2023 ADU Bills: What You Need to Know in California

California’s state legislature is taking steps to improve the accessibility of affordable housing in the state, addressing the housing shortage and promoting sustainable development. Four bills have been introduced and signed into law, each aimed at different aspects of California’s housing crisis and promoting the growth of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).

The Legislature of California has been working to address the housing shortage and improve the accessibility of affordable homes in the state for some years.

Fernanda Castillo

Several bills have been introduced and signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom to simplify homeowners’ process to build Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) on their property, promoting sustainable development. This blog will examine closely at four bills: AB 2221, SB 897, AB 916, and AB 157. Each of these bills has special provisions that strive to address different aspects of California’s housing crisis and promote the growth of ADUs in the state. In the following sections, we will provide an overview of each Bill and discuss its fundamental points and how they will likely impact ADUs in California. Before diving into the Bills themselves, we must first understand what they are and why they hold so much importance.


What are Bills?


What are JADUs?


Benefits of an ADU

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What are Bills?

Bills are proposals for new laws or changes to existing regulations that are introduced in the California State Legislature. When a bill is passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor, it becomes a statute and has the power to impact various aspects of life in California.

Easy, right? Bills constantly go through many modifications so they can cater to the needs of the state and homeowners!

Now let’s take a look at the Bills.


– AB 2221

AB 2221 seeks to make the process of building ADUs easier for homeowners. The Bill would allow for the creation of Junior ADUs, smaller units attached to the main dwelling unit. This type of ADU would be subject to fewer requirements and regulations. The Bill would also allow for a streamlined permitting process, making it easier for homeowners to get their projects approved and built.

What are JADUs?

JADUs, or Junior Accessory Dwelling Units, are smaller, secondary housing units located within or adjacent to an existing single-family home. JADUs are similar to traditional Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), but they are typically smaller in size and designed to be more affordable and accessible.

In many cases, the size of a JADU is limited by zoning and building codes that dictate the maximum square footage for these types of housing units. These requirements are established to ensure that JADUs are compatible with the surrounding neighborhood and do not negatively impact the surrounding property values or quality of life.

If you are considering building a JADU, it is recommended that you research the regulations in your jurisdiction to determine the maximum size allowed. It is also important to note that the size limitations for JADUs can vary greatly depending on your location. For example, some jurisdictions may allow JADUs up to 800 square feet, while others may have more restrictive limits.


– SB 897

SB 897 is a bill that would change California’s current restrictions on the size of ADUs. Currently, ADUs are limited to a maximum of 1,200 square feet. SB 897 would increase this limit to 1,500 square feet, providing homeowners more flexibility in designing and building their ADUs. This Bill would also allow for the creation of larger detached ADUs, which could provide additional income or housing options for families.


– AB 916

This Bill would provide financial incentives to homeowners who build ADUs. It would also create a grant program to provide homeowners with funding for the construction of their projects. This funding could be used for various expenses, including building materials, labor costs, and other fees associated with building an ADU. This Bill provides a much-needed financial boost to homeowners looking to build Accessory Dwelling Units.


– AB 157

AB 157 changes the current rules and regulations around ADUs in California. The Bill would allow for the creation of “parking-free” ADUs, which would not require a dedicated space. This Bill would also remove some restrictions on the placement of ADUs, making it easier for homeowners to build these units on their property.

Another of the key provisions of AB 157 is the creation of a program administered by the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA), which you might remember from last year’s ADU Grant Program, to provide financial assistance to eligible low and moderate-income households for the development of ADUs.

Why are ADUs so important to California?

In a state with a growing population and a scarcity of housing options, ADUs provide a significant source of additional housing for families and individuals. They also give homeowners a chance to generate extra income by renting the unit, which can aid with the increasing cost of living in California, an effective solution to the state’s housing shortage.

Benefits of an ADU:


  • Additional income through rental
  • Increased property value
  • More living space for family members or guests
  • Maximized use of existing land

Be a part of the solution to California’s crisis. Discover the power of ADUs and take the first step today.

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