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April 25, 2024

ADU Laws and Regulations in Santa Clarita - 2024

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ADU Types and Definitions in Santa Clarita

In Santa Clarita, diverse types of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are acknowledged under specific regulations, catering to different housing needs and property layouts.

Types of ADUs in Santa Clarita

Santa Clarita recognizes several distinct types of ADUs, each with its characteristics and size limitations. They provide flexible housing options for residents.

  • Detached ADU: A separate structure from the main residence, often referred to as a granny flat or backyard cottage. Detached ADUs can be up to 1,200 square feet, which incorporates the space for a kitchen and bathroom.
  • Attached ADU: This type shares at least one wall with the primary residence, with size constraints typically ranging from 850 to 1,000 square feet for structures with 0-1 bedroom and 2 bedrooms respectively.
  • Junior ADU (JADU): Also known as in-law units, they are smaller than conventional ADUs and must be contained within the walls of the existing primary residence, often resulting from the conversion of existing space like a garage or bedroom.
  • Conversion ADU: These units arise from transforming existing structures, such as garages or workshops, into habitable living spaces. Conversion ADUs must maintain appropriate setbacks for fire safety.

Defining Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), commonly termed a secondary unit or in-law unit, is a legal and regulatory term for a secondary house or apartment that shares the building lot of a larger, primary house. The ADU can take various forms:

  • The unit may be attached, detached, or a conversion of existing space.
  • It must provide complete independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation.
  • ADUs serve the purpose of offering affordable housing options, optimizing existing infrastructure, and accommodating a diverse population within the community.

Local Regulations and State Laws in Santa Clarita

When it comes to building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in Santa Clarita, understanding the interplay between local ordinances and California state laws is imperative. Both sets of regulations outline the requirements and limitations impacting the planning, approval, and construction of ADUs.

Santa Clarita ADU Ordinance

The City of Santa Clarita has specific ordinances that govern the construction of ADUs within its jurisdiction. These regulations are designed to align with, yet also complement, overarching California law. The local planning department plays a crucial role in the review and approval process for ADU projects. For instance, in Santa Clarita, one can find detailed guidelines on size, height, and design review to ensure aesthetic harmony with the existing neighborhood. To build an ADU in Santa Clarita, property owners must adhere to these local standards. For comprehensive guidance, the city offers resources such as the Santa Clarita, California ADU Rules, Plans, and Guides and a specific ADU handout provided by the Planning Division, that can greatly facilitate the planning and compliance phases.

California State ADU Laws

While municipalities like Santa Clarita can fine-tune regulations to their locality, California state ADU laws create the foundational legislative framework. These statewide rules are pivotal, establishing the baseline below which local ordinances cannot go. For example, according to California law, any single-family home is allowed to build an ADU. Furthermore, these laws also specify nuances such as set-back requirements, owner-occupancy stipulations, and utility fee regulations. Santa Clarita, although part of the larger Los Angeles County, must align its local ADU regulations with these state laws to provide a clear picture for potential ADU developers. Essential details for understanding these regulations can be found on platforms such as Symbium, which breaks down how state laws interact with property tax implications upon adding an ADU.

Zoning and Planning Requirements in Santa Clarita

In Santa Clarita, the planning division oversees regulations that shape the development of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). These specifics encompass lot size requirements, setbacks, placement, and aesthetic regulations, all mandated to ensure community cohesion and high living standards.

Lot Size and Setbacks

For an ADU in Santa Clarita, the property must conform to specific minimum lot size standards. Setbacks define the distance an ADU must maintain from property boundaries. The precise setback requirements vary, depending on factors such as unit size and location, but they generally ensure privacy and safety for all residents.

ADU Placement and Design

Placement of an ADU is crucial and is dictated by zoning laws. These laws stipulate where on a property an ADU can be sited, often designating them to be placed in the backyard or above a garage. The square footage of the unit also falls under strict regulation, situating ADUs as supplementary to the primary residence rather than equal in scale.

Height and Aesthetic Considerations

Regulations on maximum height are in place to maintain the character of residential neighborhoods. Height limits are measured from the ground to the peak of the structure's roof. Beyond functionality, aesthetic considerations come into play, requiring that ADUs harmonize with the surrounding community's appearance. This includes compatible architectural styles, colors, and landscaping, collectively labeled as backyard cottages to reflect their secondary and complementary nature in residential planning.

ADU Construction Process in Santa Clarita

When constructing an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in Santa Clarita, there are critical steps involving permitting and adhering to building and safety standards. This compliance ensures the ADU is safe, legal, and adds value to the primary residence.

Permitting and Approval

To build an ADU in Santa Clarita, one must first obtain the necessary permits. This requires the submission of detailed plans to the city’s Planning Division demonstrating that the proposed construction meets local zoning and the City of Santa Clarita Planning Division's guidelines. When preparing for permitting, homeowners must consider the impact on utility connections, including water and electricity. It's crucial to ensure compliance with the rules related to private sewage disposal if the property has a septic system, as this can affect the permitting process.

Two essential permits for construction projects are zoning permits and building permits. Zoning permits ensure that the proposed construction complies with local zoning regulations, while building permits verify that the project meets safety and construction standards set by the authorities. Both permits are necessary to proceed legally with a construction endeavor.

Properly navigating the Santa Clarita ADU regulations and requirements will streamline the approval process.

Building and Safety Standards

During the actual construction of an ADU, adherence to Santa Clarita's building and safety standards is non-negotiable. This includes fire safety regulations, which dictate the use of fire-resistant materials and proper placement of smoke detectors. Ensuring sufficient access for emergency services is also a critical feature of the building phase. The standards guide the structural integrity, livability, and utility connections to prevent compromises in quality or safety.

