ADU Alliance

Unlock Your Property’s Potential: Navigate The Latest 2023 ADU Laws In National City, CA. Your Guide To Affordable And Stylish Living!

Located just south of downtown San Diego, National City offers a vibrant small-town atmosphere minutes from the Pacific Ocean beaches. Tree-lined streets with historic architecture span National City, alongside more contemporary homes and condos.

As housing costs continue to rise across Southern California, ADU laws in National City give an edge to the homeowners now considering adding an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to their property. Also known as granny flats or in-law suites, ADUs present affordable housing for homeowners and renters.

adu laws in national city ca

Key Takeaways

  • Overview of ADU laws in National City
  • ADUs Permitted in National City
  • Size Limits, Height, and Setbacks
  • Streamlined Approval Process
  • Hiring an ADU Contractor in National City

This guide examines ADU laws in National City with updated ADU building codes, permit regulations, and development standards for 2023. We further provide full-service ADU project management in National City, from initial planning through design, construction, and final inspection.

Overview of ADU Laws in National City

The California Legislature passed multiple bills between 2017 and 2022 to ease regulatory barriers around constructing ADUs and junior ADUs (JADUs). ADU laws in National City like AB-68, AB-881, and SB-13 now mandate approval when ADUs meet baseline standards.

The ADU laws in National City correspondingly updated its zoning codes regarding accessory dwellings in mid-2021 by adopting Ordinance No. 2021-2492. The regulations appear in Title 18: Zoning of the Municipal Code.

Let’s summarize key details around National City’s current ADU allowances and development standards for residential lots below.


ADUs Permitted in National City

ADU laws in National City for ADU/JADU ordinance allow homeowners to develop accessory dwellings under the following entitlements:

ADU Types Allowed

  • Detached new construction
  • Attached to or within an existing single-family home
  • Repurposed detached structures (e.g. garage)
  • Movable, tiny homes qualify as detached ADUs

Number of ADUs

  • One ADU is permitted per single-family residential lot
  • One additional JADU allowed per single-family lot

The flexible framework of ADU laws in National City allows homeowners to create practical living spaces tailored to their needs. We help clients construct optimal ADUs based on family circumstances, budget, available area, and financing plan.

adu laws in national city california

Size Limits, Height, and Setbacks for National City ADUs

California AB-68 establishes baseline ADU laws in National City with building standards that local jurisdictions cannot restrict. National City aligned its ADU development regulations with state law. Key requirements include:

Unit Size

  • Maximum ADU size: 850 square feet for studios and 1-bedrooms or 1,000 square feet for 2+ bedrooms
  • No size limit for ADU converted from existing space
  • Maximum junior ADU size: 500 square feet

Height Allowance

  • Cannot exceed primary home height up to 16 feet


  • 4-foot side and rear setbacks permitted

Contact us to confirm clearances for your specific ADU concept, or review National City’s full ADU municipal code here.

adu laws in national city california permit approval

Streamlined Approval Process for National City ADUs

Similar to other California cities, National City established expedited administrative approval for ADU projects:

  • 60-day maximum timeframe for approving complete ADU permit applications
  • No public hearing or planning commission review
  • Exempt from certain overlay zoning rules

We provide full-service ADU permitting help in National City to simplify approval. Our experts track code changes and navigate city department reviews for quick permitting.

Reduced Fees for Developing National City ADUs

California’s ADU laws also mandate cities reduce potential cost barriers to encourage ADU growth as per ADU laws in National City. The city correspondingly instituted the following fee exemptions or limits:

  • No permit fees are charged for ADUs less than 750 square feet
  • Impact fees are limited after a 750-square-foot size threshold
  • No utility connection fees or capacity charges for units using existing lateral
  • Reasonable connection fees based on proportionate ADU size and fixes

We further leverage relationships with local utilities like SDG&E to minimize your costs when establishing new services or upgrades. Saving thousands in fees maximizes the return on investment from ADU laws in National City.

adu laws in national city financing

Financing ADUs in National City

Constructing a detached ADU or performing a garage conversion costs between $125,000 and $300,000+ for higher-end builds. Smart financing is therefore essential for most National City homeowners planning an ADU addition.

The good news is that California now offers multiple affordable financing programs to support granny flat and guest house construction, including:

Low-Interest ADU Loans

Qualified National City applicants can apply to the California HCD for low-interest loans up to $100,000 or grants to fully or partially fund the construction of an ADU. We help navigate the state program.

Cash-Out Refinance

Many homeowners use cash-out refinancing to access their available home equity for major remodels or construction projects. The cashout amount can cover a portion or entirety of your ADU costs.

401(k) / Home Equity Loan

Some households tap their 401(k) savings or home equity to finance the construction of an ADU on their property. Retirement funds offer low fixed rates, while home equity borrowing also taps available funds at better terms than alternatives.

We maintain relationships with top regional and national lenders to pair National City clients with the optimal ADU financing mix. Contact us for a free consultation regarding loan options.

Hiring an ADU Contractor in National City

Successfully building an approved, code-compliant ADU at minimum cost involves planning, permitting, design, utility coordination, and construction expertise. Homeowners risk wasting significant money without proper project oversight.

We strongly encourage hiring an experienced ADU development company to navigate all phases as per ADU laws in National City for granny flats or guest house additions. Look for the below credentials:

  • GBC-1 or B Residential Contractor License
  • Extensive knowledge of California ADU building codes
  • Full-service design-build capabilities
  • Existing relationships with city officials and tradespeople

adu laws in national city expert contractor

As fully licensed National City ADU contractors, ADU Alliance holds all requisite qualifications. From the initial budget and rendering through our direct construction team finalizing your project buildout, we simplify adding your dream ADU. Contact us at (760) 456-8747 for a custom quote!


Recent California ADU laws in National City offer homeowners more entitlements than ever to develop practical accessory dwellings matching their needs and property constraints. From the number of ADUs allowed and size limits to reduced setbacks and waived utility fees, make sure to leverage available exemptions when planning your ADU project. Or, better yet, engage our expert National City ADU team to turn your property’s untapped potential into an income opportunity.