Accessory Dwelling Unit regulations are changing all the time.
There are over 480 cities, 58 counties, 540 local jurisdictions throughout the State of California. That’s a lot of city planning and building departments updating their ADU regulations.
The ADU movement is on the rise and not going away. The need for long-term housing plans for homeowners and their families has fundamentally shifted how people see these homes. And in September of 2016, Governor Jerry Brown, stepped in to make it easier for homeowners to get started.
California State Law
Existing California laws have always permitted the construction of ADUs. However, local ordinances have for decades, perhaps unintentionally, made it difficult for homeowners to build new units. Imposed standards at the city and county level regulated parking, setbacks, lot size, lot coverage, and required substantial fees.
Fortunately, in September 2016, three ADU-related bills were passed in an effort to address California’s housing crisis. These new bills also make it easier for California homeowners to obtain permission for ADU construction from local governing bodies.
Senate Bill 1069 reduces or eliminates parking requirements and utility hookup fees. It also speeds up the approval process for second units attached to a primary residence.
Assembly Bill 2299 goes further than SB1069, requiring local second-unit ordinances to include ministerial, non-discretionary approval for any second unit that meets city requirements.
Assembly Bill 2406 streamlines the process for homeowners converting an existing bedroom into an attached studio living unit.
These laws kicked off a movement, as local governments were required to adopt updated, ADU ordinances in accordance with these new state requirements by January 1, 2017.
The ADU movement begins.
Since January 1, 2017 cities across the State of California have been adopting, updating, editing, changing, voting on, and re-working ADU regulations almost constantly as demand grows and more and more homeowners identify how beneficial these backyard homes can be for their families long-term.
That isn’t to say navigating the rules are easy. In fact, navigating the regulations in your local jurisdiction can be very challenging—a challenge that is compounded by the fact that these regulations are being changed all the time.
If creating a housing plan for your family is important to you, we recommend taking the time to pick a partner that can guide you through the process.