2021 GUIDE TO THE NEW ADU LAWS IN CALIFORNIA

Posted On February 7, 2021

It is now easier and more affordable to get ADU plans approved.

inside a house

As of January 1, 2021 changes to ADU laws continue to lift restrictions, and make it easier and more affordable to build Accessory Dwelling Units – aka. Granny Flats, and Guest Houses – in California.

ADUs have become very popular as a means of increasing property values, generating rental income, and providing affordable housing for extended family and friends.

California ADU construction has surged with the passage of new legislation. Building Departments across California went from issuing around 6,000 ADU permits in 2018, to almost 16,000 permits in 2019.

Summary of New ADU Rules in California:

view of a house in California

interior perspective of a living room

The big news – landlords and homeowners can now add 2 more units – an ADU and a Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit (JADU) – on any residential lot. This means you can now legally create a triplex on every single lot in the state according to the new ADU laws in California. What’s more, AB 68 allows you to do so without requiring additional parking if your property is less than 1/2 mile from public transportation.

“Public Transit” now includes various means of transportation that charge set fees, run on fixed routes and are available to the public.

Additional units can now be added to existing multi-family buildings like apartment complexes. Building owners can convert any non-habitable rooms, like attics, basements, garages, etc. into legal additional units.

Under AB 68, municipalities will be required to approve the following:

Single Family Homes:

Multifamily Dwellings

backyard of a residence in California

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Other Restrictions that are Prohibited on Local ADU Laws

To further remove barriers to the approval of ADU plans, various state laws now prohibit local governments from imposing the following:

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Interpreting the Law

Please note that this summary is based solely on the State Ordinance. Therefore, is important to note that each City and County will release their own ADU rules and regulations in response to the new state laws. Some Cities and Counties may defer the effective date or challenge the state through legal channels in order to meet their own codes. Variations of these State rules will differ at each city and county.

Next Steps

Given the complexity of the new laws and the resulting city/county interpretations, it is even more critical that you consult a licensed architect who knows the ins and outs of the new ADU laws in California – and EZ Plans is here for you!

We are a full-service residential architecture service with experienced, licensed architects who are experts on the new rules and are capable of designing your dream home and ADUs. View the cost of ADU plans and contact us today to start designing a floor plan and permit your ADU additions.

Additionally, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin to see what we’ve been up to, and to be inspired for your next home remodel or addition!


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