If you own residential property in California, new legislation is opening doors for you.
This year’s ADU legislation is truly revolutionary and may make 2020 the best year ever to build the perfect accessory dwelling (or two) on your property.
For example, this year’s bills eliminate the owner occupancy requirement that currently exists in most jurisdictions. That means you can choose to live on the property or to live elsewhere. And that’s not the only way the legislation benefits owners.
To give you an idea of how important this year’s legislation is, here is a detailed summary of just one of the bills — AB 68.
AB 68 eases restrictions and reduces costs for anyone who wants to get more out of their property by:
- Requiring local agencies to issue ADU permits in 60 days (rather than the current 120-day limit)
- Prohibiting local agencies from imposing lot coverage or lot size requirements on ADUs
- Eliminating the requirement that off-street parking spaces be replaced if a garage, carport, or covered parking is demolished to build an ADU
- Requiring local agencies to allow additional space (up to 150 sq ft) beyond the physical dimensions of the existing garage or shed for purposes of accommodating ADU access and egress
- Prohibiting local agencies from imposing maximum ADU sizes less than 800 square feet or maximum ADU heights of less than 16 feet
- Prohibiting local agencies from requiring that pre-existing “nonconforming zoning conditions” be corrected as a condition for ADU permit issuance
And perhaps of greatest interest. . .
ministerial “by-right” approvals for:
- Two ADUs per single family property — an attached or detached ADU plus a “junior” ADU (made from existing living space)
- Multiple ADUs at multifamily properties
Here is a brief summary of other ADU streamlining bills close to passage:
AB 69: Requires the state (HCD) to develop “small home” building standards for accessory dwelling units of less than 800 square feet and junior accessory dwelling units that include allowances for small kitchens and bathrooms with small appliances. These standards are intended to make construction standards for ADUs more cost-effective.
AB 670: Prevents homeowner associations (which govern roughly 6 million homes in California) from barring ADUs outright.
AB 881: Eliminates the owner-occupancy requirement. Prohibits local agencies from imposing parking standards within a half mile of transit, and defines public transit as a bus stop, bus line, light rail, streetcar, car share drop-off or pickup, or heavy rail stop. Requires local agencies to ministerially approve ADUs on lots with multifamily residences and within existing garages.
AB 1482: Prohibits an owner of a residential real property from increasing the rental rate on a property that has been in effect for the preceding 12 months in an amount that is greater than the Consumer Price Index (CPI) plus 5%, not to exceed 10%. This is unlikely to have any effect in cities that already have rent control.
AB 1483: Requires every city to track ADU permit applications and ADU permits issued. That will expose the bad actors (i.e., cities with performance issues).
AB 1484: Requires local agencies to post a schedule of their ADU fees online and requires the agencies to disclose the website address to ADU permit applicants.
SB 13: Allows ADUs up to 1,000 square feet. Limits impact fees and owner-occupancy requirements. Prohibits local agencies from imposing parking requirements on ADUs located within a half mile of public transit. Reduces ADU permit approvals to 60 days. Expands the areas where an ADU can be built to include attached garages, storage areas, and accessory structures.
SB 592: Extends Housing Accountability Act protections to single-family and ADU projects. If a homeowner takes a city to court for rejecting an ADU project and wins, SB 592 would allow the homeowner to receive compensatory damages in addition to attorney fees.
This year’s ADU bills from powerful state legislators are each past the halfway mark toward passage, and each bill is intended to make it easier and more affordable for you to build one or more ADUs at your property.
We’re ecstatic about this legislation that eliminates hurdles and saves money for homeowners who want to build ADUs.
Thanks to Greg San Martin, our ally and housing policy wonk for the bill summaries.