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California moves to increase housing supply

In January 2017, California enacted new regulations designed to incentivize homeowners to increase California’s housing supply by building in their own backyards. Also known as “in-law suites” and “granny flats,” accessory dwelling units (“ADUs”) are independent living units complete with their own kitchen, living area, and separate entrance, but are located on the same lot as an existing one-family dwelling.

There are many community benefits to ADUs: they diversify the cost of living in a community, distribute the increase in housing supply across a geographic area, and have a low visual impact on neighborhood character. Prior to the 2017 regulations, many cities, particularly in the Bay Area, made it difficult for property owners to add ADUs, even going so far as to outright prohibit them. The new regulations reduce the barriers to building ADUs by barring local agencies from banning ADUs in any residential district or having more restrictive rules than allowed by the state Government Code (Section 65852.2). For instance, local agencies may not require public hearings, impose parking requirements in certain circumstances, or impose sewer fees where the ADU is attached or within the one-family dwelling structure.      

To learn more, visit the California Department of Housing and Community Development - Accessory Dwelling Unit

Written by Chelsea Linsley

Photo via Flickr