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Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU)

Accessory Dwelling Units
Accessory Dwelling Units

Accessory Dwelling Units are residential housing units that function as as a secondary use to a primary use on an existing property. They function as fully independent living quarters with a kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area. Examples are:

  • “Mother-in-law" cottages
  • Tiny Homes
  • Garage apartments

ADUs are more affordable because they are smaller in size than a full-size home or apartment. Tampa’s code allows ADUs to be constructed in Seminole Heights and the area around Lowry Park. Everywhere else in the City, ADUs may only be created for a family member and are called Extended Family Residences (EFR). The main residence must be owner-occupied. Other developments and use regulations apply.

The City of Tampa conducted an online survey on the topic of Accessory Dwelling Units in the Spring of 2022. Approximately 1,000 responses were received.

Staff is bringing forward changes to the Tampa Land Development Code related to Accessory Dwelling Units.

June 23, 2022 City Council Presentation on Accessory Dwelling Units


Proposed Code Amendments – Strike Through Language and Summary:

Below is a summary of the two sets of code amendments under consideration. Click the hyperlink to download a PDF of the strikethrough language for each amendment. 

1. Definitions, Permitted Areas, Parking Required 

  • ADU is not specifically defined. Clarify the definition for Accessory Dwelling Unit in the Code to be consistent with Florida Statutes.
  • Expand allowable areas to include Central Tampa, Westshore, University planning districts. A map is provided below and specific planning district boundaries are defined in City Code Sec. 27-20
  • Clarify the parking requirements for ADUs. One space per ADU on-site will be required. Tandem parking with the principal structure will be allowed. No parking will be required for ADUs that are less than 600 square feet in size.
  • Amend the ADU criteria in the Seminole Heights districts to be consistent with the citywide changes.

2. Special Use Criteria, Specified Use Criteria 

  • Currently ADUs are classified as a special use, which requires an additional Special Use permit and approval. This change will establish Accessory Dwelling Unit as a Specified Use which removes the requirement for the additional special use permit.
  • Existing accessory structures that do not meet code requirements are non-conforming and are not allowed to be converted into an ADU. A nonconforming structure means a structure that does not conform to one or more requirements in the current zoning code. For example, a structure that was built before the current zoning code was adopted. This change will modify the criteria to allow existing nonconforming structures, such as a detached garage, to be converted into an ADU. Florida Building Code requirements for health and safety will still apply. More information about nonconforming structures can be found in Sec 27-297
  • Currently, ADU criteria limits the number of occupants to no more than two. The word unrelated is being added before word occupants to allow for a small family to occupy the space.
  • Currently, the property owner must reside in the primary structure as a required condition of the ADU use. This requirement is being removed to allow for more flexibility for the property owner. 
  • The code is silent on if an ADU may be separately metered for electricity and water. This clarification is being added.


Research & Resources:


Virtual Public Information Meeting – October 18 at 6:00 PM

City Council Workshop – October 27 at 9:00 AM

  • City presented the proposed changes at this meeting.
  • Staff Presentation (includes unrelated code amendments)