Here’s a creative solution to keep your kids near home after college.
With the housing crunch continuing, many people are becoming creative with their current home by adding on a granny unit or accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to keep their kids in the Bay Area after college. These small homes/buildings are located on the same lot as the main home and can be a clever solution for extended family to live together or to provide a secondary stream of revenue for homeowners.
Each city has its own ADU rules and regulations but recent state legislation took effect on January 1, 2017, giving California cities more flexibility for allowing homeowners to build ADUs. Three separate bills were introduced and signed by Governor Brown; SB 1069 (Wieckowski), AB 2299 (Bloom), and AB 2406 (Thurmond).
In response to these state changes, on July 10, the Los Altos City Council approved an amended ADU ordinance that will roll back restrictions. This is good news, as ADUs are a smart way for homeowners to respond to changing family situations and to maximize their property’s value.
The new rule in Los Altos allows for ADUs to increase in size from 800 square feet to 1,200 square feet and requires no minimum lot size for construction, whereas the previous ordinance mandated a minimum lot size of 15,000 square feet. This will allow more people to take advantage of the benefits ADUs have to offer.
The amended ordinance also removes the requirement for the homeowner to live on site, and it eliminates the previous two-parking-spot minimum. However, one parking spot is still required unless public transit is located within half a mile, a car-share station is on the block, or the home has historical or architectural significance.
Under this new rule, an existing structure on the property can also be converted into living space, including a garage or basement. In terms of design, the ADU and main home are required to have a number of matching features; and the door of the ADU cannot face the street.
For more information on the designs and guidelines for ADU’s in your city, the best place to start is on the city’s own website building and planning division.
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Disclaimer: This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.