New ADU Laws in California for 2024: Key Updates & Benefits

Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) provide more versatile structures, allowing you to take advantage of adequate and affordable housing solutions and optimize property space. As a property owner, you should update yourself on current ADU laws and regulations, whether you’re considering building an ADU for personal living space or rental opportunities. Keep reading as the pros from Forever Builders, the full home, bath, and kitchen remodel experts San Diego homeowners trust for exceptional craftsmanship and outstanding service, discuss the new laws for ADUs in California in 2024 you can take advantage of, making building an ADU and renovating your home easier and more flexible.

Relaxed Height Restrictions

Zoning codes govern different aspects of residential building projects, such as height limit and lot coverage. In 2024, California relaxed height restrictions for ADUs. Now they can be built to a maximum of 25 feet high. In the past, regulations restricted height to a maximum of 16 feet.

With an attached ADU, it can be as tall as the main house, as long as that’s 25 feet or less. However, if a public transit line is within half a mile of your ADU, the rule dictates a maximum height of 18 feet for the attachment. That restriction also applies to properties that have two-story multifamily dwellings.

60-Day Rule Changes

In the past, many applications were denied because of the 60-day rule, under which permitting offices were required to approve or deny ADU permits within 60 days. The overwhelming number of applications being submitted to California’s permitting offices were increasing the time it took to evaluate each request, and instead of extending the timeframes, the offices would simply deny applications when the 60-day time limits were up, even if all the regulations and rules were followed correctly. However, after many complaints over the past several years, officials placed this issue front and center.

Now, if an agency denies your application, it must submit detailed information about the reason why. In addition to the reasons for the denial, the office must specify methods you can use to remedy the problems. Now it’s more challenging for an agency to deny your application because of the 60-day rule. It also requires extra assistance so you can fix the issue and have your application approved.

More Transparent Front Setback

The property’s location and the type of ADU will typically determine the setback requirements. These stipulations apply to side, front, and rear setbacks. In 2024, California developed more transparent front setback laws that prevent an application from being denied if an 800-square-foot ADU encroaches on the front setback.

As a result, this can help you and other homeowners if your properties have limited backyard space. As long as you adhere to other application requirements, you’ll no longer be denied strictly because of the front setback requirements.

Finding Out More Details about ADUs

These updated laws addressed the criticisms many contractors and homeowners were expressing. The previous regulations were being referred to as too restrictive or unclear. However, new state assembly bills changed the ADU landscape in California.

You can find relevant information on the website for the California Department of Housing and Community Development. You can also speak with an agency representative directly by calling and requesting help or more information.

When you’re ready to add an ADU to your home, make sure to hire the best contractors in the business. The team from Forever Builders are the whole home remodel contractors San Diego homeowners can trust to provide the most affordable home remodeling services and ensure their visions become reality. From design to completion, we’ll help you create the home you’ve always wanted, meeting all your expectations while keeping your costs within budget. To find out more about our outstanding remodeling services, give one of our friendly team members a call today.

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