Housing Regulation and Related Information

Scroll below for the Housing related topics on this page: 

  1. Affordable Housing
  2. Housing Element of the General Plan
  3. Accessory Dwelling Units
  4. Universal Design (handicap accessibility)
  5. Food Desert/Food Imbalance Study
  6. Other Housing Related Information

Note: Individuals seeking financial assistance for housing should contact the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency.​


1. Affordable Housing

Visit the Affordable Housing Ordinance Page for the adopted Affordable Housing Ordinance and other related information. 

What is Affordable Housing? According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), housing is affordable to a household when it costs no more than 30% of the household’s monthly income.

In response to the need for affordable housing in the Sacramento region, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors approved the Affordable Housing Ordinance to provide housing that is affordable to low (50 to 80% of median countywide income), very low (30 to 50% of median countywide income) and extremely low income (below 30% of median countywide income) households.The Affordable Housing Ordinance requires almost every new market rate, residential dwelling building permit to either pay a set fee, or comply using a few other options. The fees that will be collected will be used to construct affordable housing units.  

More information. View the Affordable Housing Frequently Asked Questions or the Affordable Housing Program Guidelines for general information on how you can meet your affordable housing obligation. You can read the County’s Affordable Housing Ordinance for more detail. Visit the County's Fair Housing page​ for more information and resources. 

The inventory of Vacant Parcels available for affordable housing may be of interest to applicants who opt to provide land to meet their affordable housing obligation. The list is of parcels that are vacant and appropriately zoned for affordable housing.

Contact. If you have any questions, please contact Tim Kohaya , Associate Planner at (916) 874-6141.

2. Housing Element of the General Plan

Housing Element. The Sacramento County Housing Element identifies and analyzes existing and projected housing needs for all income groups as well as implementing action to address those needs. This document provides the policy basis for the Zoning Code and housing related ordinances. Individual chapters of the Housing Element are provided below:   

3. Accessory Dwelling Units

Accessory Dwelling permits are often requested to provide a second dwelling for rental purposes or for family members. The information below will help you to decide if you want to pursue permitting for an accessory dwelling, what it would cost and how to apply.

Basic Requirements and Entitlements Required.  Accessory Dwellings may be allowed with a building permit on properties with existing primary dwellings, for use as a rental or for family members. The maximum accessory dwelling size is based on the size of the lot.

Lot SizeMaximum Permitted ADU Size
5,200 – 8,500 Sq. Ft.400 Sq. Ft.
8,501 – 10,000 Sq. Ft.500 Sq. Ft.
>10,000 Sq. Ft.600 Sq. Ft.

If the proposed ADU is not consistent with these size standards, a Conditional Use Permit will be required. An ADU may not exceed 1,200 Sq. Ft. in size.

Building Permit or Conditional Use Permit.

For information on fees for Accessory Dwelling applications please contact the Planning Department http://www.per.saccounty.net/_layouts/images/ichtm.gifFront Counter staff.

Accessory Dwelling Standards and Manual. The Accessory Dwelling Unit Standards  page provides a list of requirements and restriction for residential accessory dwellings.  Related Zoning Code language is found in Zoning Code Sections 5.4.5.B, C, and D.

The Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Manual  provides information on how to start your project, how to design your ADU, how to build and rent your ADU, and has an appendix full of useful information. There are six prototypes for detached ADUs in this manual, and four ADU garage conversion examples. Some of the ADUs have garages attached, and some have options to face an alley. The prototype you choose should reflect the overall layout and pattern of your own neighborhood.

Also, the Accessory Dwelling Unit Manual is available at the Planning and Environmental Review Public Counter at 827 7th Street, Room 102 in downtown Sacramento. The individual ADU examples are also available at the Public Counter.

Note: Much of the material in the manual was borrowed from the City of Santa Cruz's ADU Technical Assistance Program and some of the content has been modified to be used in Sacramento County.  We are deeply indebted to the City of Santa Cruz for their innovative work.

Note: Please note that the Zoning Code standards cited in the Accessory Dwelling Unit Manual are out of date, and the manual is currently being updated to reflected current standards. The update will be made available as soon as possible.

Contact. If you have any questions, please contact Tim Kohaya , Associate Planner at (916) 874-6141.

The goal for universal design is to create a safer, more comfortable and user-friendly place to live by incorporating accessible and barrier-free design into homes.  It strives to produce dwellings that are accessible for all people regardless of race, age, sex, culture, gender, weight and ability.  Universal design avoids using special assistive technology, and instead employs design features and consumer products that are easy to use and widely acceptable.View the brochure on universal design for more information.

Contact. If you have questions, please contact Tim Kohaya , Associate Planner at (916) 874-6141.

Food Desert/Food Imbalance Study. The purpose of this innovative 2010 study was to identify food desert and food imbalance areas in the unincorporated Sacramento County.  Food deserts have been defined as “areas characterized by relatively poor access to healthy and affordable food.  Food imbalance areas usually have high concentrations of nearby fast food alternatives coupled with limited access to healthy and affordable food. Please view the study and maps to find out where food desert and food imbalance areas are located in the unincorporated County.

Food Desert Areas: Low income neighborhoods* where the nearest supermarked is beyond a comfortable walking distance (0.62 mile) for mostresidents.  Food Desert Map

Food Imbalance Areas: Low income neighborhoods* where the nearest supermarket is at least twice as far as the nearest fast food restaurant for most residents. Food Imbalance Area Map.

Maps of Communities with Significant Number of Food Desert and Food Imbalance Areas:

2010 Food Desert/Food Imbalance Study:   

  • Study Pamphlet

6. Other Housing Related Information

Emergency Repair Program (ERP-A). The ERP-A Program is designed to provide grants for emergency/health and safety repairs to owners of single family homes or mobile homes in the City and County of Sacramento. This program is administered by the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency.

Exterior Housing Condition Survey. In 2009, Planning Division staff conducted the Exterior Housing Conditions Study to determine the exterior condition of housing in portions in Arden-Arcade, the Delta, North Highlands, and South Sacramento.  Target areas were surveyed for housing type and structure type and rated on a 5 point scale ranging from “sound” to “dilapidated”, based on the condition of siding, roofing and windows. 

Housing Related Agencies:

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing is the state agency charged with enforcing California's civil rights laws. The mission of this Department is to protect the people of California from unlawful discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations and from hate violence.

Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA). The Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agencyis the lead public agency and public developer for the City and the County regarding affordable housing, public housing and redevelopment projects and issues. The SHRA offers information on programs providing financial assistance to households seeking housing.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development - This department provides leadership, policies and programs to expend and preserve safe and affordable housing opportunities and promote strong communities for all Californians. For more information, visit the California Department of Housing and Community Development's website.