Laws
March 20, 2024

ADU Laws and Regulations in Phoenix - 2024

Steadily's blog cover page for information around landlord insurance.

Overview of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in Phoenix

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are increasingly regarded as a pragmatic solution for expanding affordable housing options in Phoenix. They cater to the diverse living needs of its residents.

Definition and Purpose of ADUs

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), sometimes called casitas or granny flats, are independent living spaces on the same lot as a primary residence. They can be either attached to or detached from the main home and typically include a sleeping area, bathroom, and kitchen. In Phoenix, ADUs serve the purpose of offering additional living space that can be used for family members or as rental units, which aids in addressing the housing shortage and provides a means for homeowners to generate extra income.

Benefits of ADUs for Phoenix Residents

Phoenix residents embrace ADUs for the multifaceted benefits they offer. ADUs:

  • Expand Affordable Housing: They offer an affordable housing option in a city with a growing population and escalating housing costs.
  • Economic Advantage: Homeowners can benefit financially from renting out these units, supporting mortgage payments and property upkeep.
  • Flexibility: These units provide flexible living solutions for aging family members or adult children, enabling families to stay close while maintaining privacy.

ADUs contribute to a more versatile and inclusive urban environment in Phoenix, while also aligning with the city's planning goals to diversify housing stock and support sustainable development.

Legal Context for ADUs in Phoenix

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in Phoenix have evolved over time, following legislative changes designed to accommodate growing housing needs. The city council's proactive stance on ADUs has led to a detailed framework guiding their development.

Historical Legalization of ADUs

Historically, ADUs were not a widespread option in Phoenix due to restrictive zoning laws. However, recognizing the potential of ADUs to provide affordable housing options and increase density, the Phoenix City Council passed legislation to legalize their construction on single-family residential properties.

Current ADU Regulations and City Council Involvement

Under the current regulations, the City of Phoenix allows homeowners to build one ADU on single-family residential zoned lots, subject to size and lot coverage limits defined by local ordinances. Key points in the recent ordinance include:

  • ADUs on lots up to 10,000 square feet are capped at 1,000 square feet.
  • For lots exceeding 10,000 square feet, ADUs can be either 3,000 square feet or 10% of the net lot area, whichever is less, and must never surpass 75% of the primary dwelling's gross floor area.

The Phoenix City Council approved these rules to streamline the ADU process and provide clear guidance, demonstrating their direct involvement in shaping local housing solutions. Regulations ensure that while the city adapts to changing needs, ADUs maintain compatibility with their neighborhoods' character.

Zoning Ordinance and Districts in Phoenix

In Phoenix, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are governed by specific zoning classifications and ordinances which are crucial for property owners to understand. These regulations dictate the viability of ADU development on one's land and are integral to city planning.

Zoning Classifications for ADUs

Phoenix zoning ordinances have been updated to accommodate ADUs in various residential districts. According to the City of Phoenix zoning ordinance Section 706, one Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is permitted per lot in conjunction with a single-family detached home in permissible zones, barring specific zones such as RE-43, RE-24, RE-35, and R1-14 where different rules may apply. This inclusion aims to enhance housing options within the city's residential zones.

Implications for Property Owners

Property owners need to be aware of the lot coverage guidelines for their specific zoning district to determine if an ADU is feasible on their land. The guidelines dictate the percentage of land that may be covered by buildings, with recent guest house rules allowing for an additional 10 percent of property coverage in most zones. Notably, the Planning and Development page about ADUs of the City of Phoenix provides detailed information for owners to ensure compliance. It's imperative for property owners to understand these regulations to proceed with the development of an ADU without contravening city codes.

Planning and Development Standards in Phoenix

The Planning and Development Department of Phoenix imposes specific standards for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) to ensure they comply with the city's zoning ordinances. The subsequent subsections cover the exact dimensions and restrictions that govern the development of ADUs.

