California cities are looking for ways to bring new housing units online quickly and affordably. Compared with new single-family homes and large multi-family housing projects, ADUs are affordable to build because their construction does not require paying for land or building structured parking or elevators. In addition, ADUs are typically built as one- or two-story wood frame dwellings that do not require major new infrastructure upgrades, thus reducing overall construction costs. ADUs also offer benefits to residents, such as supplemental income from unit rent and the ability to house members of the extended family.
State and local regulations are making it even easier for homeowners to build ADUs now. The two most recent legislative bills include provisions for:
- Allowing ADUs to be built concurrently with a single-family home
- Expanding areas where ADUs can be built to include all zoning districts that allow single-family and multi-family uses;
- Modifying fees from utilities, such as special districts and water corporations; and
- Reducing parking requirements.
Many local cities in Southern California are also making the process more streamlined by offering quicker permitting, no parking requirements, and reduced fees. Under state law, the size of an ADU attached to the main house is limited to a maximum of 1,200 square feet or half the size of the existing residence, whichever is smaller. Detached units can’t be larger than 1,200 square feet.