California ADU Legislation Update
In reaction to the ongoing housing crisis, starting in 2017, California adopted new rules making it easier for homeowners to obtain permits for ADU construction from local municipalities. If you are looking for additional space for your family or a supplemental rental income, an ADU may be the answer for you. You can build a new unit or convert an existing structure for residential use. The unit should have permanent facilities for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.
To make it possible to create an ADU, the state reduced or eliminated parking requirements and made ADUs not considered new residencies for the purpose of calculating utility connections. To cut the red tape, they currently give cities 120 days to approve construction of an ADU. Lastly, the ADUs can’t be bigger than 50% of the existing living area up to 1200 sq. ft. Not all cities are happy about the state mandate. California legislature continues to work towards state-wide rules for ADU construction. AB670 approved by the governor in August allows ADUs within HOAs regardless of Association Rules and Bylaws.
Another bill, AB68, that is still in process now, eliminates minimum lot size requirements that cities were previously allowed to set, and shortens the allowed approval time to 60 days. SB13, also is still in progress, eliminates impact fees for units under 750 sq. ft. and prohibits cities from enforcing owner occupancy requirements. Here in Bay Area San Jose is aiming to become the most ADU friendly city in California. At the end of August the City launched a new online portal to help inexperienced homeowners navigate the process.
Staff also created a “universal checklist”, which consolidates the various requirements across the array of city departments. They provided a variety of master plans with pre-approved designs to offer lower cost and faster approval than custom designs. On Tuesdays, ADU customers will have access to a team of inspectors that review the plans in the same room all at once, providing an approval in as fast as 90 minute, a process that can typically take weeks.
Elena & Michael Talis