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Navigating the New Frontier: California’s ADU Laws in 2024

Welcome to the evolving world of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in California! At ADORE Homes, we’re excited about the 2024 legislative changes that are set to transform how homeowners think about and build ADUs. As specialists in this field, we’re here to guide you through these changes and help you understand how they can benefit you.

Understanding Senate Bill 897 (SB 897)

SB 897, a pivotal piece of legislation passed by the California legislature, came into effect on January 1, 2023. This bill is a game-changer for homeowners, making it significantly easier and more cost-effective to add ADUs to their properties. Let’s delve into the specifics:

Property Requirements: Your property must be zoned for single-family residential use and have a primary dwelling. The ADU, whether attached or detached, must be on the same lot and less than 800 square feet in size, adhering to all building codes and regulations.

Height Requirements: The bill sets minimum height limits – attached Accessory Dwelling Units  can go up to 25 feet or the main house’s height, whichever is lower. Detached ADUs have a limit of 18 feet, especially if they’re near a major transit stop or a multi-story multifamily dwelling.

Setbacks and Lot Size: In a significant shift, SB 897 relaxes setback requirements, especially for smaller ADUs. The bill also removes minimum lot size or lot coverage requirements, making ADU construction feasible on smaller lots.

Replacement Parking and Fire Sprinklers: Replacement parking is no longer mandatory when a garage is converted into an ADU. Additionally, the need for automatic fire sprinklers in ADUs has been removed, further simplifying the process.

Insights into Assembly Bill 2221 (AB 2221)

AB 2221, effective from January 1, 2023, further streamlines the ADU application process:

Application Approval Timeline: Local agencies must respond to ADU applications within 60 days, a measure that expedites the approval process.

Unpermitted Work: Homeowners with unpermitted Accessory Dwelling Units constructed before 2018 now have a pathway to legalization, even if these units don’t meet current codes or regulations.

Impact of Government Code Section 65852.2(f)(3)

This law, effective since January 1, 2020, significantly reduces the financial burden for ADU builders:

Impact Fees: For ADUs under 800 square feet, impact fees are no longer applicable. This exemption lowers the cost barrier significantly, making ADU projects more accessible.

Owner Occupancy: The lifting of owner occupancy requirements offers flexibility to homeowners, allowing them to rent out both their primary and ADU properties.

Civil Code Section 4751 and HOAs

Civil Code Section 4751, in effect since January 1, 2020, restrains Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) from prohibiting ADU constructions, provided they meet all requirements. However, reasonable architectural and location-based restrictions by HOAs are still permissible.

Looking Ahead to 2024 and Beyond

As we look forward to 2024, several proposed bills like SB 1067, AB 1474, and AB 1532 promise to further ease and incentivize ADU development. These bills, still under consideration, reflect California’s commitment to expanding ADU accessibility and benefits.

Practical Implications for Homeowners

With these legislative changes, building an Accessory Dwelling Units is more feasible and attractive than ever. ADUs offer a versatile solution to California’s housing needs, providing space for family, friends, or renters. They can also serve as a source of additional income, an aspect growing increasingly attractive in today’s economy.

Partnering with ADU Specialists

At ADORE Homes, we’re not just observers of this change; we’re active participants. As an Authorized Dealer & Certified Installer of lytemods ADUs, we bring expertise and experience to your ADU project. Our team of specialists is well-versed in navigating these new laws and can help you build an ADU that aligns with your needs and budget.

The landscape of ADU laws in California is continuously evolving, bringing new opportunities and advantages for homeowners. Keeping abreast of these changes is crucial, and we at ADORE Homes are here to provide you with the latest information and guidance.

Whether you’re looking to expand your living space, accommodate loved ones, or generate additional income, now is a perfect time. The new laws have laid down a more accessible and affordable path for ADU construction, and we’re here to help you embark on this journey.

Interested in exploring the potential of an ADU on your property? Reach out to us at ADORE Homes. Our team of experts is ready to assist you every step of the way, from initial consultation to the final touches of your ADU project. Contact us today and let’s make your ADU dream a reality!


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