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March 14, 2022
How California’s New ADU Laws Affect Homeowners
Abodu
Abodu Team
California is working hard to make ADUs more accessible for all of its residents. Learn more about California’s new accessory dwelling unit laws that go into effect in 2022 and how they affect California homeowners.

ADU Laws Effective in 2022

There are two new California ADU laws. The new ADU laws (Senate Bill 9 & 10) are designed to develop new housing while saving existing low-income housing. Supporters of these two new laws feel they will help fight California’s housing crisis and correct city zoning laws that contribute to racial segregation. These new laws will help to create more affordable housing for California residents and aid in the state’s long-term growth and prosperity.
Senate Bill 9
The most controversial of the two new laws, Senate Bill 9 will allow California property owners to split a single-family lot into two separate lots. They can choose to add a second home to their lot or split their lot into two separate spaces and construct duplexes on each. With this change, property owners can have a total of four housing units on their property. This marks a shift from past ADU laws in California that allowed a stand-alone house and an ADU on a single-family lot and an attached smaller unit that could be no bigger than 500 square feet. Lawmakers hope this new law will facilitate the construction of additional housing while still preserving low-income, affordable units. This will give California residents more affordable housing options and help to combat homelessness throughout the state.
Senate Bill 10
Less controversial than its predecessor, Senate Bill 10 will make it easier for the local government to rezone neighborhoods next to mass transit and urban areas. This new legislation will also allow cities to bypass the California Environmental Quality Act requirements. Supporters of this new law hope that it will help to reduce costs and the time it takes for California ADU ordinances to get approved. Sen. Scott Weiner, D-San Francisco, believes this bill will make it much easier and quicker for California cities to zone for more housing, thus cutting some of the red tape that stands between California residents and affordable housing.

Divided Lots Must Be at Least 1,200 Square Feet

Under Senate Bill 9, property owners can choose to split their property into two separate lots, each lot having to measure at least 1,200 square feet. Under the new law, these newly divided single-family lots cannot be used to construct short-term rentals and must be rented for a term longer than 30 days. This part of Senate Bill 9 will help to guarantee that ADUs homeowners construct on their property are a livable size for renters.

Cities/Counties Are Required to Approve New Build Proposals

New California ADU requirements under Senate Bill 9 require cities and counties in the Golden State to approve all development proposals that meet the laws specified design and size standards. With this requirement in place, Senate Bill 9 helps to construct more affordable housing without destroying the character of residential neighborhoods, allowing for the needs of both homeowners and renters to be met.

New Builds Must Not Destroy or Change Recently Occupied Rent-Controlled Housing

Under Senate Bill 9, a newly constructed California ADU cannot result in the alteration or destruction of rent-controlled or affordable housing that has been occupied within the last three years. Additionally, all properties located within historic districts or property listed as historic landmarks cannot be used for new developments. Other properties that are exempt from new ADU construction under Senate Bill 9 are:
  • Wetlands
  • Farmlands
  • Properties at risk of fire
  • Properties at high risk of flooding
Exempting some properties from new ADU construction will help to preserve already constructed rent-controlled affordable housing and ensure that historical property that makes California so attractive to homeowners isn’t destroyed.

New Builds Must Be Used As Residences

Unlike California ADUs of the past, these new units are not for short-term rentals. Senate Bill 9 requires property owners to sign an affidavit that states they will occupy one of the housing units they construct as their primary residence for at least three years from the date they split their single-family property. With this part of Senate Bill 9, lawmakers are trying to ensure homeowners are constructing ADUs meant for long-term residents. Senate Bills 9 and 10 are trying to ensure ADUs go to California residents in need of affordable housing.

Contact Abodu to Help You Build Your ADU in California

When you partner with Abodu to build your ADU housing in California, you don’t have to worry about going through pages of ADU construction laws. Our team takes care of all of that for you. From service to installation, our team handles it all. Abodu’s mission is to inspire homeowners to rethink their yard’s potential. These new laws give property owners more options for ADU construction. Get a free backyard assessment from Abodu here.

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