This is a popular topic of the year. New laws that took effect January 2020 have made it much more simple for homeowners to add on an ADU to assist with the housing crisis we’re facing. Let’s start simple. An Additional Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a secondary structure located on the same lot as a Single Family Home. ADUs have also been referred to as a granny flat or in-law quarters. Detached ADUs can be no larger than 1200 Sq.Ft. and no smaller than 150 Sq.Ft. Regardless of what you call them, they are an innovative and affordable way to create more housing here in California.
What are the benefits?
Because an ADU sits on the same lot as a Single Family Residence or other similar structure, you don’t need to buy new land. The cost of land here in California can be pricey, especially here in SoCal! ADUs also can create another source of income for homeowners. These units provide just as much space as many newer apartments and condos. They’re perfect for couples, friends, small families or seniors! ADUs give homeowners flexibility; they’re able to share the space with extended family or rent it out.
What else can the unit be used as?
There are quite a few uses for ADUs that include but aren’t limited to:
- Income Property
- Office Space
- Guest House
- Workout Studio
- Art Studio
- Entertainment Area
What is a JADU?
A JADU is a Junior Additional Dwelling Unit. JADUs are generally created within the walls of an existing single family home. They cannot be any larger than 500 Sq.Ft. They may share central systems and contain a kitchen with small plug-in appliances. JADUs simply re-purpose existing space, such as a garage.
So, what are the new laws?
Now that you know what ADUs & JADUs are, we can talk about the new laws that took effect in January 2020. California updated ADU & JADU law to clarify and improve various provisions to promote the development of such units. The laws include:
- Allowing ADUs & JADUs to be built simultaneously with a Single Family Home
- Opening areas where ADUs can be created to include all zoning districts that allow single-family and multifamily uses
- Modify fees from utilities
- Limit exemptions or reductions in impact fees
- Reduce parking requirements.
You can find the ADU Technical Assistance Memo here.
In conclusion, the new laws in a way, have made housing more affordable. Once you become a homeowner, the potential to build an additional unit and generate income, just became easier. Before you decide to buy and build, make sure you do ALL your research and are confident this is something you can handle. Make sure you’re getting your information from a trusted website such as the California Department of Housing and Community Development.