California’s new ADU laws offer much-needed solution for the Bay Area’s housing shortage

F8-2410MontereyRd-3The recent showdown in Oakland between homeless full-time working mothers and a Redondo Beach real estate investment company highlights how serious the lack of affordable housing has become for low and middle income families.  The housing shortage in the Bay Area is a topic every local government grapples with.

California’s new ADU (accessory dwelling units) law now in effect will make bringing the units onto properties easier, faster and with fewer building code requirements.

Here are the key changes of the 4 new laws for ADUs:

  • AB 881
    • Allows fewer restrictions on parking requirements and setbacks. Local governments cannot require setbacks larger than 4 feet.
    • Previously local governments restricted the square footage of an ADU based on the size of the primary residence. Now there are no size restrictions.
    • Local agencies must address a permit request in 60 days before it was 120 days.
    • Property owners no longer have to live on the premises.
  • AB670
    • HOAs, CC&Rs or other organizations cannot prevent homeowners from adding ADUs to their property.
  • AB68
    • Up to 3 units can be placed on a single property if accessibility, setbacks and other requirements are met.
  • SB 13
    • Local agencies cannot issue impact fees on ADUs under 750 square feet.

For property owners who don’t have the time or interest in designing and building their own ADUs, there are many options.  Prefab and manufactured homes can be installed on a property within weeks once all the permits are in place.

Manufactured ADUs are also cost-effective because they are built in other parts of the state where labor and construction fees are not as expensive as they are in the Bay Area. There is also less material waste because they are built in factories where resources are shared across multiple homes.

Many manufactured ADUs come with smart thermostats, energy efficient appliances, LEDs and are made of sustainable materials.  Two stories, floor plans, kitchen, bathrooms and add on features can all be customized.

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