ADUs are accessory dwelling units that provide separate housing attached or detached from a homeowner’s house. Due to the critical shortage of housing and very high home ownership costs in California, new laws were enacted in 2021 and 2022. These laws removed many restrictions around building ADUs in California and contained measures designed to actively promote construction.
You no longer need to live in either the primary home or the unit itself to build an ADU. This is a key change benefiting homeowners who may have multiple properties. Any ADU approved before January 1, 2025 (when the legislation expires) will be exempt from any potential future owner-occupancy restrictions.
If your lot is zoned for single-family residential use, you can now build and rent out an ADU on your property even if your homeowners association restricts or prohibits it. You also can build an ADU in a historic district.
State law now prohibits any requirements by municipalities regarding lot coverage and minimum lot size for building ADUs. You can now build an ADU that’s at least 800 square feet and one JADU (junior accessory dwelling unit) that is attached to the main home.
You also can turn parts of multifamily structures not used as living space like for a garage, into an ADU. In addition, side and rear setbacks are limited to 4 feet.
An increased range of financial tools, lower permit costs and a streamlined process make it an ideal time to have an ADU on your property.