Jun 14, 2022

Now, what does the new California ADU Law mean for prospective homeowners?

California is one of the most booming and productive states in the United States. In fact, in 2021, the state’s GDP was $3.35 trillion, representing 14.6% of the total U.S. economy. Thriving in various sectors like technology, media, trade, tourism, and agriculture, California would be the 5th largest economy globally if it were a country.

However, despite the state’s advancements in the various playing fields, California’s housing production is not keeping up with the growing demand. California opportunities do exist, but there seems to be a deficiency in inventory in neighborhoods. Additionally, when new homes are built, they are often sheltered from job-rich areas. 

This is why Accessory dwelling units (ADU) came into the picture to confront California’s housing shortage. ADUs are innovative, affordable, and considered a practical option for housing needs. Apart from addressing various personal needs and housing shortages, it also offers flexible opportunities to maximize and integrate housing choices within neighborhoods.

Benefits of Owning an ADU

To those who are not familiar with ADU, they are also called backyard cottages, granny flats, or secondary units with complete independent living facilities for one or more people. Here are the benefits of owning an accessory dwelling unit:

  • ADUs are a cost-efficient type of home to build in California, as they do not require paying for land, structured parking, or elevators.
  • ADUs are a modern and effective source of income for homeowners.
  • ADUs allow proximity with extended families while maintaining privacy. 
  • ADUs can provide additional office space for work-from-home options.
  • ADUs are tailored fitting for small families, partners, friends, young people, and seniors. 

ADUs are an integral solution to filling the gap between high opportunity areas and neighborhoods. Homeowners who want to build an ADU, however, are often faced with numerous roadblocks, including outdated zoning and costly permitting fees. Since this is a long-standing issue in the state, legislators confront the obstacles and seek to smooth the permitting process for prospective homeowners.

The New California Law Loosens the ADU Restrictions!

Great news! It is now easier to add an ADU on your property with the recent changes to the ADU laws.

According to Government Code Section 65852.159, the California Legislature permits accessory dwelling units (ADU) in areas that allow single-family and multifamily uses to provide additional rental housing — thus, a vital component in addressing California’s housing needs. In an effort to build more housing units, the California ADU law has been revised and improved over the years. Changes to ADU laws that were effectuated last January 1, 2021, further diminish barriers, better facilitate approval processes, and expand capacity to accommodate the development of accessory dwelling units (ADU).

Assembly Bill (AB) 1584, the recent legislation that amended the ADU law, loosens the zoning laws allowing construction to meet demand in areas where it’s most needed. In order to increase inventory in suburban neighborhoods, ADUs are leveraged as a solution. This law change is another stepping stone on the long path toward rectifying California’s housing shortage.

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