New California Laws makes it easier to build accessory dwelling units such as ‘granny flats’, guest houses, “in-law” suites, supplemental rental units
September 28, 2016
If you are a California homeowner who needs more space to accommodate family members in a multigenerational or intergenerational house (i.e. accessory dwelling units, “granny flat”, guest house, casita) or create additional rental income to offset your mortgage costs, you may not need to purchase another home to move to.
As California, the nation’s most populated state, continues to grow, so does its housing shortages. This drives the cost of California housing up, affecting affordability and those who lack resources to locate and secure suitable dwellings.
In an effort to address these shortages, and also to help create viable rental income opportunities for California homeowners, the state has passed a series of laws which make it easier for California cities, municipalities and, or counties, to allow accessory dwelling units to be added within homeowners’ existing properties. Their ordinances must be less restrictive than the state’s mandates.
Accessory dwelling units (ADU) are also be known in California as granny flats, guest houses, mother-in-law apartments, in-law suites, casitas, etc, depending on local custom.
The California laws that have lenient restrictions on building/ permitting ‘granny flats’/ accessory dwellings units take effect on January 1, 2017.
Contact your local government agency to get more details on how these new laws affect your property and your ability to create an Accessory Dwelling Unit, or Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit.
The California new laws pertaining to Accessory Dwelling Units and Juniors are:
SB 1069 California Land Use: Zoning
Read the entire bill here (for ease of reading, click Bill Analysis and review the most current entry): https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB1069
This law prohibits California local governments to require that accessory dwelling units have separate utility connections, or to charge a connection fee, as long as the accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is enclosed in the existing space of a single family home or accessory structure. This law also relaxes mandated additional parking requirements which prevented the creation of ADUs in many locations. SB 1069 requires municipalities to designate areas where ADUs are permitted, limit their ability to approve on a case-by-case basis (called discretionary approvals) and require them to review and respond to applications within 120 days of submittal. This new legislation authored by California Senator Bob Wieckowski does not require cities and counties to adopt ordinances specific to their areas but does allow them 60 days to develop their own ordinances that comply with the state laws.
SB 1069 was approved by the California Governor on September 27, 2016. Filed with Secretary of State September 27, 2016.
AB 2299 California Land Use: Housing: 2nd Units
Read the entire bill here (for ease of reading, click Bill Analysis and review the most current entry); https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB2299
This law stipulates that local ordinances cannot be more restrictive than the state law. The law also prohibits local government from adopting ordinances that totally prevent ADUs, with few exceptions. In addition, this law limits setback requirements, provides for certain types of garage modifications to create an ADU and limits the size to be no more than 50% of the existing living area.
AB 2299 was approved by the California Governor on September 27, 2016. Filed with Secretary of State September 27, 2016.
AB 2406 – Housing: Junior Accessory Dwelling Units
Read the entire bill here (for ease of reading, click Bill Analysis and review the most current entry): https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billAnalysisClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160AB2406
This law allows local government to create ordinance for permitted Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADU) in single family zones. This law limits JADUs to no more than 500 square feet in size, be constructed within the existing walls of the single family structure and must include an existing bedroom. The JADU must also have a separate entrance from the main home’s and enter directly into the JADU’s living room. The accessory unit is also required to have its own efficiency kitchen with a sink, counter space and cooking appliance.
AB 2406 was approved by the California Governor on September 28, 2016. Filed with Secretary of State September 28, 2016.
Additional Articles to read from other websites
- California Eases Restrictions on Granny Units – Read the article on Mercury News
- Crazy-high rent, record-low homeownership, and overcrowding: California has a plan to solve the housing crisis, but not without a fight – Read article on Business Insider
- The Genius of Granny Flats – Interview with Gary London, president of The London Group Realty Advisors – Read the article on San Diego Magazine
- How to solve California’s housing shortage? Build ‘granny flats’ in homeowners’ backyards – Read the Article on LA Times
- It will be soon be easier to add granny flats in San Diego – Read Article on San Diego Union Tribune
- San Diego eases rules on building granny flats – July 2, 2003 – Read Article on San Diego Union Tribune
Videos to Watch: Accessory Dwelling Units in California
Are Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) Right For You?
Source: San Francisco Planning
Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs, are also known as secondary units, in-law units, granny flats, or cottages. ADUs are generally developed using an underutilized space; such as a parking garage, storage room, or attic, and they play an important role in our housing supply. San Francisco first adopted its ADU program in 2014 for select districts, and as of September 4, 2016, San Francisco’s Accessory Dwelling Unit program is available Citywide
Good or Bad Idea? Backyard Granny Pods
Source: The List TV Show
All about ADUs (accessory dwelling units)
In this video 30X40 Design Workshop reviews the the accessory dwelling unit (ADU) which is an additional, self-contained home located either within or adjacent to an existing house. They’re also known as in-law units, granny flats, multigenerational homes, and laneway houses. The author also discusses the permitting procedures, restrictions, and general planning framework for the ADU.
Source: 30X40 Design Workshop