from the side and rear property lines
ADUs built entirely within the primary residence or converted from an existing accessory structure after January 1, 2017, have no setback requirements

Owner Occupancy

ADU’s cannot be sold separately from primary residence.


California passed Senate Bill 1069 in an effort to increase the supply of housing to the state. For this reason, any accessory dwelling unit may be used for a long-term rental. No short-term rentals (less than 30 days) are allowed.

How to Evaluate ROI

Building an accessory dwelling unit, especially if you intend to keep the property for a few years, represents an enormously beneficial opportunity to maximize your property.

By constructing an accessory dwelling unit you are adding additional square footage to the property. So if you can build a unit for $275 a square foot, but the average value of homes in your neighborhood are worth $400 a square foot you are gaining instant equity through the project. Plus, you also now have the added benefit of a flexible space that can be rented or used for family.

Additional notes

Design, building materials and exterior colors should be compatible with the primary residence.

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