January 2020

By Al Ricci

Effective Jan. 1, the state legislature has made it easier to build an additional unit on your property. The intent of the changes to the codes is to provide more affordable housing in California. 

The highlights are:

1. Cities cannot charge impact fees on an ADU (accessory dwelling unit) that is less than 700 sq. ft.

2. The size of the ADU is not based upon a percentage of the primary residence.

3. The minimum set back is four feet. In the past, a typical set back was 10 feet from the rear, and five feet from the side yard. 

4. Cities cannot require that you occupy the primary residence to rent out the ADU.

5. More than one ADU with a Junior ADU (450 sq. ft.) can be built with the primary residence plus the ADU.

6. Any deed covenant or restriction prohibiting an ADU is now void.

7. The permitting agency must process the ADU within 60 days instead of 120 days of submission.

8. Location to public transit (to avoid additional parking requirements) includes bus stops and bus routes.

9. The most surprising change is that if an ADU is created in an existing structure (converting a garage), the city cannot require replacement parking be provided!

Now is the time to visit with your local architect if you want (or need) an additional dwelling for a family member or additional rental income. The cities and local planners do not like the changes that are mandated by the state. You can bet there will be attempts to restrict the relaxed limitations for building an ADU on your property from a local level. As a homeowner, like it or not, the state is passing laws (rent control) changing the density requirements to encourage more affordable housing. As Jim Doti said in his last economic forecast, if things keep going at the pace of our current domestic migration, there will be plenty of housing in California for everyone who can afford to live here.  


Real Estate:

Thinking of building an accessory dwelling unit? New changes in 2020!