New California Real Estate Law Ease Restrictions for Accessory Dwelling Units

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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.

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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.

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