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New Law in California - Duplex and Lot -Splits

There was a lot of real estate legislation that passed in California last year. An interesting one that could change housing locally is SB 9 (California Housing Opportunity and More Efficiency (“HOME”) Act ). The bill would set forth what a local agency can and cannot require in approving the construction of 2 residential units, including, but not limited to, authorizing a local agency to impose objective zoning standards, objective subdivision standards, and objective design standards, as defined, unless those standards would have the effect of physically precluding the construction of up to 2 units or physically precluding either of the 2 units from being at least 800 square feet in floor area, prohibiting the imposition of setback requirements under certain circumstances, and setting maximum setback requirements under all other circumstances.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • Existing homes occupied by a homeowner can be converted into a duplex if certain eligibility restrictions are satisfied.

  • Single-family home lot can be split into two lots, and a duplex to be built on each lot, essentially creating a four plex. A requirement....the owner must attest that they intend to continue to live in a unit on the property as their primary residence for at least three years.

Some exceptions to duplex and lot split:

  • Property could not have been used as a rental for the past three years

  • Property cannot already have an accessory dwelling unit or junior ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit)

  • The new lot may not be less than 40 percent of the property and must be at least 1,200 square feet

  • Modifications to the existing home may not require the demolition of more than 25 percent of an exterior wall

  • Neither the new duplex nor the lot split with up to four new units (a duplex on each) may not result in a significant adverse impact to the physical environment

  • The development is not located within a historic district, is not included on the State Historic Resources Inventory, or is not within a site that is legally designated or listed as a city or county landmark or historic property or district.

It will be interesting to see how many home owners take advantage of this new law. ADU's are already on the rise throughout the Monterey Peninsula and a recent article in the Monterey County Weekly indicated that 100+ ADU permits have been pulled in the last 2 years in Pacific Grove alone. It's definitely trending@

Note: This is just a quick overview of the law and does not include all restrictions and requirements. Click this link for more information

Source: California Legislative Information site


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