California's new housing and zoning law

Senate Bill 9 explained

Here's what you need to know about California's new Senate Bill 9, which will facilitate qualifying lots splits for homeowners living on a single-family zoned properties.

By: Rocio Lopez

In an effort to address California's housing crisis, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 9 during mid-September 2021. The new housing and zoning law will go into effect on January 1, 2022. Senate Bill 9 enables homeowners living in single-family homes to have two primary dwellings and two accessory dwelling units, a total of up to four units on one lot, as a result of a lot split.

All new housing created as a result of SB 9 must meet a specific list of qualifications and all homeowners must comply with the regulations, some of them are as follows:

  • The homeowner must live at the single-family zoned property for at least three years, to complete the lot split.
  • The property has to be located in a jurisdiction that is part of an urbanized area or urban cluster, as designated by the US Census.
  • The new housing must provide access to public right-of-way for both parcels.
  • The newly formed will need to be at least 1,200 square feet in size and mandating that one parcel can’t be smaller than 40% of the original lot size.

See if your property qualifies and find out what you could build, including lot splits & ADUs.

There are a few additional SB 9 guidelines to be aware of, lot splits can’t be completed in historic districts or listed as local landmarks. Although some exceptions may apply, this bill is a state-mandated program, meaning in order to get the lot split approved, you must comply with all guidelines and the parcel map must be requested for a single-family zoned residence.

If your local agency approves the urban lot split, eligible homeowners will be able to build up to 4 total units on one lot, creating living space for extended family, or for rental purposes. SB 9 does not allow short-term rentals, therefore the rental unit must be used for long-term opportunities, providing an affordable housing opportunity for a community member.

Senate Bill 9 is a homeowner bill, not an investor opportunity. The new housing and zoning guidelines push the California housing crisis in the right direction, although it will take several years to analyze the effects of the bill. The passing of SB 9 is a step in the right direction. Stay tuned for more details on SB 9 and its opportunities coming out soon.

See if your property qualifies and find out what you could build, including lot splits & ADUs.

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