Should an ADU unit rent for the same price as a regular unit in SF? – SFGATE

This ADU unit in the Outer Sunset is for rent on Craigslist.
Accessory Dwelling Units often get a bad reputation. Also known as ADUs, in-law units or even granny flats, these apartments are added onto an original structure, whether that means converting a basement or storage space or adding on a freestanding structure in a backyard. 
And yes, that might mean low ceilings or the absence of a full kitchen, but it can also mean a relatively nice unit — one that you may not have realized is an ADU at all. Take this apartment in the Outer Sunset for rent on Craigslist. The ad says it was completed in 2019, and it has high ceilings (at least in the living area), marble countertops in the kitchen and a modern bathroom. It’s listed as a two-bedroom and it has access to the property’s backyard, though it’s noteworthy there’s no laundry and no parking available on-site.
This ADU unit in the Outer Sunset is for rent on Craigslist.
ADUs have been in the news a lot lately. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill just last month ending single-family zoning throughout California, making it even easier for a property owner to add to the housing stock. There have been incremental steps toward this statewide since 2016, and in San Francisco, the addition of an ADU has been legal citywide since then “to all zoning districts that permit residential use,” according to the SF Planning Department.
Permits for ADUs in California increased from almost 9,000 in 2018 to 12,392 in 2020, according to, a website from the Center for Community Innovation at UC Berkeley, which analyzed ADU owner and city planner surveys and California Department of Housing and Community Development data. There were 22,695 ADUs completed from 2018-2020 — a very small dent in the need for more homes — but the report found that the majority of ADU production is taking place in the Bay Area.
This ADU unit in the Outer Sunset is for rent on Craigslist.
As these types of units become more common, the question remains: Will they be priced any differently? Search “ADU” or “in-law” on Craigslist in the Bay Area, and you’ll find hundreds of listings. UC Berkeley’s data puts the median rental price of a two-bedroom ADU in California at $2,800 — for reference, 61% of ADUs are one-bedrooms, 18% are studios and two-bedrooms or more make up the rest. The rent on this particular rental is … drumroll … $2,950. Zumper reports that the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in the Outer Sunset is $3,350.
Tessa is a Local Editor for SFGATE. Before joining the team in 2019, she specialized in food, drink and lifestyle content for numerous publications including, The Bold Italic, 7×7 and more. Contact her at


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