Changes to the 2020 ADU laws are statewide in California and all local jurisdictions (cities, counties, etc.) must comply with these new laws beginning January 1st, 2020. Cities are allowed to create their own ADU Ordinance, but it must comply with the new Statewide rules. If a City does not create a new Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance, then state law will apply.
For ADUs under 750 sq. ft. cities will no longer be able to charge impact fees. For ADUs larger than 750 sq. ft. impact fees shall be proportional to the size of the ADU in relation to the primary dwelling.
In cases where there is an existing single family dwelling on the lot, Cities must provide ministerial approval (or denial) of ADUs within 60 days of receiving the application. The prior rule was 120 days.
Beginning January 1, 2020, you can build a detached ADU up to 800 sq. ft. that is 16′ tall without any local discretionary approvals. ADUs created by conversions are also granted automatic approval. If a local municipality creates their own ADU ordinance, it must permit an ADU of up to 850 sq. ft .or 1,000 sq. ft. for an ADU that contains more than one bedroom.
You are now permitted two ADUs on a single family zoned property, one full Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) and one Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit (JADU). A JADU is a 500 sq. ft. max ADU created by converting part of an existing residence (such as a spare bedroom or attached garage).
Setbacks for new ADUs have been reduced to 4′ for side and rear yards.
You can now convert portions of existing multi-family structures that are not used as livable space, such as storage rooms, garages, carports, mechanical rooms, attics or basements to Accessory Dwelling Units . At least one ADU can be created though this method and up to 25% of the existing unit count. For example, if you have an 8-unit apartment building you may be able to add up to two new ADUs by converting existing non-livable space.
If you don’t have existing space(s) to convert, but have some leftover land, you can build up to two ground-up, detached ADUs (16’ height limit with 4’ rear and side yard setbacks) on a property with an existing multi-family dwelling.
Parking is no longer required for existing accessory structures such as a garage or carport which are converted into ADUs or for an existing space within your house that is converted into an ADU. Additionally, no replacement parking is required for the main residence when a garage or carport is demolished or converted to create an ADU.
Parking requirements for ADUs are still one parking space per unit or per bedroom (whichever is less) if you are located more than half a mile from public transit.
New state law permits you to remove an existing structure and replace it with a new ADU that matches its footprint, maintaining the existing reduced setbacks. This is significant if you have a garage or carport you want to convert, but determine it is more costly to repair the old structure than it is to replace it.
One of the new ADU bills (SB-13) signed into law puts a five year moratorium on owner-occupancy requirements that often hinder ADU development. Rent out both your home and ADU!
Neither HOAs (Home Owners Associations) nor property CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions) can reasonably prohibit development of an ADU or JADU.
You now have the ability to bring your unpermitted ADU up to code within 5 years.