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What's the difference between ADU and JADU?

An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) and a junior accessory dwelling unit (JADU) are both secondary dwelling units attached or detached from the main house. However, there are some critical differences between them, the most notable being that JADUs are smaller and have fewer amenities than regular ADUs.

ADU vs JADU, side by side

Size and Layout: An ADU is a self-contained living unit with a kitchen, bathroom, and living area. It can be up to 1,200 square feet and attached or detached from the primary residence. On the other hand, a JADU is typically smaller, up to 500 square feet, and must be attached to the primary residence. A JADU may not have a separate kitchen and may only have a kitchenette and not full appliances.

Zoning and Permits: The regulations for building an ADU or a JADU vary by location. Usually, building an ADU requires a permit and approval from the local planning department. In contrast, JADUs are often created within the existing living space of the primary residence. They may have different prerequisites than regular ADUs, like lower parking and setbacks requirements, and may not need the same permits as an ADU.

Rental income and Property Value: ADUs can be rented out separately from the main house, generating rental income for the homeowner. A JADU may also be rented out, but it typically generates less rental income due to its smaller size. It may only be rented by a family member.

Aging in Place: A JADU is often seen as a solution for multi-generational living, as it provides a space for an elderly parent or adult child to live with the family while still maintaining some independence. ADUs can also be used for aging in place. Still, they may be better suited for individuals or couples rather than families.

Note that the terms "junior ADU," "micro ADU," and "mini ADU" are not used consistently across different jurisdictions. The size, setback, parking and other regulations for these units vary by city. Check with your local planning department to determine your area's requirements for junior ADUs.

In summary, ADUs and JADUs are both secondary dwelling units, but they differ in size, zoning requirements, rental income potential, and suitability for aging in place. The choice between the two will depend on the needs and circumstances of the homeowner.

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