Accessory Dwelling Units

The City of La Habra is committed to making it easier to add an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to your single-family or multi-family property. 


What is an ADU?

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a dwelling unit that provides complete independent living facilities for one or more persons and includes permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation on the same lot as the single-family or multifamily dwelling in which it is located. An ADU is considered an accessory use or an accessory structure and is not included in the allowable density for the lot.

HCD's Accessory Dwelling Unit Handbook

JADU What is a JADU?

A Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit (JADU) is a dwelling unit located entirely within the walls of an existing or proposed single-family dwelling that is no more than 500 square feet in size. Compared to an ADU, a JADU only requires an efficiency kitchen and is not required to have a private bathroom as long as it has full access to a bathroom in the primary dwelling. JADUs are not considered separate dwelling units for fire protection and utility purposes.

What are the benefits of adding an ADU and/or JADU?

Benefits include:

  • Creating more affordable housing in the community
  • Providing housing for relatives or friends
  • Allowing seniors to age-in-place
  • Increasing your property’s value
  • Providing extra income as a rental unit

Locations Permitted

ADUs are permitted on lots with an existing or proposed single-family or multi-family dwelling (including duplexes). JADUs are only permitted within a single-family dwelling. For single-family dwelling lots, an ADU may be proposed within or attached to the main residence, within an existing attached or detached garage or accessory structure, or in a proposed detached accessory structure. JADUs are only permitted within the walls of an existing or proposed single-family dwelling. For multi-family dwelling lots, attached ADUs may only be proposed within existing non-living areas (e.g. storage, garage) and detached ADUs are subject to a 16-foot height limit and 4-foot rear and side yard setbacks.

Quantity Permitted

No more than one ADU and one JADU are permitted on a lot with an existing or proposed singlefamily dwelling. On multi-family dwelling lots, attached ADUs are limited to 25% of the existing units (e.g. one ADU for a four-unit apartment building), or one ADU, whichever is greater. For detached ADUs, up to two detached ADUs are permitted.

ADU Development Standards

On June 7, 2021 the City Council approved amendments to LHMC Section 18.12.150 Accessory Dwelling Units. The City has adopted Ordinance 1835 which reflects the changes to the ADU requirements.

ADU Ordinance Summary PDF

To view an online tutorial on ADUs, please go to:

This OCCOG video

 How Do I Get A Permit to Build An ADU? Permit

1. HIRE EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONALS: We advise that you hire a designer, licensed architect, or engineer to design the ADU and a licensed contractor to build it (some companies provide both).

2. PREPARE YOUR APPLICATION PACKAGE: The Building & Safety Division is responsible for all building permit intake. Once the Building & Safety Division receives all required documentation, they will route the complete submittal package to the Building Division, Planning Division, Engineering Division and Public Works. If your submittal requires Fire Department review, you will have to contact Los Angeles County Fire Department for their requirements. Your submittal package must include: 

3. SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION PACKAGE: Please visit the Building and Safety page for submittal guidelines. There is a plan check fee due at time of submittal. If the application is found to be incomplete, the Building & Safety Division will require a resubmittal.

PLAN CHECK: During the Plan Check process, all departments including the Building & Safety Division, Planning Division, Engineering Division & Fire Department will review the plans for consistency with all applicable codes & standards. Please await comments from all departments before re-submitting your plans for additional review. Your plan check will not be deemed approved until all departments/divisions have approved your plans.

4. PAYMENT OF FEES & PERMIT ISSUANCE: Once your project is deemed approved by all departments, the building permit applicant will receive an email notification with an invoice. Once you pay your invoice you will recieved your approved plans and your inspecton job card. If you have questions regarding fees, please view the fee schedule here and contact Building and Safety at 562-383-4116. 

5. CONSTRUCTION & INSPECTION: Once your project permit has been issued, you may begin construction of your project and request inspection as needed.

What funding sources are available for ADUs/JADUs?

The Orange County Housing Finance Trust just recently launched a new subsidized loan pilot program specifically for constructing Accessory Dwelling Units as affordable housing for very low-income households in Trust member cities like La Habra and the County of Orange.

Affordable For more information, go to:

Affordable ADU Loan Program — Orange County Housing Finance Trust

OCHFT Affordable ADU Loan Program brochure