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5 New California Laws for 2022

5 New California Laws for 2022

5 New California Laws for 2022

The California Legislature recently passed several new laws during the 2021 legislative session. Governor Gavin Newsom approved 770 bills into law, including some that affect housing and rental rules. As a property owner or a San Diego property management expert, knowing these new regulations is a must.

California seems to have a wide array of agendas on legislative policies that will hugely impact property owners and rentals. Some of the new laws have to do with the prevalent housing shortage in California, the crisis of homelessness, and real estate inequality. There were also laws related to people’s accumulated rental debt due to the pandemic.
Governor Newsom signed at least a dozen of new housing laws to combat the issues mentioned above. You can find below five of the most pertinent laws that may affect you as a property owner. Read on to know more about these new California laws for 2022.

1.   Senate Bill 9

Single-family zoning is a regulation that says there should only be one unit in every parcel of land. This is the law behind the single-family homes that are the standard of Californian suburb – yard, picket fence, and all. Senate Bill 9 or SB 9 is a new law seeking to end the single-family zoning, aimed to ease California’s rising housing crisis.
According to SB 9, beginning January 1, property owners can add up to three more units on their land. This means that single-family homes can be transformed into duplexes with four living units. However, this is only possible if the property owner can satisfy certain eligibility restrictions and qualifications.
Besides turning a single home to have three more units, SB 9 also permits lots to be split into two, each with a duplex. The restriction is that the owner must occupy the initial home. The owner must also attest that they will continue living there for at least three years, with it as their primary residence.
SB 9 was one of the most debated bills and is the most important law passed this year. Therefore, property owners should definitely know more about this bill. One key provision of this law, besides those mentioned above, is that access to affordable housing is a statewide matter. As such, SB 9 applies to all California counties and cities.

2.   Senate Bill 10

Another newly signed housing bill is SB 10, a law that makes it easier for local governments to rezone neighborhoods in urban areas or transit-rich areas. This means that apartment complexes can have increased density. They can now have up to 10 units in every property through this bill. In addition, the rezoning is exempt from a lengthy environmental review.
However, the subsequent project approvals are not necessarily exempt from the review. It only applies if there’s another exemption or a ministerial approval process is adopted by a local agency. The exception also applies if there’s already a local law exempting the project. SB 10 has its limitations, which property owners need to know for future house planning and projects.
SB 10 is one of the various laws signed to combat the housing shortage that California currently experiences. The housing crisis is widely known for the state’s rock bottom inventory. It’s also the cause of increased home prices and rents, as well as the rising bidding wars. SB 10 is among the many bills passed to help many households not be forced out of their homes.

3.   AB 491

The inequality in housing is one issue that California tackled in passing AB 491. This state law is related to the integration of BMR units in any residential structure with five or more living units. It applies to market-rate housing and affordable units, requiring all units provide equal access to common areas, entrances, and amenities.
According to this new law, affordable units in a mixed-income multifamily housing shouldn’t be separated into a specific area or specific floor. There have been provisions similar to this, stated in local inclusionary housing requirements. With this law, San Diego property management experts and property owners will have to integrate new units that ensure equality to all.

4.   Senate Bill 478

Local zoning codes use floor area ratio (FAR) to limit a building’s total floor area with the lot’s square footage. With SB 478, agencies can no longer enforce less than 1.0 FAR in housing development projects with three to seven units. These housing projects refer to residential units or those with at least 2/3 of the square footage are used for residential or supportive housing.
They also cannot impose less than 1.25 FAR for a housing development project that has eight to 10 units. Another provision of the bill explains an agency cannot reject a housing development project on an existing legal parcel of land simply because “it didn’t meet the agency’s minimum required lot size.”
Qualified projects are those with three to 10 units in a mixed-use or a multifamily residential zone. Also, the location of the housing should not be in an urbanized area, and within aa single-family site or a historic district. This bill also states that authorities cannot force lot coverage requirements that prevent a housing project to meet the acceptable floor area ratio.

5.   Senate Bill 290

SB 290 contains amendments to the SBDL. If you didn’t know, SBDL provides bonuses, waivers, concessions, and parking reductions if the project has qualified affordable housing. It is a crucial tool used for California’s efforts to increase the density and production of housing in the state. This isn’t exactly a new law, but a revision to the 2018 law written by Senator Skinner.
The 2018 law is known as SB 1227, which provides density bonuses to development projects with student housing. With SB 290, the 2018 law has an added ability to request incentives for projects or a single concession. For instance, they can ask an incentive from a student housing development with at least 20% of the total units meant for low-income students.

Governments often pass new bills and laws with provisions that change who can own land, how they can use them, and under what conditions. If you are a San Diego property management expert, knowing new housing laws is crucial to ensure you’re doing right per government rules. Otherwise, you’ll be faced with issues that derail the sale, rental or construction of a property.