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© Accessory Spaces, LLC. 2018

177 E Colorado Blvd

Pasadena, CA 91105


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Pasadena ADUs

How to build an accessory dwelling unit in Pasadena, CA

About Pasadena

Roses Parade and Rose Bowl, Pasadena is more than just a football town. Its extravagant City Hall boasts a beautiful Baroque dome, a courtyard garden. Feel the Old Town Pasadena charm on Colorado. On South Orange Boulevard, known as Millionaires' Row, there are landmarked mansions to rival homes of Beverly Hills. That chattering in the air is probably the local population of naturalized Red-crowned Amazon parrots.

Pasadena fees

The Residential Impact Fees for Pasadena are:

  • Conversion: $22,802

  • New Construction: $28,918

The Residential Impact Fee is reduced to $957 for ADUs which are rented exclusively to low-income households or family members, for a 7-year period, through one of the following:


  1. Recorded Covenant on the property requiring the homeowner to rent the ADU to a household whose annual income does not exceed 120% of Area Median Income; or

  2. Landlord Agreement between the homeowner and the City committing the ADU to be rented exclusively to the City’s rental assistance clients or a tenant currently participating in the City’s rental assistance program; or

  3. Landlord Agreement between the homeowner and the City committing the ADU to be used by a family member(s)

Types of ADUs allowed

  • Converted ADUs

An accessory dwelling unit constructed through conversion of part of the existing floor area of a single-family residence or an existing accessory structure, such as a garage, carriage house, pool house, studio, or similar fully enclosed structure.

  • Newly Constructed ADUs

An accessory dwelling unit constructed as a new structure, or by addition to an existing structure, either attached to or detached from the primary single-family residence and located on the same lot.

Locations allowed

  1. Located in any RS or RM zoning district that is not part of a Hillside Overlay District;

  2. Not an individually designated historic property

  3. Contains only one existing single-family house;

  4. Lot is at least 7,200 sq. ft. in size, except no minimum lot size required for properties in RM zoning districts


  • Converted ADUs

No minimum or maximum for conversions

  • Newly Constructed ADUs

- Minimum - 150 s.f.
- Maximum - 800 s.f. max or 50% of the existing living space (whichever is less) for parcels <10,000 sq. ft.
1,200 sq. ft. max or 50% of the existing living space (whichever is less) for parcels 10,000 sq. ft. or greater.

2nd story ADUs

Converted ADUs

Allowed as long as the existing 2nd floor is legally permitted.

  • Newly Constructed ADUs

Only allowed if the existing house is two stories. Detached: Prohibited


• Front: average of the block face or 25 ft
• Interior side: 10% of the lot width or 5 ft.
• Corner side: 10% of the lot width or 10 ft.
• Rear: 10 ft.; Exception: interior side and rear setback for attached exterior ADUs constructed over an existing attached garage is 5 ft.

Building Separation

Attached: None
Detached: 6 feet from any structure, eave to eave


1 space per unit in any form (covered, uncovered, tandem), unless:

  • Located within 0.5 miles from a public transit stop

  • Located within a historical district;

  • On-street parking permits are required but not offered to the occupant of the ADU; or a car-share vehicle pick-up/drop-off is located within 1-block of the ADU.

If an existing garage or carport serving as the required parking for the primary dwelling is demolished to accommodate the construction of an ADU, the required replacement parking may be provided as covered, uncovered, or tandem on an existing driveway.

Operating an ADU in Pasadena

1. The property owner must reside in either the main dwelling or the ADU.

2.New ADUs created on or after January 1, 2017 cannot be used as a short-term rental.

3. ADUs cannot be sold separately from the main dwelling.

4. A recorded covenant is required in order to notify subsequent owners of ADU regulations.

5. All other applicable land use restrictions from the City’s Zoning Code shall apply.

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