What is Senate Bill 9 and what it means for homeowners?
California Senate Bill 9 is the most controversial of the two new laws. It allows property owners to split a single-family lot into two lots, add a second home to their lot or split their lot into two and place duplexes on each. The last option would create four housing units on a property currently limited to a single-family house.
The new law will mark a shift from current policies that allow only two large units — a stand-alone house and an accessory dwelling unit — on single-family lots, as well as an attached junior unit no larger than 500 square feet.
Under the new law, cities and counties across California will be required to approve development proposals as long as they meet this law specified size and design standards.
Can homeowners use Bill 9?
Homeowners or landlords can apply to upzone their properties through their local jurisdiction, but only if they plan to live on the property for a while.
Property owners must sign an affidavit stating they will occupy one of the housing units as their primary residence for at least three years after splitting their property or adding additional units.
Answer these few questions about your project to find out if you may qualify to get advantage of the benefits California offers to the home owners who want to add more units on their property.
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What are the caveats of Bill 9?
The law is designed to create additional housing while also preserving low-income, affordable units.
A proposed project under this new law cannot result in the demolition or alteration of affordable or rent-controlled housing or market-rate housing that has been occupied by a tenant in the past three years. Properties listed as historic landmarks or those located within a historic district are off-limits for new development. Wetlands and farmland are also exempt.
If someone chooses to split their property in two, each new lot must be at least 1,200 square feet, according to the new law.
Any unit created as a result of the law cannot be used for short-term rentals. They must be rented for a term longer than 30 days.
Does this law allow for offices and new housing units on single-family properties?
No. Any new units created under SB 9 must only be used for residential purposes.
Do cities and counties have to abide by SB-9?
Under SB 9, local government officials may only deny a development application if they find that the proposed project would have a “specific, adverse impact” on “public health and safety or the physical environment” and there are no feasible and satisfactory mitigation options.
Find out if your project qualifies for streamline permitting under Senate Bill 9 (SB9) to get the permits fast