Accessory Dwellings and HOAs

Accessory Dwellings and HOAs
In January 2020, Assembly Bills #68 and #880 took effect to address the housing shortage in California. This new law has eased zoning restrictions to allow homeowners to add an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to a single-family residence. It eliminated old zoning restrictions and actively encouraged the construction of ADUs in California.
 
Any Homeowner’s Association (HOA) that had previously restricted the development of ADUs is now required by law, to allow for their construction. Additionally, the initial requirement of owner occupancy has been removed.
 

Adu Explained

The California Department of Housing offers this guide to help answer questions property owners may have when building an ADU. The following briefly explains ADUs, based on current information from CDH. It is important to check with CDH for any changes that may apply in the future.
 
An accessory dwelling unit can be an attached or detached structure, built on the top of an attached garage or to the side or rear of the property. The ADU law also allows for the conversion of an existing interior space, such as an attic, garage, or basement into a separate living space, called a junior ADU (JADU).
 
Initially, homeowners were required to occupy the main residence, but this is no longer a requirement. This was a key change that benefits landlords and investors who have rental and investment properties. Any ADU approved before January 1, 2025, when the legislation comes up for review, will be exempt from any potential future owner-occupancy requirements.
 
There should only be one ADU per lot. This ADU should not exceed 50% of the size of the primary residence. It should be at least 800 square feet and no larger than 1,200 square feet. It is still important to follow all local building codes and obtain permits when constructing an ADU.
 
Junior ADUs are limited in size to 500 square feet and should be built within the walls of an existing property. Only one junior ADU is allowed per lot.
 
An HOA may have a requirement that the junior ADU has a separate entrance. To be a junior ADU, the unit should include a kitchen counter with a cooking area, appliances, and storage cabinets. The junior ADU can share a bathroom with the main residence or include its own. A separate parking spot is not required.
 

ADUs and HOAs

If your lot is zoned for single-family residential (SFR), you can build and rent out an ADU, even if your homeowners association had previously prohibited it. You also can build an ADU in a historic district or if the primary home is subject to historic preservation. You'll need to obtain permits and follow local ordinances. However, the ADU law will override any local restrictions.
 
For example, Tahoe Donner released their rules for the construction of ADUs. They will allow for the construction of ADUs while requiring Architectural Standards and permitting. This will enable them to control the nuisance and noise that accompanies an increase in density.
 
You will need to check with your HOA and confirm the status of your residence. Any restrictions should not unreasonably increase the cost of constructing or using an ADU, nor limit the homeowner’s right to build one.
 
Any restrictions must be ‘reasonable’ and Architectural Standards preserve the home values of the community.
 
An HOA is required to approve or deny any applications within 60 days. If the ADU complies with the Accessory Dwelling Unit Law and local ordinances, the HOA should approve the request for an ADU.
 
HOAs often impose regulations for their community, but they are required to follow federal, state, and local laws. Non-compliance to California’s Accessory Dwelling Unit Law is not an option for HOAs. Most HOAs have changed their governing documents to address these new changes.
 
Click here for more information about California's ADU.
 
Contact me today for a list of available homes or more information on Lake Tahoe and Truckee's local ordinances.

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