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Backyard program

If you are a homeowner, Homes for Sonoma is looking to partner with you to build an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on your property. Not only will you be able to earn rental income and add significant value to your property, you will also be helping the community by providing a quality home at below-market rate rent for new educators, first responders, retirees, and those in other essential industries who currently must live long distances from where they work.

Homes for Sonoma's unique approach and award-winning design provide an incredibly affordable, low-hassle opportunity for homeowners looking to add an ADU. Homes for Sonoma handles all of the design, project management, financing, and permitting responsibilities associated with building the ADU. Once the ADU is built, Homes for Sonoma handles the rental agreement, repairs and maintenance on the unit, and any lease enforcement issues. In exchange, homeowners split the rental income with Homes for Sonoma for a defined period of time. At the end of the ground-lease (or if the homeowner chooses to pay off the remaining balance on the unit sooner), the homeowner owns the unit outright. There really is no easier or cost-effective way to add an ADU to your property.

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Land Requirements
  • Not on a hill/slope of greater than 10%
  • Road & site access suitable for unit delivery
  • Zoned residential (R1 or R2)
  • Not located in 100-year flood zone
  • Not located in endangered species habitat
  • Not forested
Process & timeline
  • STEP 1: Land/site review
  • STEP 2: Feasibility study | Agreements, contract, & timeline
  • STEP 3: Build
  • STEP 4: Tenant selection | Move-in​​
Frequently Asked Homeowner Questions...
Can I choose my tenant?
  • Yes, but they must meet the guidelines for housing affordability and fair housing.
Who owns the unit? Is there a buyout option?
  • Homes for Sonoma owns the unit for the duration of the ground lease (10-15 years), but homeowners are able to buyout the unit at any time. An amortization table is provided with each contract to show the amount owed throughout the duration of the ground lease.
How much of the funding does the homeowner contribute?
  • Homeowners can contribute as little as $5,000 depending on the desired length of the ground lease and the desired amount of monthly rental income.
How much rental income can a homeowner anticipate earning?
  • The exact amount is specific to each project, but on average the rent will cover any added expenses associated with the ADU (e.g., property taxes, utilities, insurance) plus an additional $300-$500/mo.
Will adding an ADU impact my Prop 13 property tax eligibility?
  • While the added value of the unit will be taxed at the regular property tax rate, it will not impact the Prop 13 status of your existing home and property.
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