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California new laws enacted in 2020 and 2021 lifted various limits on the development of auxiliary dwelling units (ADUs). Moreover, it included measures to aggressively promote construction. We’ll go over Assembly Bills 68 and 881, which are the new laws for California ADUs.

Permissions are issued faster and more readily

Getting approval for an ADU is one of the hardest parts of the process of constructing an ADU. Permits for single-family and multifamily dwellings must now be provided or refused within 60 days, rather than the previous 120 days. Because of the statewide standards, there is less red tape in general, making the approval process simpler.

The presence of the owner to build an ADU’s no longer required

Now, when building an ADU, you no longer need to live at the property or the unit itself. This is a major advantage for Investors and landlords because now they will be able to apply for ADUs for their rental and investment properties. Any ADU granted before the next time the Act is reviewed on January 1, 2025, will be immune from any subsequent owner-occupancy restrictions.

The restrictions imposed by the homeowners’ association were overruled

you can build and rent out an ADU on your property even if your land is zoned for single-family residential use even if the Homeowners association prohibits it, 

You can also continue building an ADU even in a historic neighborhood or if the primary residence is subject to historic preservation.

The standards for size, lot size, and setbacks have all been relaxed

Regardless of your lot size, you can now build an ADU of at least 800 square feet and one JADU (junior auxiliary dwelling unit: less than 500 square feet and adjacent to the primary residence). storage rooms and garages can also be converted into ADUs. In other circumstances, setbacks other than fire code setbacks are no longer required or are limited to four feet, allowing for more construction space.

More financial assistance

A plan that incentivizes and supports the building of ADUs as low- and moderate-income housing must now be included in local housing agencies’ plans. The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) was also required to compile a list of state grants and other financial incentives for the planning, construction, and operation of affordable ADUs.

There are fewer parking requirements

If you build an ADU in an existing garage, carport, or other parking structure, you won’t have to provide a new parking space. The unit is excluded from ADU parking requirements if it is within a half-mile walking distance of public transit, is part of the planned or existing principal residence, or is located in a historic area, among other conditions.

Fees have been eliminated or reduced

Impact fees levied by local authorities, special districts, and water providers are now waived for ADUs under 750 square feet. (An impact fee is a one-time fee levied on a property developer to counteract the impact on public infrastructure; one research predicts an impact fee of more than $23,000 for a single-family home in California.) Fees for units bigger than 750 square feet must be calculated proportionally depending on the ADU’s square footage and the primary home’s square footage.

ADU conversions from existing space (and JADUs) are no longer considered new residential uses in terms of utility connection costs and capacity charges unless they are erected in conjunction with a new single-family house.

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