Small Housing Case Study: California’s Legislation allowing separate sale of ADUs

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California’s housing supply shortage is among the worst in the USA. One strategy that has been consistently promoted by housing advocates to address this challenges is to increase the supply of accessory dwelling units (ADUs).

Key insights:

California grapples with one of the most acute housing shortages in the USA. Advocates propose a solution: boosting the supply of accessory dwelling units (ADUs). These standalone residences, either attached or detached from the main dwelling, reside on the same lot. Despite state law granting ADU permission since 1982, cities constrained their development, citing concerns about parking, neighborhood dynamics, and property values.

This Small Housing Case Study explores the work undertaken by the Casita Coalition – a state-wide, multi-sector organization committed to increasing the supply of small-scale, affordable housing options – in their advocacy for a bill to eliminate barriers to ADU development, enabling cities to decide on ADU sales. Passed in fall 2023, the law takes effect in 2024, allowing California cities and counties to “opt in” for ADU sales.