San Francisco In Law Units


With a swelling population and housing shortage, the City understands that many properties have space that which is not being used to its highest potential. This spawned legislation paves the way for San Francisco In-Law Units.

Enter Ordinance No. 162-16, which allows the construction of Accessory Dwelling Units, known popularly as ‘in-law units’, ‘secondary units’, or ‘granny flats’ Citywide in areas that allow residential use.

These pint-sized units are additional units added to a property inside the envelope of the existing building. Typically, these unite are developed in an underutilized area such as a garage, lower level store area, attic space, etc.

There is a host of benefits to building an in law unit we’ve outlined on our sister site at

Pros And Cons

The San Francisco real estate attorneys at Bornstein Law can assist you in evaluating the law and its impact on your real estate. Our foremost goal is to educate you on the risks and potential rewards so that you can determine if the laxed Planning Code requirements make sense for you to construct an in law unit. You can get a good overview in this video from the Planning Department.


Legalize Your Illegal Unit

While homeowners commonly convert and rent unused space in their property, this has been illegal. Ordinances establish a voluntary program whereby you can apply to legalize your in-law unit, provided that all life-safety conditions are met. WHAT ARE THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS?

Don't Go It Alone

Make no mistake, building or legalizing an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a major undertaking with very specific requirements and it's strongly recommended you consult the Bay Area’s well-respected experts in the complex and ever-changing regulations of in-law units.

As the founding attorney of Bornstein Law, Broker of Record for Bay Property Group and expert witness, Daniel Bornstein is a foremost and well-respected expert in landlord-tenant disputes and other property management issues with over 23 years of experience in handling real estate and civil litigation related disputes.

415 409 7611