Renting & Move-In
- Understand what it takes to rent out your ADU
- Consider affordable pricing for your unit
- Make a long-term plan for the care and upkeep of your ADU
After your final inspection, your ADU is ready for move-in! This might be you, a friend, a family member, or a tenant. There are many benefits to sharing your property with a tenant, but renting also comes with many responsibilities – make sure you have a good sense of the laws governing rental agreements and think about the issues that might arise from welcoming a new neighbor into your space.
Most ADU projects take 12-18 months to complete, but some extend to 24 months or more.
for Move-In & Renting
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about renting your ADU. See the content below and your County’s ADU Guidebook for more guidance, resources, and tips for all steps of the process.
As soon as the final inspection is complete, your ADU is ready for move-in! Make sure utility services are set up, an address is established, and other preparations are in place. See below for more responsibilities of being a landlord.
Renting an ADU comes with many responsibilities, including understanding local and state housing laws, executing a lease, finding and managing a tenant, and maintaining a rental property. It’s important to understand the laws as they may affect things like future rent increases, changing use over time, evicting tenants, and moving family into the unit.
No. Generally, J/ADUs are not allowed to be rented for less than 30 days. This discourages the listing of ADUs on popular websites like Airbnb and VRBO and promotes them as a means to increase housing stock for the diverse needs of county residents. You may be required to file a deed restriction agreeing that the unit will not be used for short-term rentals.
To see translated Spanish FAQs, head to All FAQs.
Renting Your ADU, Step-by-Step
Before You Begin: Confirm the new street address for your ADU with County staff. You’ll need this street address to establish utility services and to set up your lease.
Renting Step 1
Complete preliminary steps
Prepare to rent your unit by getting insurance, setting up utilities, and developing a plan to handle the finances.
Renting Step 2
Understand Rental Laws
You will need to understand all the laws related to being a landlord, especially around discrimination. For an overview of California laws that regulate certain aspects of the rental housing market, review California Tenants: A Guide to Residential Tenants’ and Landlords’ Rights and Responsibilities, published by the California Department of Consumer Affairs. If you are unsure about regulations that might apply, you can always contact an attorney.
Renting step 3
Set the rent
Maximizing the rent is often not the only consideration – setting a fair rent a bit under market rate will help you attract and keep good tenants. Consider pricing your unit so that it is affordable for the local workforce and families who may not be able to afford high rents in the county. A unit is considered affordable if a household is paying less than one-third of their income on their housing costs.
Many homeowners are motivated to rent their ADU affordably to community members because they serve essential roles and often have difficulty finding housing that meets their needs. If you financed your construction with a loan, consider the loan length, interest rate and any reserve funds you have as well.
renting step 4
write your lease
Make sure your lease (or rental agreement if it is month-to-month) clearly identifies all the expectations for you and your future tenant. See our Exercises for help planning your lease.
You will need a rental application to give to prospective tenants and a lease or rental agreement if it is month-to-month. Samples are available online. Once you select a tenant, you should collect a security deposit and first month’s rent when you sign the lease. Conducting a move-in inspection with your tenant is also a good idea.
renting step 5
find a tenant
Research how to successfully advertise your ADU and select a good tenant. Along with word of mouth or posting your rental online, you can also contact nearby schools, faith communities, or other similar locations to see if any teachers, staff, or community members are looking for housing.
Typical methods for advertising rentals include sites like Craigslist and other online listings; neighborhood-based email list-serves; and posting a “for rent” sign on your property.
renting step 6
manage your rental unit
Think through a long-term plan for the care and upkeep of your ADU, how shared responsibilities will be split, and how to address any issues that might occur with your tenant.
Other issues to consider:
- Maintenance According to state law, it is your responsibility as a landlord to maintain a “habitable” ADU, and note that you’ll need to give your tenant(s) 24 hours’ notice before you or maintenance providers can enter the unit.
- Rent increases Make sure you understand the rules about increasing the rent – California Tenants: A Guide to Residential Tenants’ and Landlords’ Rights and Responsibilities is a good resource.
- Eviction Hopefully you and your tenant(s) will not have problems, but if problems do arise that cannot be resolved, you will need to consider eviction. It’s recommended that you work with a lawyer if eviction is necessary. State law mandates a judicial eviction process, which is best handled by a lawyer.