After Changing State Law, A Granny Flat Might be Something to Consider

After changing state laws, more Redlands homeowners can make $1,000-$1,500 a month through rent from granny flats. Technically accessory dwelling units, the small housing unit can be built or modified on existing property.

Two bills chaptered in the state legislature have removed barriers to building granny flats to attempt to solve the state’s housing crisis.

Granny flats do not require additional land, major new infrastructure, structured parking or elevators. They are less costly than entire new buildings, and allow people to live closer to work rather than commute in.

“What it essentially does is allow a homeowner who might be struggling to keep up with their mortgage to be able to stay in their own home in their community and at the same time rent to somebody who needs an opportunity to rent in an affordable way,” Assemblyman Tony Thurmond said in support of his bill.

“It’s a two for one.”

Junior Accessory Dwelling Units

Thurmond’s bill, AB 2406, allowed the creation of junior accessory dwelling units. They are small units less than 500 square feet in the space of an existing residential structure. Homeowners may only build one junior accessory dwelling unit and cannot sell them apart from the main building. They must include a kitchen, but may share bathrooms with the main room.

A junior accessory dwelling unit can rent up to as much as $1,000 per month.

Parking and Fees

Parking requirements are reduced under State Senator Bob Wieckowski’s bill,SB 1069. Only one parking space may be required for a granny flat, and parking is not required to be provided at all if the granny flat is:

  • Within half a mile from public transit
  • Within an architecturally and historically significant historic district
  • Part of an existing primary residence or an existing accessory structure
  • In an area where on-street parking permits are required, but not offered to the resident of the granny flat
  • Located within one block of a car share area

SB 1069 also declared that granny flats will not be considered new residential uses for calculating utility fees, and that fire sprinklers will not be required if they are not required in the main house.

Redlands Ordinances

Since state law has changed, Redlands’ ordinances have become defunct, and the city is enforcing upon state law until the planning commission approves new ordinances. It is unsure when that will be, but Planning Manager of the Development Services Department Brian Foote and his team is working on them now. The considerations he brought in a May 22 meeting are not final, but offer a glimpse into what may happen:

  • The property owner may have to live in one of the buildings
  • Granny flats may have to be architecturally consistent with the main building
  • Replacement parking spaces may have to be found if the existing garage is converted to a granny flat
  • Homeowners may be able to build only one granny flat per lot
  • Size of the granny flat if detached from the house may be up to 1,200 square feet dependant on lot size (state law says detached must be no longer than 1,200 square feet and attached granny flats must not be more than 50% of existing floor area, and can’t expand 1,200 square feet)
  • Detached 1-story granny flats may be no more than 13 feet tall
  • Detached 2-story granny flats may be no more than 25 feet tall
  • Attached granny flats may be no more than 35 feet tall, if it has multiple stories

Last notes

Homeowners are encouraged to build these. State law has changed to make them easier to build.

That does not make them free to build. Constructing a new unit, at $175 per square foot, could cost homeowners $122,500 to build the minimum size of a detached granny flat. Junior accessory dwelling units can be cheaper to create if the house is modified to the specifications of the law, which includes a kitchen.

The additional income could pay off the cost.

More information can be found at this report by the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

About Candace Cantu McGloin

If you are looking for an attentive real estate agent to list your home or help you search for a new one, look no further than Redlands’ Keller Williams’ agent, Candace Cantu McGloin. Known as the Queen of Sunset Hills Real Estate, McGloin is qualified and willing to help home buyers and sellers across Southern California any season of the year. A long-time Redlands resident, she specializes in the cities of Redlands, Highland, Yucaipa, Grand Terrace, and Loma Linda  but has done transactions both on the buying and selling side throughout Southern California. To learn more about real estate in Redlands or elsewhere in the Inland Empire, call Candace directly at (951) 201-2443.

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