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New California Real Estate Law Ease Restrictions for Accessory Dwelling Units


Thanks to a new 2020 change in state law, California homeowners will have less restrictions when it comes to building or developing their accessory dwelling units, or ADUs.

The regulation changes come six ADU-relayed bills that Governor Gavin Newsom signed back in August in an effort by the California Legislature to combat the high rent prices many residents are facing due to a lack of housing units. Four of the bills became law on January 1.

Also known as “granny flats,” ADUs are extra spaces like garages or backyard structures that homeowners convert into rental units for extra rental income. Until now, there has been a lot of red tape surrounding ADUs that have made it difficult for homeowners to build, including permits and various fees that local governments require to slow construction.

Under the new law, the following will allow more Californians to develop ADUs quicker and successfully:

  • No minimum lot size
  • Owners are not required to live on the site
  • Buildings can reach 16 feet in height
  • Owners can build an ADU within the primary residence measuring up to 500 square feet
  • Garages may be converted into ADUs
  • Local government must now review applications within 60 days of submission, as opposed to 120 days

In addition, junior ADUs will be allowed to be built within the primary residence, even if there’s already an ADU on the property.

“The construction of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) can help cities meet their housing goals and increase the state’s affordable housing supply,” Governor Newsom’s office stated in a press release.

What is a “David & Goliath” Situation?

When applied to real estate law, “David & Goliath” situations occur when an individual without any discernable power is pitted against a larger entity, such as a housing corporation or landlord. Our real estate attorneys are client-focused and are interested in representing residents who need a safe place to live, or renters stuck in disputes with unfair landlords. It may be daunting to take legal action against a landlord or housing company, which is why our team wants to stand by your side and supply your case with the resources you need.

Tens of Millions Recovered for Residents & Homeowners

When you’re facing an issue regarding your home, the stakes are high. Whether you’ve purchased a home and discovered construction issues too late, or you’re dealing with a difficult landlord, Allen, Semelsburger & Kaelin LLP has the experience needed to resolve the conflict efficiently.

Our real estate attorneys have successfully settled countless cases for our clients and have recovered millions, including damages as high as $95 million. We seek effective solutions for even the most complex of real estate legal issues, and can be trusted to put your best interests first. We’re an AV® rated firm with accomplished lawyers who have been included on the list of Super Lawyers®, making us recognized among our peers for the work we’ve done for clients.

Call Allen, Semelsberger & Kaelin LLP at (888) 998-2031, or contact us onlinefor legal counsel in all real estate matters. For more than 35 years, our attorneys have helped clients including residents, homeowners, and municipalities and is well-versed and the nuances of state real estate laws.