Accessory Dwelling Units in Pasadena

  • Colette Dornblum
  • 07/27/21

Even as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, its impact on Pasadena’s housing market continues to reverberate.

And while the news remains positive for many home buyers and sellers, the need for affordable housing across numerous segments remains high, not just in Pasadena, but the state and nation, as well.

Fortunately, for those in need, there are several pathways to a more stable living situation. One such option is the creative residential solution of accessory dwelling units. 

Let’s explore accessory dwelling units in Pasadena and how they benefit those looking for housing and those willing to provide it.

What is an accessory dwelling unit?

Increasingly popular in areas where large property lots are prevalent (and even areas where they are not), accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are those that provide a fully independent living situation on a lot containing a primary residence.

Effectively what amounts to a detached, self-contained apartment — think a carriage house, cottage, garage apartment, or small duplexes or fourplexes — the separate dwelling must provide permanent living accommodations. The occupant in the ADU should live, eat, cook, sleep and have access to the same utilities and sanitation as the primary residence.

Accessory dwelling units in Pasadena

Although all ADUs serve the same general purpose, different classifications exist based on the specific type of unit. The City of Pasadena recognizes single-family ADUs, multi-family ADUs, and Junior ADUs. The latter are those units located within an existing single-family home that do not exceed 500 square feet and possess a separate entry.

Pasadena also has separate distinctions for ADUs in historic districts or those part of a historic property.

Each city and municipality defines and approaches the addition and management of ADUs differently, with varying zoning, code, and permitting requirements. If you’re interested in transforming a current stand-along structure into an ADU or want to develop an ADU from the ground, the City of Pasadena offers guidelines on how to do so.

You can also verify your property’s zoning through the city’s zoning maps.

The City of Pasadena also incentivizes the development of ADUs through its Pasadena Second Unit ADU program. The program aims to increase the city’s affordable housing inventory by offering assistance in permitting, financing, and design and construction of the new ADUs.

Benefits for those seeking housing

ADUs have long served as generational housing solutions. From in-laws or grandparent suites to college-age or young adult occupants, the ADU offered occupants a private, independent living situation while remaining physically and socially near their families. The latter scenario is of particular importance for “aging-in-place” or widowed seniors.

In recent years, given the skyrocketing cost of living, ADUs have proven a creative solution for those seeking affordable housing. In many cases, ADUs are a vital step in the process for individuals and families who’ve fallen on hard times to get back on their feet and improve their living situations. More importantly, it allows them to do so with dignity and a sense of independence.

Benefits for homeowners

For those property owners with space and means to do so, adding an ADU may prove a wise investment.

First and foremost, ADUs present an ideal opportunity for generating passive income, particularly with an area or structure that would normally be underutilized. ADUs are shown to increase existing property values thanks to the increased square footage and the aforementioned additional income.

Perhaps the most vital reason for adding an ADU is that it helps strengthen the community by adding much-needed affordable housing that is sustainable and aesthetically pleasing to the surrounding neighborhood.

Ready to experience the absolute best of Pasadena? Or want more information on ADUs and how to make a positive housing impact on your community? 

Contact Colette Dornblum today to start your home buying or selling journey. From homes for sale in South Pasadena to San Marino real estate, allow Collette’s experience and expertise to be your guide to Pasadena’s luxury real estate market.  



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