• RTB Staff

Looking to Build an ADU in Cali? These New Laws Might Make It Easier Than Ever

A contractor looking at a Design for an ADU
Contractor looking to build an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit)

The only thing bad about ADU’s? The soaring mountain of rules, regulations, and permitting that come with building them. Navigating all that policy and paperwork would give anyone a headache, which is why we compiled the most vital, up-to-date info on ADU laws in the state of California-- and the ways they are making it easier to build an ADU than ever.

Legalizing Unpermitted ADU’s 

Home DIYer’s rejoice; now your self-constructed, informal garage conversion can be made into an honest-to-god official ADU structure. No, but really-- while the percentage of unpermitted ADU’s is off the charts, this new law allows these spaces to be brought up to code within 5 years.

Halved Approval Periods

The worst part about any construction project is the horrible, drawn-out, oh-when-will-we-be-done waiting of it all. And, for all their compact beauty, ADU’s used to take forever to get approved (120 days of forever, to be exact). But in 2020, the state of California thankfully cut that down to 60 days, effectively slicing that idle period in half. 

You Can Get Two For One

As in, you can now put two ADU’s on one property. Single-family zoned properties can now double up on units as long as at least one of them is junior ADU, which can’t be larger than 500 square feet.

Get the HOA Out of Your Hair

As of the new rule changes, the HOA (along with CC&TRs) will no longer be up in everyone’s ADU business-- as in, they are not allowed to reasonably prohibit the construction of your new unit anymore.

Bigger and Better

Goodbye pesky, seriously inconvenient local ordinances that designated your ADU could only be the approximate size of plywood garden shed. Now, you can build detached ADUs to sizes up to 800 square feet and heights up to 16 feet tall, no approval needed. And you can do whatever you want with a conversion ADU, and disregard sizing regulations. 

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