Ting Proposals to Increase California’s Affordable Housing Supply Sent to the Governor

Friday, September 13, 2019

More housing units in the state could be on the way after the State Assembly approved two proposals by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), sending them to the Governor. AB 68 encourages greater adoption of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), commonly known as secondary homes, “in-law units” or “granny flats.” The other proposal, AB 1486, prioritizes construction of affordable housing projects when surplus public land becomes available.

“Accessory Dwelling Units provide a key piece of the puzzle in helping us address California’s unprecedented housing crisis. I support ADUs because they enable homeowners to be part of the solution, and we need to do more to spur widespread adoption,” said Ting. “Regarding surplus land, I can’t think of a better use for property the government no longer needs than to build affordable housing on it.”

By some estimates, California is nearly four million units short of meeting its housing demand. Building ADUs is one of the quickest ways to increase affordable housing supply. After the state relaxed some barriers to construction in 2017, there was an immediate boost to their numbers. Los Angeles, for example, has approved more than 10,500 ADUs since the change, compared to only a few hundred ADUs in years prior. Ting’s bill would make it even easier and faster for homeowners to build livable space on their properties by:

  • Speeding up the approval process to 60 days;
  • Prohibiting restrictive local requirements pertaining to lot size and parking; and,
  • Allowing more types of units, such as units in multi-family dwellings, to be approved with less bureaucratic review.

Other bills in the Legislature also seek to spur ADU development by reducing certain local government fees and suspending for five years any local rules that require the homeowner lives on their property if it has an ADU. Governor Newsom recently signed AB 670, which forbids homeowners associations from banning ADUs.

“California YIMBY is proud to have sponsored AB 68, which will create many thousands of new homes each year,” said Brian Hanlon, President and CEO of California YIMBY. “This bill empowers homeowners to help end the housing crisis by building Accessory Dwelling Units, which fit seamlessly into existing neighborhoods. These granny flats help keep multi-generational families together, and enable homeowners to make some extra money while providing more affordable homes for people who need them. We’re grateful to Asm. Ting for his strong leadership on this issue.”

According to the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley, applications for ADU permits have jumped significantly since the Legislature eased some regulations a few years ago, but homeowners still face challenges when it comes to building codes, limiting the full potential of ADUs.

Under AB 1486, Ting’s surplus land legislation gives more affordable housing projects the first right of refusal to build on public surplus land, taking advantage of strategically located sites next to transit, schools and jobs that have remained dormant for decades.

As with all bills sent to the Governor this month by the September 13 deadline, he has until October 13 to act. If signed into law, AB 68 & AB 1486 will take effect January 1, 2020.

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