ADU Buiders

Rancho Santa Fe

share Share

11 min read

Picking an ADU builder in Rancho Santa Fe with deep experience is critical.


In the picturesque community of Rancho Santa Fe, optimizing your property with an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) offers not just an opportunity to augment your living space but also to contribute positively to the housing solutions within the area. Partnering with the right ADU builders in Rancho Santa Fe and navigating the construction and rental processes are essential steps to ensure your project aligns with local regulations and achieves your goals. Better Place Remodeling stands out in Rancho Santa Fe for our comprehensive, in-house approach to ADU development, offering homeowners a seamless experience from conception through completion.

Essential ADU Rules for Rancho Santa Fe

What you can build

  • Maximum size

    Attached ADUs: 50% of primary home up to 1200 sq ft; Detached ADUs: 800 sq ft for single-family, 1200 sq ft for multifamily.
  • Side / rear setbacks

    Minimum 4 feet from side and rear lot lines.
  • Two story

    Allowed, but must adhere to local height regulations.
  • Building separation

    Minimum 6-foot separation between detached ADUs and primary residence with a requirement of 4 feet from eave to eave.

Permitting timeline

  • Standard

    4-6 months.
  • Coastal

    Typically not required, with exceptions for certain areas within the Unincorporated LCP Coastal Zone

Choosing the Right ADU Builder in Rancho Santa Fe

Selecting ADU builders with a deep understanding of Rancho Santa Fe’s specific ADU regulations, including zoning knowledge, design finesse, and proficiency in navigating city rules, is crucial. At Better Place Remodeling we’re your go-to partner in this journey, bringing unparalleled experience and a one-stop-shop approach to ADU construction. Our expertise in managing every phase in-house ensures your project is executed flawlessly, meeting both your aspirations and compliance requirements.

Rancho Santa Fe ADU Construction Process

The construction of an ADU in Rancho Santa Fe is a meticulous process encompassing several key phases:

  • Planning and Design

Begins with a feasibility study, ensuring your project aligns with local zoning and regulations.

  • Permitting

It involves submitting detailed plans to the city for approval, a step where our expertise significantly streamlines the process.

  • Construction

Once permits are approved, physical construction starts, adhering to the highest standards of craftsmanship and compliance.

  • Inspection and Completion

Includes several city inspections, concluding with obtaining a certificate of occupancy.

This process emphasizes the importance of adhering to local guidelines and maintaining open communication with the city’s planning department. At Better Place Remodeling, we handle the whole process so you have don’t have to.

Building Your ADU in Rancho Santa Fe

On single-family residential lots in Rancho Santa Fe, homeowners are permitted to have one Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) and one Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit (JADU). For multifamily properties, up to two detached ADUs may be allowed per lot, subject to specific size and height restrictions to ensure they are in compliance with local regulations.

Multifamily properties in Rancho Santa Fe can include both converted ADUs, which repurpose existing nonresidential spaces like garages or storage areas into living units, and newly constructed ADUs.

In Rancho Santa Fe, additional parking spaces are not required for ADUs under certain conditions: if the ADU is within a half-mile radius of public transit, located within a historic district, or involves the conversion of existing space within a primary residence or accessory structure. This exemption aims to facilitate ADU development by reducing the burden of providing additional off-street parking.

ADU Size & Building Constraints in Rancho Santa Fe

The maximum size for detached ADUs on single-family properties is 800 square feet. However, on lots with existing multifamily buildings, detached ADUs can be as large as 1200 square feet, accommodating larger units to better serve the needs of potential residents.

Detached ADUs in Rancho Santa Fe can have a height of up to 18 feet. For ADUs associated with multifamily lots, the height allowance extends up to 24 feet, permitting the construction of two-story structures that can offer more living space without exceeding the local height restrictions.

Yes, the regulations allow for the construction of two-story detached ADUs within the specified height limits. This provision enables homeowners and developers to maximize the use of vertical space, providing more flexible housing solutions within the community.

The inclusion of roof decks on ADUs is subject to Rancho Santa Fe’s specific guidelines and ordinances. Since local zoning and building codes may vary, it’s recommended to consult directly with the Rancho Santa Fe Planning Department for accurate and up-to-date information regarding the allowance of roof decks on ADUs.

Attached ADUs must not exceed 50% of the existing primary dwelling’s living area, with an absolute maximum size of 1200 square feet, regardless of the primary residence’s size. This ensures that attached ADUs are proportional to the primary residence and integrate seamlessly into the property.

ADUs in Rancho Santa Fe must adhere to design and material standards that match the primary dwelling to maintain aesthetic consistency across the property. This includes similar architectural features, colors, and materials, as well as compliance with local height and setback requirements, ensuring that ADUs contribute positively to the neighborhood’s character.

Renting Your ADU in Rancho Santa Fe

Renting out an ADU in Rancho Santa Fe offers homeowners an enticing opportunity to supplement their income while addressing the area’s housing needs. Understanding the local rental market, potential earnings, and landlord responsibilities is crucial before embarking on this venture. Rancho Santa Fe’s luxurious ambiance and sought-after location can make ADUs particularly appealing to renters seeking upscale accommodations. However, landlords must navigate various considerations, including crafting comprehensive lease agreements, deciding on utility arrangements, and adhering to legal requirements. Building a successful rental experience entails maintaining high standards and fostering positive relationships with tenants, tasks that Better Place Remodeling can assist with, ensuring the ADU is both impeccably constructed and optimized for rental success.

Neighborhoods: 4S Ranch, Black Mountain Ranch, Carmel Valley, Del Sur, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Santa Fe, Rancho Santa Fe.


Calculate Your ADU Cost in Rancho Santa Fe

Curious about the cost of your ADU in Rancho Santa Fe? Find out quickly with our interactive calculator. This tool is designed to give you a rough estimate.

Attached ADU


Estimated Cost


*The costs we are calculating here are an average for time and materials. This calculator is meant to provide an estimate to educate you on the ADU building process, please note that this is not a final quote.

Detached ADU


Estimated Cost


*The costs we are calculating here are an average for time and materials. This calculator is meant to provide an estimate to educate you on the ADU building process, please note that this is not a final quote.

Garage ADU


Estimated Cost


*The costs we are calculating here are an average for time and materials. This calculator is meant to provide an estimate to educate you on the ADU building process, please note that this is not a final quote.
Unlock possibilities


Building and renting out an ADU in Rancho Santa Fe offers a unique opportunity to enhance your property’s value, address the community’s housing needs, and generate additional income. However, the journey from concept to completion and beyond involves navigating a complex landscape of regulations and market considerations. Partnering with experienced ADU builders like Better Place Remodeling ensures that your project adheres to all local requirements while meeting your specific goals. Our one-stop-shop approach simplifies the process, allowing you to focus on the benefits of your new ADU without the stress of managing the myriad details involved.

Whether you’re expanding your living space, accommodating family, or exploring rental possibilities, an ADU can significantly impact your property and lifestyle. By engaging with knowledgeable builders and consulting with the Rancho Santa Fe planning department early in your project, you can embark on this rewarding investment with confidence, knowing you’re contributing positively to the local housing landscape while enhancing your property’s functionality and value.


Get more stories from us in your inbox.

    Your information will be used in accordance with Better Place Remodeling

    More Cities

    Share via

    Facebook Gmail Twitter WhatsApp