Granny Flats | The New California Law & Why Building One Adds Great Value

It should come to no surprise to hear that California is in a housing crisis. There is a severe shortage of homes, costs to buy homes are unaffordable, rental prices are skyrocketing, and there’s been a disproportionate amount of people moving into California than moving out. Because of all of this, the government has been introducing bills & passing laws to ease the crisis. One of the new laws is encouraging homeowners to utilize ADUs – accessory dwelling units, more commonly referred to as granny flats.

In California, it is very common to come across a home with an un-permitted addition or separate structure, such as a granny flat. There are numerous risks associated with these un-permitted additions, i.e. owing back taxes or the city giving you notice to demo the structure. However, a new law went into effect January 1st, 2019 that is giving homeowners with these un-permitted ADUs a chance to bring these units into compliance. In 2018, updated legislation improved current regulations on ADUs, easing up certain restrictions.

How do granny flats help the housing crisis?

  • They are an affordable option to adding housing to already existing lots.
  • They maximize the housing density in single-family zoned neighborhoods.
  • They encourage larger/ extended families to live together, while still allowing for desired independence.

How do granny flats add value to your home?

  • They are a relatively cheap way to attract buyers and command higher price-points.
  • They are still not incredibly common, so your home will stand out among all your competition.
  • With the high median home price in California, buyers are less likely to afford a down payment on their own. Adding a granny flat to your home would attract a larger buyer pool to include people who are looking to purchase with extended family/ friends.
  • Another way buyers are affording homes is to use part of their home as a rental. A granny flat will not only attract buyers looking for this, but it will command higher rent prices than simply renting out a room in the main house.
  • Have a 2 or 3 car garage? Converting this into an ADU saves construction costs and can expedite the building process.


– Danielle & Frankie Hajj

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