A project of the Solano County Planning Collaborative

Phase Seven

Renting & Move-in

  • Understand what it takes to rent out your ADU
  • Consider affordable pricing for your unit
  • Make a long-term plan for the care and upkeep of your ADU

Timeline

Most ADU projects take 12-18 months to complete, but some extend to 24 months or more.

FAQs

Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about renting and move-in. See the content below for more guidance, resources, and tips for all steps of the process.

Step by Step

Before you begin Confirm the new street address for your ADU with your city or county staff. You’ll need this street address to establish utility services and to set up your lease.

Renting

Step 1

Complete PreLiminary steps

Prepare to rent your unit by getting insurance, setting up utilities, and developing a plan to handle the finances.

Renting

Step 2

Understand rental laws

You will need to understand all the laws related to being a landlord, especially around discrimination. For an overview of California laws that regulate certain aspects of the rental housing market, review California Tenants: A Guide to Residential Tenants’ and Landlords’ Rights and Responsibilities, published by the California Department of Consumer Affairs. You should also talk to city staff about regulations that might apply

Renting

Step 3

Set the rent

Maximizing the rent is often not the only consideration – setting a fair rent a bit under market rate will help you attract and keep good tenants. Consider pricing your unit so that it is affordable for the local workforce and families who may not be able to afford high rents in the city. A unit is considered affordable if a household is paying less than one-third of their income on their housing costs.

Many homeowners are motivated to rent their ADU affordably to community members because they serve essential roles and often have difficulty finding housing that meets their needs. If you financed your construction with a loan, consider the loan length, interest rate and any reserve funds you have as well.

Renting

Step 4

Write YOUR LEASE

You will need to create a lease (or rental agreement if renting month-to-month) for both you and the tenant to sign. This agreement should clearly identify all the expectations for you and your future tenant. Even if you are renting to a friend or family member, creating an agreement is always a good idea to avoid possible confusion or conflict. Sample agreements can be found online, and you can use our What You Want In Your Lease worksheet to help.

Key Resources

Renting

Step 5

Find a tenant

Research how to successfully advertise your ADU and select a good tenant. Along with word of mouth or posting your rental online, you can also contact nearby schools, faith communities, or other similar locations to see if any teachers, staff, or community members are looking for housing. You can also post a rental listing on Craigslist or Zillow, share your listing with Facebook or Nextdoor group pages about housing in your area.

Once you select a tenant, collect a security deposit and first month’s rent when you sign the lease. Conducting a move-in inspection with your tenant is also a good idea.

Key Resources

Renting

Step 5

Manage your rental UNIT

Think through a long-term plan for the care and upkeep of your ADU, how shared responsibilities will be split, and how to address any issues that might occur with your tenant.

Other issues to consider:

  • Maintenance: According to state law, it is your responsibility as a landlord to maintain a “habitable” ADU, and note that you’ll need to give your tenant(s) 24 hours’ notice before you or maintenance providers can enter the unit.
  • Rent increases: Make sure you understand the rules about increasing the rent – California Tenants: A Guide to Residential Tenants’ and Landlords’ Rights and Responsibilities is a good resource.
  • Eviction: Hopefully you and your tenant(s) will not have problems, but if problems do arise that cannot be resolved, you will need to consider eviction. It’s recommended that you work with a lawyer if eviction is necessary. State law mandates a judicial eviction process, which is best handled by a lawyer.

Not sure what questions to ask?

Check out our ADU worksheets

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