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Changing ADU Laws In 2023

By Kravelv @kravelv

The state of California has been promoting the development of ADUs as a way to fight the growing homelessness crisis. It has developed a number of new laws and initiatives like the CalHFA Grant Program to support continued ADU development. Here is what to expect from the changing ADU laws in 2023.

Changes In The 60 Day Rules

Updates to ADU laws in 2020 made it so that your ADU permit had to be approved or denied within 60 days. However, since cities were being slammed with applications, they would just deny applications once the 60 days were up. To attempt to prevent this from happening, cities will be required to write all the reasons an application was rejected, not just a few. That way, they have to actually read every application thoroughly before rejecting it.

Easier To Build Multi-Family Housing

Currently, you can not add an ADU to a proposed multi-family building. You have to complete the multi-family housing project and then apply to add an ADU to it.

This is a big waste of time and money. The new law makes it so that builders can propose and build ADUs while they are constructing multi-family housing.

Redefining Height Restrictions

All cities must now change their ADU height restrictions to at least 16 feet. This is to encourage the development of more two-story ADUs. The more available living space there is within a unit, the more people it can house and keep from becoming homeless.

If the ADU is attached to the primary dwelling, it can be up to 25 feet unless the underlying zoning code of the property is less than 25 feet. Then it will be whatever the zoning code is.

Unpermitted Work On Property

Currently, many cities block ADU development if there is unpermitted work currently on the property. They require you to fix the issues prior to starting ADU development. With the changing laws though, you do not need to fix your unpermitted work unless it is deemed a health or safety concern. This will drastically speed up ADU development.


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