Richard Bloom’s “Granny Flat” Measure Signed Into Law
October 9, 2019 — A measure by Santa Monica Assemblymenber Richard Bloom that reduces barriers to building accessory dwelling units (ADU), or “granny flats,” was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday.
AB 881 — which updates a law Bloom authored in 2016 — clarifies the definition of public transit and an ADU’s distance from it, as well as the types of existing structures that can be converted.
“Accessory dwelling units have ignited interest from residents throughout the state due to the affordability and flexibility these units give homeowners,” Bloom said in a statement Wednesday.
“In order to continue the progress we have made, ADU regulations need to be relaxed in order to make ADU development easier and, thus, more likely to happen.”
Since the passage of the 2016 law, thousands of ADUs have been built around the state, with more than 10,000 applications approved in Los Angeles alone, Bloom’s office said.
But there are still barriers to building so-called “granny
flats,” which are often used by college students, elderly parents or
disabled individuals who need to live close to their families.
“In some instances, cities have rejected garages as existing, convertible structures, citing the lack of explicit reference to these structures in code,” Bloom’s staff said.
“Other cities have imposed burdensome owner occupancy requirements that have created uncertainty, making lenders wary of approving financing.”
Bloom’s measure also removes provisions that have given cities “unreasonably broad discretion for denying ADU permits,” as well as an owner occupancy requirement that “unfairly subjects ADUs to a requirement not in existence for any other kind of housing.”