Should Building an ADU Be a Civic Duty in California? Former Public Official Argues Yes

Building an ADU on your property may be a moral and ethical imperative.

If you’ve kept up with the recent legislation in California, you probably know that there have been significant changes in accessory dwelling unit (ADU) regulation.

After the passage of AB68, SB13, AB881, AB670, California homeowners now have the right to add a second unit to their properties, assuming they meet all local codes and zoning regulations. The state passed the legislation in response to the state’s housing crisis, which has yielded unstainable increases in property values and rent prices.

If you are a California homeowner, you now have plenty of different options to build a second unit. You can choose to convert your garage or build an attached or detached unit. Then, you can use your ADU for new living space, or additional rental income. ADUs have many advantages for you and your family. But it goes further. When you add an ADU, you are increasing the housing supply, decreasing the average rent, and making life more affordable for ordinary Californians, all while maintaining the character of your neighborhood. By increasing density, we are expanding the housing supply all while utilizing existing infrastructure!

ADUs were called “naturally affordable housing” by Berkeley’s Terner Center For Housing Innovation. A research initiative in the East Bay found that ADUs were affordable for households earning as little as 62% of the region’s median income. The findings demonstrate that the additional construction of ADUs will have an enormously positive effect on behalf of people who currently can’t afford to live in California.

As you can see, ADUs are a much bigger deal than merely adding additional living space. They are a policy option that are creating a massive positive change in California.

Nearly two-thirds of California is currently zoned as residential. This manifests as sprawl, and the big reason why we have a housing crisis; our land utilization rate is low compared to the total population. We need more housing near jobs and public transit!

That’s why Ben Metcalf, the former Director of California’s Department of Housing and Community Development, argued that Californians have an ethical responsibility to build an ADU. ‘“Your civic duty as a Californian is: “you gotta convert your garage”’.

If you are interested in building an ADU and performing your civic duty, it’s easy to get started. First, you need to find out whether you are eligible to build one on your property. Search your property’s eligibility using Housable’s free property check tool to get a snapshot of whether you can build.

Then when you’re ready to confirm your eligibility, order a free Housable Property Report for a clear answer.

Get ready for a profitable and ethical ADU adventure!