ADU Laws and Regulations

Since 2017, California State lawmakers have passed multiple bills to make it easier for homeowners to build ADUs. Five bills made effective on January 1, 2020 have significantly streamlined the ADU construction and approval process. These bills and their key provisions include: 

AB 68 and AB 881: 

  • Require permits for ADUs and Junior ADUs (JADU) to be approved or denied within 60 days, rather than the 120 days allotted by previous law

    • A Junior ADU (JADU) is an ADU of no more than 500 square feet. A JADU must be within a proposed or existing single-family home or accessory structure, such as a garage. Unlike ADUs, JADUs may share a bathroom with the single-family home and must only meet “efficiency kitchen” requirements.

  • Prohibit application of development standards that limit size (including floor area ratio, open space, and minimum lot size) if it prohibits the construction of at least an 800 square foot ADU that meets other criteria

  • Limit local discretion in establishing minimum and maximum unit size requirements

  • Allow for up to one ADU and one JADU on any residential property

  • Allow for multiple ADUs within an existing multi-family dwelling or up to two detached ADUs on a multi-family property

  • Remove parking replacement requirements when an ADU results in the demolition or conversion of existing parking 

SB 13: 

  • Allows an ADU to be built in the same location and physical dimensions as an existing accessory building that is demolished to provide an ADU, along with an 150 square feet addition, if provided for ingress/egress  

  • Prohibits owner-occupancy requirements until 2025

  • Eliminates impact fees for ADUs under 750 square feet and requires fees to be proportional to the square footage of the primary residence

AB 670 and AB 671:

  • Prevent homeowners’ associations from barring ADU construction on single-family properties or imposing reasonable restrictions

  • Require local housing agencies to incentivize and promote the construction of ADUs that can be offered at affordable rental rates to very low, low-, or moderate-income households

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