Figure Out What Permits You Need for an Accessory Dwelling Unit

Are you planning on building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on your property, such as a mother-in-law suite or garage apartment?

The city allows homeowners to build independent dwelling units with a separate kitchen, bedroom and exterior door on properties that meet the various requirements.

Examples are:

  • A mother-in-law suite, guest house, cottage or casita
  • A garage apartment
  • A one-story accessory structure in your backyard, such as a tiny house
  • An apartment above a detached garage in your backyard


Step 1.Check to see if your property is in city limits and find your zoning category

Your property must be within City of Orlando limits. Click on the link below to enter your property address in the "Find Address" search box.

To find your zoning, select the "Planning and Development" button on the bottom left of the screen. Check the "Zoning" box to view your category.

Check City Limits and Zoning

If your zoning category starts with R-1, R-2, R-3, MXD or O-1 and O-2, you may be eligible depending on your lot size.

Step 2.Check your zoning category's minimum lot size requirement

Your property may be zoned to allow an accessory dwelling unit depending on the zone's minimum lot size requirements. Check the table below to see if your lot meets its zone's minimum lot size.

See Minimum Lot Size Chart

Step 3.Review the additional requirements

In addition to zoning and lot size requirements, you will also need to comply with and consider:

  • Minimum and maximum floor area requirements
  • Building code requirements
  • Location on the lot
  • Appearance standards
  • Parking
  • Impact fees required
  • And more

Read through the development standards for building an accessory dwelling unit.

View ADU Standards

Step 4.If you are in a historic preservation district, you will need a Certificate of Appropriateness

If your property is in a historic preservation district, you will need to go through the Major Review process to apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness. Visit the page below to make sure you are on the right track before applying for the required certificate.

Historic District Major Review

You can also find out by entering your address in the Information Locator. Under "Planning and Development", you will see if you are part of a historic district.

Step 5.Contact us with additional questions

You may also contact us for a planning review to answer any questions you may have before applying for your required permits.

Contact Us

Step 6.Review your permit costs and apply for the required permits

Apply for Permit