Lot Coverage and Size Restrictions

Phoenix's zoning ordinances stipulate that lot coverage must adhere to precise limitations. For instance, a property owner can have only one ADU on a single-family residential property. The overall coverage of the lot by the primary residence alongside the ADU is carefully regulated to maintain the integrity of the area and ensure adequate open space remains.

  • Maximum Lot Coverage: Determined by zoning district requirements.
  • Minimum Lot Size: Must meet the specified dimensions set for the underlying zoning district.

Setback and Height Requirements

Construction activities, including the erection of ADUs, must observe setback requirements to maintain a uniform and uncluttered neighborhood appearance.

  • Front Setback: Varies based on the zoning district but ensures that the ADU is not built too closely to the street.
  • Rear and Side Setbacks: Minimally required distances from property lines are enforced to encourage privacy and order within communities.

Regarding elevation, maximum height standards are in place to keep ADUs subordinate in scale to the main dwelling and to conform to the character of the neighborhood.

  • Maximum Height: Typically lower than the primary residence, conforming to the regulations of the zoning district.

Design and Aesthetic Standards

The design and exterior of the ADU are expected to harmonize with the existing neighborhood's character. The Planning and Development Department applies aesthetic standards to ensure ADUs integrate well with their surroundings.

  • Architectural Compatibility: ADU designs should complement the primary structure in terms of materials, color, and architectural style.
  • Visibility: ADUs should be unobtrusive and secondary to the main residence, both in positioning and design.

These parameters set by the City of Phoenix guide property owners in the development of accessory structures while preserving the residential quality and design consistency of neighborhoods.

Permitting and Building Process in Phoenix

In Phoenix, the permitting and building process for an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a well-defined pathway that proponents must navigate to ensure legal and safe construction. Clarity and adherence to steps in the process are essential for a successful project.

Steps in Obtaining Building Permits

  1. Initial Design and Site Plan: A detailed draft plan or site plan must be developed. This includes size, location, and potential utilities for the ADU. Plans should meet the zoning requirements of Phoenix.
  2. Submission for Review: The construction plans, alongside the site plan, should be submitted to Phoenix's planning department either via the Shape Phoenix webpage or in-person at City Hall.
  3. Plan Assessment: The plans are reviewed for compliance with local building codes and zoning ordinances. Any necessary revisions will be communicated to the applicant.
  4. Obtaining the Permit: Once approved, a formal building permit is issued, and construction can begin. This permitting process is crucial to ensure all constructions are safe and comply with the city's regulations.

Certificate of Occupancy and Completion

  • Inspections: Throughout construction, the work must be inspected by city officials to ensure it matches the approved plans and adheres to code.
  • Final Approval: Upon completion, a final inspection is conducted. If the ADU passes, a Certificate of Occupancy is granted, demonstrating that the structure is safe for habitation and complies with all applicable codes.

Each step in the process is designed to maintain high safety standards and ensure that building practices meet the expectations of both local government and residents of Phoenix.

Living Area Specifications and Utilities in Phoenix

In Phoenix, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) come with specific guidelines pertaining to interior space, including kitchens, and stipulations for utility connections. These rules ensure ADUs are fully functional and accessible independent living spaces.

Interior Space and Kitchen Requirements

An ADU in Phoenix must be designed to function as a self-contained living area. It must comprise a kitchen, bathroom, living area, and sleeping quarters. In adherence to city regulations, the permissible size of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) is contingent upon the dimensions of the lot. For lots measuring up to 10,000 square feet in net area, the maximum allowable ADU size stands at 1,000 square feet. In contrast, for lots exceeding 10,000 square feet in net area, the maximum ADU size is determined as the lesser of 3,000 square feet or 10% of the net lot area, offering a clear framework for ADU size limitations based on lot size specifications.

The kitchen space is mandated to include the basic amenities such as a sink, cooking facility, and refrigeration, ensuring the unit can accommodate full-time living.

