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Secondary Units, New Construction and Legalization of Existing Secondary Units

The typical configuration of many Daly City houses lends itself to the construction of a secondary unit in the lower level. Should you desire to construct a new secondary unit in your home, City staff will work with you to determine if this is possible. The items listed below outline the path for you to follow to construct a new secondary unit.

Secondary Unit Prerequisites

  1. Owner occupancy: The owner of record must live in one of the units.
  2. The site must provide four off-street parking spaces. Each space must be at least 19 feet in length and 8.5 feet in width. Two of the spaces must be in a garage.
  3. The second unit must not be larger than 25% of the total floor area of the building.
  4. There cannot be more than two dwelling units on any single parcel of land.
  5. The block in which you live must not have more than the allotted number of living units for the area. This is referred to as neighborhood density. The Planning Division will verify this.

Steps to Building a New Secondary Unit

  1. Meet all prerequisites.
  2. Complete the Planning Division's Secondary Unit application form and pay all fees.
  3. Submit three copies each of a plot plan and floor plans.
    • The floor plans must show both floors, all rooms and usage and be dimensioned; the lower floor plan must show windows (indicating size) and all plumbing and electrical fixtures. Include plan notes addressing garage insulating, sheet rock, raising the water heater, no plastic piping, separate heating source for the secondary unit, smoke detectors in all bedrooms, hall and on each level of the house, and all other Daly City code requirements which apply.
    • The plot plan shows the length and width of the lot. It locates the existing house on the lot and states the distance between the house and the property lines on all four sides. The length and width of the existing and proposed driveways is to be shown. Locate and define utility connections. The plot plan also locates fire hydrants, trees, power poles, or any other fixed object between the property line and curb.
  4. All plans must be submitted on 11" X 17" or larger paper. Plans must reflect the existing conditions and the proposed revisions.
  5. The plot plan is to be drawn to a 1/8" to 1' scale and the floor plans are to be drawn to a 1/4" to 1' scale.
  6. Submit two copies of the Title 24 Energy Report. The CF-1R and MF-1R forms are to be on the plans.
  7. Submit proof of owner occupancy (copies of at least two different utility bills, such as electric bill, cable TV bill, with your name and address and driver's license).
  8. Submit a copy of your grant deed with the San Mateo County Recorder's stamp.
  9. Submit a photograph of the front of your house, which also shows the driveway and garage door.
  10. Pay all application and plan check fees. Payment of plan check fees does not constitute a permit or approval to start work before issuance of permits.
  11. Submit an application for building permits.

Plans will be reviewed to assure they comply with Daly City codes and ordinances. Either a list of correction comments will be provided or the plans will be approved. If comments are provided, plans will need to be corrected and resubmitted.

When Plans and Documents Are Approved

  1. Pay all building permit fees and obtain all required permits.
  2. Begin construction and schedule all necessary inspections. Inspections are scheduled by calling the Building Division before 3:30 p.m. on the day prior to the desired day of inspection. Some typical inspections are under floor plumbing, framing, rough plumbing, electrical, mechanical, insulation and sheet rock nailing. All work must be inspected before it is covered.
  3. Obtain the final inspection and sign-off.

Note: The unit (new or existing) is not to be occupied until work is complete and the final inspection has been successfully completed.

After the final inspection, the property owner will receive a Certificate of Occupancy and a letter of registration from the City Planning Division. The registration letter is to be signed and notarized then returned to the Planning Division with the required registration fee. They will then assist you in registering your secondary unit with the County of San Mateo Recorder's Office. This completes the legalization process.

Legalizing an Existing Secondary Unit

To retain an existing secondary unit, the same requirements and procedures apply. Construction must meet current codes.

Additional Information

For information regarding parking, zoning, and number of existing units in an area, or owner occupancy, please contact the Planning Division at (650) 991-8033.


For all other code and inspection information, call the Building Division at (650) 991-8061.


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