California Granny Flat Law

California Granny Flat Law | Accessory Dwelling Unit Regulations

In January 2017 California passed a sweeping legislation making it quite easier to build a granny flat in California. The California Granny Flat Law removes the most egregious obstacles to building those units, and there were a lot!

So what did the California Granny Flat Law actually do?

  1. The new bill wiped out all the old local ordinances and replaced them of common sense state standards. Local jurisdictions do have the opportunity to modify the state law and we’ll touch on that below.
  2. Any lot with a single-family house can now build a second rental unit. That’s a game-changer, because you can take a single-family home and turn it into a duplex.
  3. Any existing permanent structure, like a garage, can be converted to an accessory dwelling unit.
  4. Homeowners can build a minimum of 150 square feet and a maximum 1,200 square feet for a detached structure.
  5. No additional parking is required if there is a conversion of an existing permanent space or it would appear within a half mile of public transportation.
  6. And if parking is required, it can now be located anywhere on the lawn including the driveway, which wasn’t the case before in a lot of situations.
  7. There are no setback requirements for existing permanent spaces, like a garage, which means you can be on the property line.
  8. There’s a maximum five foot side and rear setbacks above an existing garage.
  9. Utility, water and sewer cannot be considered a new residential use connection, lessening impact fees and mandating that fees should be proportional to what’s being built. This one is going to save you around $20,000.

Now, here’s where things get a little bit tricky. Every local jurisdiction has the opportunity to either adopt the state law or rewrite their own ordinance that replaces it within reason. This allows every local community to add their own flavor to the new law. For example, they can mandate minimum and maximum build sizes, require owner occupancy or prohibit short-term rentals. We hope this helped give you a better understanding of the California Granny Flat Law. For more info on ADUs and to get a free estimate, contact Noma Design and Build today at (858) 373-9902.