In 2019, five new bills became effective for the building of Accessory Dwelling Units.

What are ADUs, and what impact do the newly enacted bills have on the California housing market?

About ADUs

The term Accessory Dwelling Unit refers to a housing unit that shares land with a detached house. The owner of the detached house will often build an ADU that can become a rental unit. Another reason to construct an ADU is to provide living accommodations for a loved one, such as an elderly relative.

5 new bills

Of the five bills passed in 2019, AB-881 and AB-68 may have the most impact on the housing market in California. They do away with restrictions that complicated the construction of ADUs and streamline the process.

For example, acquiring a permit now takes no more than 60 days for approval, half the time it used to take. The new bills also forbid municipalities from restricting minimum lot size or lot coverage requirements.

Meanwhile, SB-13 eliminates the previous requirement for the person applying for the ADU to occupy either that structure or the primary residence on the property. AB-670 makes it easier for people who reside in communities with HOA rules to build ADUs. This means that the communities’ CCRs, or conditions, covenants and restrictions, will require updating.

Finally, AB-671 seeks to make ADUs more available to families of low- to moderate-income means by incentivizing property owners to rent to such families.

Anticipated results

Because the new bills make ADUs faster and easier to build, the hope is that they will provide better housing opportunities for renters in the low- to moderate-income brackets. The housing market in California has become increasingly difficult to enter for people at certain income levels. Accessory Dwelling Units may help to solve that problem.

No matter what the reason for a homeowner to add an ADU, whether to attract a renter or to provide comfortable “mother-in-law” accommodations, this is a good time to benefit from the reduction in the red tape and start building.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon. No attorney-client relationship is established, and readers should consult with counsel regarding any information contained herein.