In most cases, having an ADU on your property is possible if the land is zoned for residential use, with some exceptions. Additionally, there must be an existing or planned single-family home on the property, or an already established multi-family building (such as a duplex, triplex, or apartment/condominium complex).
Fortunately, there are no minimum lot size restrictions for building an ADU, meaning that properties of any size can be eligible. If you own a single-family home, you can typically build up to one or two ADUs on your property. The number of ADUs permitted on multi-family properties varies depending on the type of ADU built and the number of existing dwelling units on the property.
The maximum size of your ADU is determined by the type of unit you intend to build. For instance, the maximum size of a detached ADU on your property may differ from that of an attached ADU.
It is typically possible to build an ADU that is at least one-story and 16 feet tall.
In general, conversion ADUs and junior ADUs do not necessitate any parking. Attached and detached ADUs, however, usually require at least one parking space, unless your project qualifies for an exemption from parking requirements.
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The timeline for getting an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) in California can vary depending on a number of factors, including local zoning regulations, permitting requirements, and the complexity of the construction process. However, here are some general estimates for each step of the process:
Overall, the timeline for getting an ADU in California can range from several months to over a year, depending on the specific circumstances of your project.
Yes, there are some design restrictions on ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) in California. The state has established some general guidelines for ADU design, and local jurisdictions may also have their own specific requirements and regulations. The 2 we find to be the most important to consider when submitting application to build:
To help mitigate the latter, many municipalities have adopted “Pre-approved Design” programs, that allow companies like Steelblox that sell ADUs to submit designs that are reviewed and approved in advance and made available to owners wishing to add ADUs to their properties. This program saves a significant amount of time and money for the applicants.
Modular homes are classified as “Factory-Built Housing” in CA. Factory-built housing (FBH) is a residential building or dwelling unit that is manufactured off-site and regulated by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). These housing units are approved and inspected on behalf of HCD by HCD-approved agencies and will bear an HCD “insignia of approval” upon completion. FBH typically refers to modular housing built and transported as one or more modular units and set on a permanent foundation.
Factory-built housing offers many advantages when compared to traditional site-built construction including: beautiful and thoughtful designs, a streamlined permitting process, accelerated project timelines, lower raw material waste, and a higher quality finished product. The manufacturing process allows for tighter quality standards to be monitored during the construction process as well. This method of construction may alleviate many of the pains felt by homeowners and their neighbors during traditional construction projects.
Manufactured homes are also built off-site and delivered near completion but these are built to the Manufactured Home Construction Safety Standards (MHCSS) established by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. These may be permanently installed on foundations or they may be mounted on frames with wheels for mobility. Mobile Homes and Tiny Homes are typically constructed to the HUD standard, and are not considered the same when it comes to property values and financing options.
Chattel loans are commonly used to finance the purchase of mobile homes, which are considered personal property rather than real property if they are not permanently affixed to a foundation. Mobile homes can be more difficult to finance than traditional homes due to their status as personal property, and chattel loans can be a viable financing option for mobile home buyers.
Because chattel loans are secured only by the personal property being financed, they generally have higher interest rates and shorter repayment terms than traditional mortgage loans. Additionally, because personal property can be more difficult to value and sell than real property, lenders may require a larger down payment or higher credit score to qualify for a chattel loan.
It's worth noting that in some cases, homeowners may also use a chattel loan to finance the purchase of an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) that is designed to be movable or modular. However, the availability and terms of chattel loans for ADUs can vary depending on the lender and the specific circumstances of the ADU project.
Yes, getting a modular ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) is generally faster than traditional site-built construction for several reasons.
First, modular construction takes place off-site in a factory-controlled environment, where the construction process can be streamlined and optimized for efficiency. This means that the building process can occur simultaneously with site preparation, which can shorten the overall timeline for the project.
Second, modular construction relies on prefabricated modules that are transported to the building site for final assembly, which can further reduce construction time. Once the modules are delivered to the site, final assembly and installation can take just a few days.
Third, modular construction is not subject to weather delays or other on-site complications that can arise during traditional site-built construction. Because the modules are constructed in a controlled factory environment, the building process is not as vulnerable to factors such as rain, wind, or labor shortages.
Overall, the faster construction time of modular ADUs makes them an attractive option for homeowners who are looking to add living space to their property quickly and efficiently. However, it's important to note that the timeline for getting a modular ADU can still vary depending on factors such as permitting requirements, design complexity, and the availability of materials and labor.
Typically not. Usually the savings picked up by the efficiencies of repetitive production, are offset by the cost of transportation and setting of the modules. In general, modular builders tend to design their models to be priced at a competitive rate in the markets they service. As with any type of construction, the building materials and finishes play the largest role in setting the price.
The disruptive nature of the modular ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) installation process can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the ADU, the site conditions, and the specific installation process used.
