Homeowners Guide To California’s ADU Laws

Homeowners Guide To California's ADU Laws

In 2020 and 2021, California removed some of the restrictions regarding the construction of accessory dwelling units (ADUs), and these laws also included measures intended to promote construction. In this article, your local San Diego ADU specialist will help you learn more about the new California ADU laws, including Assembly Bills 68 and 881.

Occupancy Requirement To Build A San Diego ADU

The requirement for owner occupancy in the primary home to build an ADU has been removed, opening up housing possibilities. This change greatly benefits investors and landlords by allowing them to apply for ADUs for investment and rental properties. ADUs approved before January 1, 2025, the date when the legislation comes up for review, are exempt from possible future owner-occupancy restrictions.

Restrictions for HOAs Overruled

You will now be able to build an ADU on your property and rent it out if your lot is zoned appropriately, even if your homeowner’s association prohibits it. You can also build an ADU in historic districts or if the primary home is under historic preservation.

Other Requirements Eased

State laws prohibit municipalities’ requirements regarding minimum lot size, lot coverage, and more when building ADUs. Now you will be able to build an 800 or more square foot ADU and a junior accessory dwelling unit (JADU) under 500 square feet attached to your primary home no matter the size of your lot.

Parts of multifamily structures that are not used as living spaces, like garages and storage rooms, can now be converted to ADUs. In some cases, setbacks are not required anymore or are limited to four feet, increasing buildable space. Fire code setbacks remain in place.

Financial Aid

Local housing agencies now require plans and incentives to promote more ADUs to increase low- and moderate-income housing availability, giving you more reasons to build an ADU. The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) also created a document listing state grants and other monetary incentives that may apply to the planning, building, and operation of cost-effective ADUs.

Fee Changes

ADUs under 750 square feet will now be exempt from impact fees from local agencies, water companies, and special districts. These are one-time fees that are usually charged to property developers that offset the impact on public infrastructure. (A single-family home in California may be subject to an impact fee of $23,000 or more.) Units larger than 750 square feet will be charged based on the proportion of the square footage of the ADU to the square footage of the primary home.
ADUs and JADUs converted from existing spaces that are not used as living spaces are no longer considered new residential spaces unless they are built alongside a new single-family home, impacting utility connection fees.

Permits Made Easier

The previous deadline of 120 days for permits for single- and multifamily unit approval or denial has been shortened to 60 days. Less work overall due to easier state guidelines will create a more straightforward process for permits.

Updated Parking requirements

You will no longer need to add a new parking space if you convert an existing garage or carport into an ADU. ADU parking standards will not be applicable if the ADU is within half a mile’s walking distance of a public transportation option if it is part of a single-family primary residence or located in a historic district.

Receive an easy and quick assessment from your local San Diego ADU specialists at Organic ADU if building an accessory dwelling unit is an option for you.

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