Can You Build an ADU on Your Property?

Can You Build an ADU on Your Property?

Building an ADU in California- the first question...

Are you considering building an ADU on your San Diego property? Maybe you have identified a need to house aging parents, adult children or want to generate rental income. You likely have a long list of questions regarding size options, costs, design, permitting process and more.
With the introduction of less strict California laws, your backyard dream home can become a reality!

The most important question is, drum roll please…

Are you legally allowed to build a backyard home on your property?

The State used to make this very difficult for homeowners and if eligible, the permitting process was lengthy and costly. Largely driven by our housing crisis, in 2020, new California ADU laws were introduced – SB13, AB68, AB881 and AB670. These regulations opened the door to just about any homeowner to build a secondary dwelling on their single-family residential property.

Let’s cover these individually.

AB881- Assembly Bill 881 prohibits an ordinance from imposing requirements for minimum lot size. This bill also clarified than an ADU may be attached to or located within an attached garage, storage area or accessory structure. Additionally, setback requirements were modified to 4’ side and rear yard setbacks and 16’ height limit for an ADU that is not converted from an existing structure. It also requires local agencies to allow a companion unit of less than 850 sq. ft or a maximum of 1,000 sq. ft for 1+ bedrooms.

SB13- Senate Bill 13 limits impact fees that cities can charge homeowners and authorizes creation of ADUs in areas zoned for single and multifamily use. This bill also prohibits imposed replacement for parking spaces is a garage, carport or covered parking area is demolished to build a granny flat. In addition, imposed parking requirements are no longer allowed for dwellings in the “transit priority zone” (1/2 mile from public transit). This bill was also a huge win for investors in that it removed the owner occupancy requirement of the primary dwelling to be permitted to build a backyard home. In addition, SB13 reduced time for initial discretionary review of the application from up to 120 days to within 60 days. No more dragging their feet! There is further relaxation of regulations created by this bill making it a huge win for homeowners interested in take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity.

AB68- Assembly Bill 68 builds upon other state laws and provides more flexibility as to where and how and ADU can be built and prevents local governments from imposing restrictive ordinances.

AB670-"[i]t is the intent of the Legislature ... to encourage the construction of affordable accessory dwelling units and junior accessory dwelling units that are owner-occupied and that are used for rentals of terms longer than 30 days.” HOAs (Homeowners Associations) and CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions) cannot prohibit development of backyard homes.

We know it can get confusing. If you want to ensure that your property is eligible, contact OneStop ADU for a free in-person consult. We are your Backyard Home Experts and serve owners and investors in the entire county including San Diego, Chula Vista, Oceanside, Carlsbad, and the surrounding areas.

Building an ADU in San Diego
Scroll to Top