Utility Connections and Accessibility

All ADUs are required to have independent utility connections. This includes separate water, sewer, and electrical services. However, they must comply with the city's existing utility regulations and codes. Adequate accessibility to these utilities is critical, and any new utility installation should not infringe on public rights-of-way or cause adverse effects to the existing neighborhood infrastructure.

Parking and Transportation Considerations in Phoenix

When examining the landscape of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in Phoenix, understanding the parking and transportation regulations is paramount. Specifically, the city has outlined clear parking requirements for ADUs, and it's important to consider how these structures may influence local traffic patterns and access to public transportation.

Parking Requirements for ADUs

In Phoenix, each ADU is subject to specific parking stipulations. For lots up to 10,000 square feet, ADUs are often obliged to provide at least one parking space. This requirement helps maintain order on the streets and ensures that Phoenix residents do not face increased parking pressures due to the addition of ADUs. Developers and homeowners planning to construct ADUs must account for this in their planning process to comply with local ordinances and to provide convenience for both residents and guests.

Impact on Local Traffic and Public Transportation

The introduction of ADUs can have a significant impact on local traffic flows and public transportation usage. Given that ADUs often cater to additional residents, they can potentially increase the number of vehicles on the road. City planners consider the potential impact on local traffic to maintain fluidity and safety in transportation within neighborhoods. Moreover, ADUs placed strategically near transit corridors may encourage the use of public transportation, providing an opportunity for Phoenix to leverage these units to support sustainable transportation goals and reduce vehicular congestion.

Ownership and Rental Guidelines in Phoenix

The City of Phoenix has established clear guidelines around the ownership and rental of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) to address housing shortages and provide affordable housing options. These regulations are designed to maintain the character of neighborhoods while increasing housing availability.

Occupancy Limits and Rental Terms

Phoenix defines specific terms for ADU occupancy and rental. An ADU may not be used for short-term rental purposes; however, this restriction does not extend to the primary dwelling on the same lot. The city has set rigorously enforced occupancy limits to ensure that these units contribute positively to the community and abide by local zoning laws.

For lots:

  • Under 10,000 square feet: Maximum ADU size is established at 1,000 square feet.
  • Over 10,000 square feet: Maximum size is 3,000 square feet or 10% of the net lot area, whichever is less.

Furthermore, ADUs must not eclipse 75% of the primary dwelling's gross floor area to maintain neighborhood aesthetics and prevent overcrowding.

Owner-Occupancy Rules and Affordable Housing Contributions

Owner-occupancy rules are a critical component of Phoenix's ADU regulation landscape. The property owner is required to reside in either the primary residence or the ADU itself, signifying a commitment to the neighborhood and contributing to the local community. This regulation promotes the upkeep of the property and supports community engagement.

Additionally, the inclusion of ADUs is seen as a measure to boost affordable housing supply. By allowing homeowners to create ADUs, Phoenix is expanding its housing stock in a manner that's less disruptive than large-scale developments. This approach supports residents in need of affordable options and assists in alleviating housing shortages throughout the city.

It is important for homeowners to review all guidelines, provided in detail on the City of Phoenix's official website for Planning and Development, before constructing or renting out an ADU to ensure compliance with local laws.

Safety, Health, and Environmental Regulations in Phoenix

Phoenix's commitment to safety, health, and environmental concerns is reflected in the strict regulations governing Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). Compliance with building codes, adherence to fire safety standards, and the implementation of impact fees are essential for the harmonious integration of ADUs into communities.

Fire Safety and Emergency Access

Building codes in Phoenix require that ADUs conform to the International Residential Code (IRC), ensuring they meet minimum standards of safety. Specific measures, such as the installation of smoke detectors in sleeping and living areas and the provision of a fire-resistant construction, are mandated to enhance occupants’ safety.

For emergency services, clearly marked and unobstructed access paths must be maintained, especially for fire safety vehicles. These codes are designed not only to protect the inhabitants of the ADU but also to limit potential impact on the surrounding neighborhood during emergencies.

