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SB9: Why California’s New Accessory Dwelling Unit Bill is a Big Deal

California recently passed new legislation that makes it easier to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs) throughout the state. This new law, called SB9, has huge implications for home buyers, home sellers, and real estate professionals in California, as well as throughout the country. Find out more about this exciting new bill and what it means for you below! SB10: Why California’s New Home Siting Law Will Change Everything.

Residential properties can build ADUs
In response to the current housing crisis, California has passed a bill (SB9) that makes it easier for homeowners to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs) on their property. This is a big deal because it could help increase the supply of housing in the state, provide more affordable options for renters, and create additional income streams for homeowners. ADUs are smaller than a house but larger than an apartment, typically ranging from 100-500 square feet. They’re often cheaper to construct than building new homes and also serve as a way for young families or empty nesters to get onto the real estate ladder by renting out space in their backyard. There are some restrictions, such as having only one ADU per lot. Additionally, no new commercial use can be created within 500 feet of any residential zone where an existing single-family home is allowed.

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Flexible Zoning
A big part of the bill’s success is due to the fact that it gives cities more flexibility when it comes to zoning for accessory dwelling units. This means that more homeowners will be able to build granny flats, in-law units, and other types of secondary dwellings on their property. And that’s good news for everyone involved. The homeowner gets an extra income stream (rental) while also getting help with home maintenance. The renter gets affordable housing close to work or school and often closer to transit lines than they could find elsewhere in the city. For developers, building ADUs can create new opportunities and allow them to avoid some of the bureaucratic hurdles associated with building larger projects. For neighborhoods, ADUs provide more population density without any increase in traffic congestion or environmental damage since these homes are smaller than traditional single-family homes. It also provides more housing options within walking distance from public transportation routes, thereby reducing car ownership and making better use of existing infrastructure.
Both sides of the political spectrum should be pleased with SB9 because it encourages denser development near mass transit hubs as well as near low-income communities.
This type of legislation benefits all stakeholders and has already been successful in states like Oregon.

Multiple ADUs per Property
Before, property owners could only have one ADU per property. This bill changed that, now allowing multiple ADUs per property. This is great news for those who want to build more than one unit on their land, as it opens up more possibilities. Plus, it’ll help with the housing crisis by increasing the number of units available.

ADU Affordability Requirements
In order to help make ADUs more affordable, SB9 requires that they be no more than 650 square feet and that they be priced at or below 120% of the area median income. This bill also allows for accessory dwelling units to be built on properties with existing single-family homes, as well as on vacant lots. It protects homeowners from being sued by their neighbors if an ADU causes any changes in the neighborhood’s character. And it prevents cities from imposing parking requirements on these smaller dwellings, which can add thousands of dollars to their cost. If you’re thinking about converting your garage into an apartment, this could be just what you need!

Financing Options Section
In order to make SB9 work for you, it’s important to understand the financing options available. Traditional bank loans may be more difficult to obtain because accessory-dwelling units can be considered high-risk investments. However, there are a number of other ways to finance your project, including private loans, home equity lines of credit, and even government grants. For example, if you live in a jurisdiction that has passed an ADU ordinance, such as Berkeley or San Francisco, you may qualify for property tax relief from the local municipality in exchange for allowing your property to be used as an ADU. Be sure to shop around before deciding on any one lender!


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