Overall, the installation of a modular ADU can be less disruptive than traditional site-built construction because much of the construction process takes place off-site in a factory-controlled environment. This means that there is typically less on-site construction activity and fewer workers present at the building site during the installation process.
Additionally, the modular ADU installation process is typically faster than traditional construction, which means that any disruption to the site is minimized. Once the pre-fabricated modules are delivered to the site, installation and assembly can typically be completed in a matter of weeks, which can reduce the overall disruption to the homeowner and the surrounding community.
There are several financing options available to pay for an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit), including:
Cash: Paying for an ADU with cash is the simplest option, but it may not be feasible for all homeowners.
Home Equity Loan: A home equity loan allows homeowners to borrow against the equity in their home to fund the construction of an ADU.
Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC): Similar to a home equity loan, a HELOC allows homeowners to borrow against the equity in their home, but with more flexibility to borrow as needed.
Personal Loan: A personal loan can be used to fund the construction of an ADU, but typically has higher interest rates and shorter repayment terms than other financing options.
Construction Loan: A construction loan is a short-term loan that can be used to fund the construction of an ADU, with the loan being paid off once the construction is complete, this option is only available when combined with new construction of the main house..
Refinancing: Homeowners can refinance their existing mortgage to free up cash to pay for an ADU, or to take advantage of lower interest rates.
Government Programs: Some local governments offer financing programs or incentives to encourage the construction of ADUs, such as low-interest loans or tax credits.
There are primarily 3 types of Accessory Structures that are added to a primary residence:
The number of ADUs allowed on a property depends on the type of ADU and what's already on the property.
For the most part, a single-family property is allowed 1 ADU. The exception is that a single-family property can have 1 Junior ADU (JADU) and 1 Detached ADU (if the Detached ADU is no more than 800 sq. ft.)
Generally, 2 Detached ADUs are allowed on a property with an apartment or condo building. The number of Conversion ADUs allowed depends on how many apartments or condos are already on the property; the number of allowed Conversion ADUs is 25% of that number (except at least 1 Conversion ADU will be allowed).
The California state law that guarantees the right to add an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) to your home is Senate Bill 1069 (SB 1069), which was signed into law in September 2016. SB 1069, along with Assembly Bill 2299 and Senate Bill 13, collectively make up the California Accessory Dwelling Unit laws.
SB 1069 is designed to promote the development of ADUs by streamlining the permitting and approval process and reducing some of the fees and requirements associated with ADU construction. The law establishes several key provisions, including:
Assembly Bill 2299 (AB 2299) and Senate Bill 13 (SB 13) are two companion bills that were signed into law in September 2016, along with Senate Bill 1069 (SB 1069). Together, these three bills make up the California Accessory Dwelling Unit laws and have significantly modified the regulations for ADUs in California. Here are some of the key changes made by AB 2299 and SB 13:
Overall, AB 2299 and SB 13 were designed to further streamline the ADU permitting and approval process, reduce costs and fees for homeowners, and increase the availability of affordable housing in California.
SB9 can be a bit confusing when applying it to the previous laws created specifically for ADUs. The core of the law is to allow landowners/homeowners to split a parcel into 2 parcels, thus creating 2 separate lots. The law further states the owner may have 2 living structures on each. The review and approval process to do this is now a “ministerial review”...which essentially means building department officials can review the applications in a “checklist” type of review, without applying opinions as to whether the property qualifies or not.
As an example if you own a home a 1 acre lot with a single family residence already built, you can:
Thus increasing the number of dwellings on the 2 lots to a total of 4.
One key restriction of SB9 is the owner must occupy 1 of the 4 dwellings as its primary residence. There are lots of developing local ordinance around this mandate, especially in more established communities where property values could be significantly impacted. STAY TUNED!!!
State law notes that ADU’s are intended to be rented as long-term housing with average rental timelines exceeding 30 days. That said, local jurisdictions may allow you to rent your ADU for shorter time frames (Airbnb’s or VRBO’s as example).
In California, new construction of residential buildings, including ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units), is required to comply with the state's solar mandate, which requires that all new residential buildings be constructed with solar panels or other renewable energy sources.
The solar mandate was established by the California Energy Commission (CEC) in 2018 and applies to all new residential buildings that receive a building permit on or after January 1, 2020. The mandate requires that all new residential buildings, including ADUs, be designed and built to produce enough solar energy to offset the building's annual electricity usage.
However, there are some exceptions to the solar mandate for ADUs. Specifically, ADUs that are less than 800 square feet in size, or that are constructed on a lot that is shaded by trees or adjacent buildings, may be exempt from the solar mandate.
It's worth noting that while the solar mandate applies to new residential construction, it does not require homeowners to install solar panels on existing homes or ADUs. However, homeowners may still choose to install solar panels or other renewable energy sources on their existing homes or ADUs as a way to reduce their energy costs and environmental impact.