Governor Expected to Sign ADU Reform Bills

Updated: Sep 22, 2019

California's rapidly evolving rules around Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are set to change again.

Just under the wire prior to the end of the current legislative session, both houses of the California State Legislature passed a pair of bills – AB-68 in the House and SB-13 in the Senate – to help to facilitate the development of ADUs on single-family lots by removing many local restrictions from the permitting and construction process, and easing the way for un-permitted ADUs to become compliant.

The bills are now on the Governor Newsom's desk, awaiting his signature (which is expected).

Highlights of SB-13 include:

  • Shortening permitting time from 120 days to 60 days:

  • Abolishing owner-occupancy requirements but allowing 30-day minimum rental restrictions.

  • Eliminating restrictive lot size and/or unit size requirements

  • Limiting the impact fees local jurisdictions can charge

All told, SB-13 is longer than 45 pages. But the bottom line is that it makes Accessory Dwelling Units easier to develop on all single family lots and houses throughout the state, and limits the ability of local municipalities to add more restrictive regulations.

AB-68 includes many similar provisions to SB-13, PLUS perhaps the biggest change to impact California zoning in recent years.

AB-68 allows both Accessory Dwelling Units and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units on one lot with a Single Family House. Housing advocates have hailed the bill as achieving "de facto triplex zoning across the state,” essentially allowing home owners to build three units on their property.”

A related bill, AB-670, which limits the ability of Homeowners Associations to restrict the building of ADU, was passed earlier this year, and has already been signed by the governor.