ADU Laws California 2024: Understanding Changes & Compliance Requirements

Last updated on April 15, 2024

Discover the current regulations and requirements for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in California, ensuring you’re updated and compliant with the state’s housing laws for 2024.

Key takeaways:

  • AB 1033 impacts local jurisdictions’ compliance with state ADU regulations
  • AB 976 removes owner occupancy requirements for ADUs permitted before January 1, 2025
  • Property owners can now rent out both their primary residence and the ADU
  • AB 434 reduces the time for local agencies to act on ADU applications to 60 days
  • AB 434 simplifies the process for converting existing structures into ADUs
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New Law – AB 1033

new law ab 1033

Assembly Bill 1033, signed into California law, refines existing Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) statutes, enhancing clarity and enforceability. This bill impacts local jurisdictions and their compliance with state ADU regulations.

A key provision of AB 1033 involves how local governments handle ADU applications. Cities and counties must now align their ordinances with state law or face consequences. If a local ordinance doesn’t comply, the state law prevails, providing a consistent baseline for ADU development across California.

AB 1033 addresses correction notices for ADU applications. When local agencies issue these notices, they must pinpoint exactly where the proposed ADU plan fails to comply with the ordinance. This specificity streamlines the process for property owners to make necessary adjustments.

Moreover, the bill expands the Department of Housing and Community Development’s (HCD) oversight. The HCD now has the authority to review, comment on, and offer suggested amendments to local ADU ordinances, ensuring they align with state goals to increase housing stock.

Importantly, AB 1033 bolsters the utility connection fee structure. Fees must be reasonable, proportionate to the impact of the ADU, and cannot exceed the cost of providing the service. This change aims to reduce financial barriers for ADU construction, fostering more affordable housing options.

The bill also grants HCD the power to determine whether an ADU ordinance allows for the creation of at least one ADU and one junior ADU per lot, fostering a more expansive view of potential residential spaces.

By refining ADU laws, AB 1033 aids in the facilitation of creating more housing in California’s tight market, offering a more straightforward, transparent process for homeowners and local governments alike.

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New Law – AB 976

With AB 976, California takes significant strides to curtail abuses of owner-occupied covenant requirements. Traditionally, local jurisdictions could mandate owner occupancy for either the primary residence or the ADU. However, this law effectively removes such conditions for ADUs permitted before January 1, 2025, offering greater flexibility for property owners.

  • Ease of Converting to Rentals
  • Property owners can now rent out both their primary residence and the ADU, opening up opportunities for additional income or facilitating rentals when owners themselves are not on-site.
  • Limitation on Local Discretion
  • This law limits the local authority’s power, fostering a state-wide consistent approach to ADU development and reducing bureaucratic hurdles that previously deterred some homeowners from adding an ADU.
  • Impact on Housing Availability
  • By enabling both the primary residence and the ADU to be rented, AB 976 has the potential to significantly increase rental housing stock in a state grappling with a severe housing shortage.
  • Encouragement of ADU Development
  • The easing of owner-occupancy requirements makes ADUs a more attractive option for homeowners, potentially leading to a rise in ADU developments across California.
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New Law – AB 434

Understanding the significance of AB 434 in shaping the landscape of ADU development in California is crucial for homeowners, builders, and urban planners alike. This legislation builds upon previous efforts to streamline the approval process for ADUs, bringing in notable revisions to boost housing supply. One of the key highlights is the reduction in the time that local agencies have to act on ADU applications, now down to 60 days.

AB 434 also addresses owner-occupancy requirements with a more flexible approach, acknowledging the diverse situations of property owners. This eliminates the need for owner-occupancy in many cases, although some jurisdictions may have specific rules.

Additionally, this law makes strides in standardizing ADU development across different localities by constraining the variances in local ordinances. Municipalities must now align more closely with state law, creating a more predictable and unified regulatory environment.

Importantly, AB 434 simplifies the process for converting existing structures into ADUs. It eases certain building code requirements, which can result in significant cost savings for the homeowner and expedite the conversion process.

For those concerned about neighborhood character and parking, the law ensures that ADUs and Junior ADUs (JADUs) integrate thoughtfully. Parking requirements have been eased, especially for units located close to public transit, and the law reinforces the prohibition on considering ADUs as new residential uses for the purposes of calculating local agency connection fees or capacity charges for utilities.

By focusing on these key points, AB 434 embodies California’s commitment to solving the housing crisis by making ADU construction more accessible and less burdensome, without overwhelming the reader with legal jargon or complex legislative nuances.

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California ADU Regulations in 2024

Navigating the California ADU regulations in 2024, it’s crucial to grasp the essentials behind these provisions. Here are some key points that encapsulate the spirit and practicalities of the updated laws:

– Streamlined Approval Process: ADU applications are now subject to a 60-day approval timeline, ensuring quicker turnaround times for homeowners eager to develop their properties.

– Owner-Occupancy Relaxation: The requirement for owner-occupancy in either the primary dwelling or ADU has been waived for units permitted by 2025, creating flexibility for property investors and homeowners.

– Reduced Fees: The new laws adjust impact fees, making them proportionate to the size of the ADU. This change significantly reduces the cost barrier for constructing smaller ADUs.

– Lot Coverage Rules: Regulations provide clarity on lot coverage, including exceptions for ADUs, thereby maximizing usable space on residential lots.

– Rental Periods: With a minimum rental term of 30 days, the state discourages short-term rentals and promotes long-term residential use of ADUs.

Understanding these points will greatly aid in navigating the ADU development process, providing a clearer blueprint for what’s possible and permissible under current California law.

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