Southern California has struggled with providing sufficient housing for years. One attempt to address this issue was put into force in 2022 with the introduction of Senate Bill 9 (SB9), the California Housing Opportunity and More Efficiency Act. SB9 makes it easier to get a permit to build additional living units on a single-family lot or divide a single-family lot into two. Complete Package Drafting can help you decide if an SB9 division is right for you, and we can create quality plans for your SB9 expansion.
How SB9 Works
SB9 features two ways for owners of urban single-family lots to build additional dwellings:
- Build two primary residential units on a single-family lot. The two units can be single family dwellings or a duplex. ADUs and JADUs are permitted in addition to the two primary units.
- Split a lot into two of roughly equal size. Each of these subdivided lots can have up to two dwellings. In a split lot, however, ADUs and JADUs count towards the two-unit limit.
- For an example of how SB9 might work, look at the photo on the left. This is a typical 6000 square foot residential lot for which we’ve designed four units. The left structure is a TUD. The right structure is two ADUs with an attached carport.
Limitations to SB9
Many homeowners have taken advantage of SB9, building new living units to lease to renters. However, not every urban lot is eligible to take advantage of SB9.
- The property must be zoned for single families only.
- It must not be on a historically designated zone.
- It must not be on a wetland, floodway, conservation zone, or within the habitat of some species.
- Properties in coastal zones, earthquake fault zones, and severe fire hazard zones may need to meet other additional criteria or obtain additional permits.
Some conditions make a property ineligible for an SB9 project.
- If you intend to rent out one of the units, only long-term rentals are permitted. Vacation rentals and short-term rentals are prohibited.
- Affordable housing, tenant occupied housing, and rent-stabilized units.
- Units where a tenant has lived for three years.
- Units that have been removed from the rental market in the last 15 years due to an Ellis Act eviction.
For lot splits, there are some other considerations.
- Only one split per single-family lot is allowed. You cannot split a property and then split again.
- A property owner (or someone working with a property owner) cannot split two adjacent lots.
- The owner must reside on one of the newly created lots for at least three years from the date of approval.
- Both split lots must be at least 1,200 square feet. They don’t need to be equal, but the smaller lot must not be less than 40% the size of the original parcel.
These are a few more criteria the State has set for a property to be eligible for an SB9 expansion. Additionally, municipal governments can specify additional requirements as long as they don’t conflict with state law.
If you think you meet all the eligibility requirements, let us know. Complete Package Drafting can help you obtain approval. Our legal experts are closely familiar with state and city requirements for property expansion, so by consulting with us, we’ll be able to tell you if your property will be approved or not.
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Understand SB9 with Complete Package Drafting
Since it came into effect only in 2022, nobody can tell if SB9 will have a real impact on California’s housing crisis. But that doesn’t mean that homeowners aren’t interested in SB9 and how it can help them. We receive daily inquiries about SB9, and we are always happy people understand if it is right for them.
If you’re curious about SB9 and what it might do for your property, contact Complete Package Drafting for a consultation today. With our wealth of experience and professionalism, we’ll be the perfect partner to help you get the most out of your property.