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The JADU – A Good Solution For Multigenerational Families


Ron Chin

|Last Updated: 26 Jul 2022

If you are considering building a JADU, here is some information that you need to keep in mind.


A Pew Research Center study found that the number of people living in a multigenerational household has increased from 42.4 million in 2000 to 64 million people in 2016 (20% of the US population). An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a good housing solution for a multigenerational family because it allows the different generations to have some privacy and separate living space. In particular, a junior accessory dwelling unit (JADU) may be helpful to a multigeneration household.


What is a JADU?

A JADU is a special type of ADU that is created by taking part of the existing house and turning it into a separate living unit with its own entrance and address. If you are considering building a JADU, here is some information that you need to keep in mind:

  • The maximum size is 500 square feet.
  • The JADU must have its own external entrance.
  • The JADU must have at least an efficiency kitchen.
  • Having a bathroom in a JADU is optional. The JADU may share a bathroom with the main house.

The following housing configurations may be conducive to building an JADU:

  • A one-story ranch style house in which one side or the back of the house can be converted into an in-law unit.
  • A two-story house.


My JADU story

My mother did not want her in-law unit to be detached from the main house, so the JADU was a great solution for us at our two-story house. We created a 497 square foot JADU by remodeling the rear portion of the first floor.  It has a bedroom, living room, full kitchen, and bathroom with a walk-in bathtub and washer/dryer. The total cost of the JADU was about $100,000 (includes $14,000 for concrete work for a walkway and patio), which is much less than the cost would have been for a cottage or extension ADU. We are pleased that we built a JADU for my mother!



About the Author:



Ron Chin (MBA, UC Berkeley) is the author of the book How to Build an In-Law Unit in California: Your Essential Guide. He decided to write the book after completing a challenging ADU project on his property in Fremont. He began writing professionally when he worked in high-tech as a curriculum developer, and later as a technical writer. Currently, he is a realtor with Realty World, and also an ADU coach who helps homeowners add a second unit to their property.


Ron's blog:


Contact Ron:

For real estate -


Cell Phone: (510) 676-6772


For publications and in-law unit coaching -


Cell Phone: (510) 676-6772

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