Upcoming ADU Laws You Need To Know


ADU laws are constantly being updated to make it easier for everyone to build more units. Many local jurisdictions have tried to block ADU development by finding loopholes in the laws. The upcoming ADU laws that will take effect in 2023 attempt to clarify the regulations to stop local jurisdictions from halting ADU development. Here are a few you should know about.

New Demolition Laws

Oftentimes when undergoing a garage conversion, you need to obtain a demolition permit to tear down the existing garage structure. Some local jurisdictions will grant you the ADU permit but then not allow you to have the necessary demolition permit. As a result, you can not build an ADU.

To prevent this from occurring, the new SB-897 laws make it so that local jurisdictions have to grant you the demolition permit if you have the ADU permit. The new law also makes it so that you don’t have to post a public notice about the demolition. As a result, ADU development is made much easier.

Redefining Front Setback Regulations

Front setback regulations used to be able to prevent you from building an ADU. However, in the changing 2023 laws, if your ADU is under 800 square feet, front setback regulations cannot prevent it from being built. Right now, floor ratio and open space ratio regulations cannot prevent an 800-square-foot unit from being built. Front setback regulations will be added to this list.

Easier To Build Multi-Family Housing

Right now you can add an ADU to a pre-existing multi-family building. However, you can not add it to the proposed plans to build one. You must complete your multi-family housing project and then apply for an ADU permit. This is extremely time-consuming and costs developers money.

Changes in the ADU laws are making it so that you can add an ADU to a proposed multi-family housing project so that everything can be approved at the same time.

JADUs Better Defined

Many homeowners actually found a loophole in JADU regulations and were not providing access to bathrooms to their tenants. Clarified JADU laws now state that a bathroom needs to be accessible within the primary unit if the JADU does not contain one.