Impact Fees and Sustainability Initiatives

The city of Phoenix levies impact fees on ADUs to address the additional public service demands they create. These fees fund infrastructure and services that are strained by the increased density, such as roads, parks, and water treatment facilities.

In line with sustainability initiatives, developers and homeowners are encouraged to include environmentally friendly features in their ADU construction plans. These may include the use of renewable energy sources or materials with low environmental impact, aligning with the broader goals of reducing the carbon footprint and fostering a sustainable urban environment.

Specific Area Provisions in Phoenix

In Phoenix, distinct requirements for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) have been established to maintain the integrity of certain areas including historic districts and special zoning sectors, reflecting a balance between development flexibility and preserving community character.

Requirements in Historic and Single-Family Districts

In historic districts, ADUs must comply with specific design and preservation standards to ensure that new structures are compatible with the historic character of the area. This includes considerations such as architectural style, materials, and scale. Furthermore, in single-family residential zones, there is a stipulation for only one ADU per lot, which serves to retain the low-density nature of these neighborhoods. Additionally, size limitations are imposed on ADUs, which vary depending on the size of the property.

Subdivisions and Special Zoning Areas

For subdivisions, the development of ADUs must integrate seamlessly with the existing planning layout, respecting setback requirements and communal spaces. In special zoning areas, which can include areas with unique ecological, agricultural, or scenic value, regulations may add constraints on ADU development, such as limiting the disturbance of natural resources or maintaining view corridors. Zoning regulations closely govern the permissible uses, dimensional standards, and required permissions, thereby shaping the development pattern in these zones and safeguarding the designated purposes they serve.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section addresses common inquiries regarding the specific requirements and procedures for constructing and permitting accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in Phoenix, Arizona.

What are the size limitations for constructing an ADU in Phoenix, Arizona?

In Phoenix, size limitations for ADUs depend on the area of the lot. For lots under 10,000 square feet, the ADU is limited to 1,000 square feet. For lots exceeding 10,000 square feet, the upper limit is either 3,000 square feet or 10% of the net lot area, whichever is less, but no ADU can surpass 75% of the gross floor area of the primary dwelling.

What is the process for obtaining an ADU permit in Phoenix?

Prospective builders must submit a draft site plan to Shape Phoenix, the city's planning department webpage, or present it in person at City Hall. This step initiates the review and permitting process for ADU construction.

What are the setback requirements for ADUs in the City of Phoenix?

Setback requirements for ADUs in Phoenix are established to ensure proper spacing from property lines. Nevertheless, the search results did not provide specific details on current setback requisites.

Are there any specific regulations for detached accessory structures in Phoenix?

Yes, there are specific regulations for detached accessory structures in Phoenix, including ordinances on their permitted uses and applicable zoning districts. These regulations were updated as of November 2023.

Can you build a guest house on your property in Phoenix, and what are the restrictions?

It is permissible to build a guest house on your property in Phoenix. The restrictions include adherence to the ADU regulations, which mandate considerations such as size limits, operational independence, and prohibition of their use as short-term rentals.

How do Maricopa County ADU regulations differ from those within Phoenix city limits?

The regulations for ADUs can vary between different jurisdictions. The search results provided no direct comparison, but generally, ADU regulations within Phoenix city limits are city-specific and can differ from the broader regulations set by Maricopa County.

Download your free resource

Table of Contents

Get coverage in minutes

One of America's best-rated landlord insurance services. No hidden cancellation fees. Competitive rates nationwide.

Get a quote
Get Appointed

Delight your clients with one of America's best-rated landlord insurance services nationwide.

Apply Today

Video Library

View all videos

Other Resources

Get coverage in minutes

No hidden cancellation fees. Competitive rates nationwide.

    Thank you! Your submission has been received!
    Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

    Get Appointed

    Become a Steadily appointed agent and start selling one of America's best-rated landlord insurance services.