Updated policies make it easier to build casitas in Tucson

Since 2021, Tucson has permitted Casitas or Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in zones that allow residential uses. A Casita is a small, secondary home located on the same lot as an existing residence. More than a guesthouse or sleeping quarters, a Casita has its own entrance, kitchen, bathroom, living and sleeping space. Casitas are just one way to add to a varied and flexible housing supply in Tucson. City departments are working together to remove some barriers so that more people can own and rent these kinds of homes. Some recent policy updates help simplify the process or reduce costs in certain cases.

Casita conversions have some different building code requirements

Casitas that are created by altering existing, permitted structures (like guesthouses, garages, or sheds) do not have to meet the same requirements for solar, greywater, and electric vehicle charging as new construction.

Shared or separate utilities are possible

Separate utility requirements do not apply to accessory structures, including Casitas. Utilities may be shared with the primary structure on the property.

Use this handout to learn more about the new regulations, and how to design and permit a casita. For more background about Casitas in Tucson, visit the project page.

More information available soon

Other programs in development include a Casita Amnesty program, which is a way for homeowners to bring a Casita built before December 2021 ‘up to code’ through an application time frame, safety inspection, and reduced fees. Another strategy is to create pre-approved Casita Model Plans that offer a faster, easier, and more predictable design and permitting process.