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RIP: Single Family Housing

Earlier this year, state legislators proposed new legislation to prohibit single family housing in transit hub areas. The bill, SB 50, received much push back and found itself stuck in legislative limbo. However, three bills seemed to have been quietly signed by lawmakers that effectively do the same thing, but on a much greater scale.

An accessory dwelling unit in the backyard of a home. Courtesy: Google Images

AB 68, AB 881, and SB 13 -- Should they be signed into law by the Governor, would strengthen the state's Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) laws and make it even easier for property owners, investors and developers to add more housing on a wider and faster scale.


Accessory Dwelling Units are independent dwelling units with their own kitchens, baths, bedrooms and entrance separate from the main home. They are beloved by homeowners, developers, potential buyers, and myself, as they can generate income and increase property values.

Historically cities have hated ADUs, and would do anything and everything in their power to discourage and even prohibit their development. That was until the passage of two bills AB 2299 and SB 1069 in 2017, which prohibited many of these regulatory obstacles and set minimum standards every city had to follow in allowing these. The response was huge! Cities like LA experienced doubling even tripling of the number of permits drawn for ADUs, and as housing becomes a heightened political issue, state lawmakers want to push it even further.


Below you will find a link to the legal text of each new law, and the main highlights of each:

Prohibits cities from implementing owner occupancy requirements to apply for an ADU. This is a huge win for rental property owners and developers.

Prohibits impact fees if an ADU is less than 750sf.

Eliminates minimum lot size requirements for ADU'sAllows a garage, storage area, or existing accessory structure to be converted into an ADUAttached ADUs can be as large as 50% of the existing SFR (removes the 1,200sf upper limit)Detached ADUs cannot exceed 1,200sf (this is no change)Allows up to 2 detached ADUs on a lot with an existing multifamily dwelling, subject to a height limit of 16ft and 4ft rear and side yard setbacks.Eliminates requirement for replacement parking when convert Garage/Parking StructureCities must act within 60 days on ADU applications where there is an existing home or multifamily dwelling on lot.Cities must set the maximum size of ADUs to at least 850sf or 1,000sf for a 1-Bed ADU


These regs, if signed, are huge! Game changing big! And could not have come at a better time. I love ADUs and always encourage their development because they could put a huge dent in our affordable housing crisis, and benefit many people as well.

Developers have opportunities to add value to their projects and yield higher returns.

Renters will be able to live on their own and get the taste of living in a mini-house.

Homebuyers have a potential additional source of income to qualify with or help make payments.

Even current rental property owners, can potentially build two ADUs and boost their rental income.

It's definitely an exciting time to be in real estate and development, and I eagerly await to see if Governor Newsom signs these into law come October 13, 2019.




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