The safety checklist for construction includes using fire-resistant materials and installing smoke detectors, ensuring the building is equipped to handle fire emergencies effectively. Additionally, maintaining emergency access points is crucial for swift evacuation or intervention in case of fire or other emergencies. These measures prioritize the safety of occupants and are essential components of any construction project.

Careful adherence to these standards is not only a matter of compliance but also provides peace of mind for the homeowner and future occupants.

Parking and Accessibility in Santa Clarita

In Santa Clarita, regulations regarding the parking for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are designed to balance the need for additional housing with neighborhood parking availability. They consider proximity to public transportation as a significant factor for exemptions.

Parking Requirements and Exemptions

Santa Clarita mandates that each ADU must have one parking space. However, there are specific scenarios where an ADU can be exempt from this requirement. These exemptions are particularly applicable to cases where the ADU is within a half-mile radius of public transit, making it easier for residents to rely on alternative transportation options. Additionally, if an ADU is part of an existing primary residence or located in areas where on-street parking permits are not offered, the parking space requirement may be waived.

Proximity to Public Transit

The proximity to public transit plays a crucial role in the parking requirements for ADUs in Santa Clarita. When an ADU is located less than half a mile from a public transit stop, it alleviates the need for an additional parking space, thus encouraging the use of public transportation. This provision is part of an effort to reduce traffic congestion and promote environmentally friendly transit options.

Economic Aspects of ADUs in Santa Clarita

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) present a unique economic opportunity for property owners in Santa Clarita. The financial implications encompass both the costs of constructing these units and the potential rental income, which contributes to housing affordability in the region.

Cost and Financing

The cost of building an ADU in Santa Clarita can vary significantly based on factors such as size, design, and materials used. On average, costs can range from $50,000 to over $150,000. Financing an ADU construction can involve traditional loans, equity from the primary residence, or creative financing solutions. Due to various labor and materials expenses, it is advisable for homeowners to forecast expenses accurately to avoid budget overrun.

  • Materials: Due to fluctuations in the market, the cost of materials can impact the overall expenses for building an ADU. It is essential for homeowners to keep abreast of current pricing trends for materials such as lumber, which has been subject to significant changes in price.
  • Labor: Skilled labor is required to ensure the ADU complies with local building codes. Labor costs may increase due to demand or during periods of labor shortage.

Rental Income and Housing Affordability

ADUs in Santa Clarita can provide substantial rental income for homeowners.

  • For instance, the rental of a detached or attached ADU can generate additional monthly income, which can be used to offset mortgage costs or serve as a supplemental income stream.
  • Housing affordability is also positively impacted by ADUs, as they provide more diverse housing options at potentially lower rental price points than traditional single-family homes.

In Santa Clarita, initiatives such as the ADU Accelerator Program are in place to encourage the development of ADUs and enhance their economic viability for homeowners while contributing to the overall housing supply. This symbiosis between additional housing and economic benefit exemplifies the dual advantage of ADU development.

Owner and Tenant Considerations in Santa Clarita

When examining Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) laws and regulations in Santa Clarita, owners and tenants must be aware of specific requirements that affect owner-occupancy and the use of ADUs as rental properties. These considerations are crucial for ensuring compliance with local standards and making informed decisions regarding property management.

Owner-Occupancy Requirements

Santa Clarita has implemented regulations governing the owner-occupancy of both single-family and multi-family residential properties. In general, a principal residence must be owner-occupied when hosting an ADU. However, recent statewide changes have altered these requirements. As per the updates, California's ADU owner occupancy requirements have experienced significant changes. Now, ADUs built before 2020 or after 2025 will not be subjected to these requirements. For potential builders, this represents a shift in long-term property planning, particularly relevant to those considering future constructions or alterations. Learn more about the new occupancy requirements.

ADUs as Rental Properties

ADUs offer owners of single-family and multi-family homes the opportunity to generate rental income, while providing tenants with additional housing options in Santa Clarita's competitive market. It is important to note that an ADU may be rented separately from the primary residence but cannot be sold separately. They may, however, present alternatives to traditional short-term rentals and offer longevity for tenant occupancy. Owners must adhere to local Santa Clarita Planning Division guidelines to ensure the integrity of the rental agreement and property use. Navigate Santa Clarita ADU regulations to ensure your project complies with local standards, thus safeguarding your investment and maintaining lawful tenancy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Understanding the regulations around Accessory Dwelling Units can streamline the planning and building process for homeowners in Santa Clarita. This section addresses common inquiries to provide clarity on the subject.

What are the requirements for constructing an ADU in Santa Clarita?

In Santa Clarita, constructing an ADU requires adherence to specific guidelines such as submitting design plans that comply with building codes, passing relevant inspections, and following the established square footage laws. More detailed requirements are available through the City of Santa Clarita Planning Division.

How does Santa Clarita's ADU ordinance align with California state law?

Santa Clarita's ADU ordinance is designed to be in compliance with California state law, which requires local jurisdictions to allow ADUs of at least 800 square feet and to streamline their approval process. Local adjustments are applied to suit community needs while conforming to the broader legal framework.

What are the size and height restrictions for ADUs in Santa Clarita?

The size of a detached ADU in Santa Clarita must not exceed 1,200 square feet, and this includes essential areas such as the bathroom and kitchen. The height guidelines are set to accommodate the design within the character of the neighborhood. You can find additional information on size and height restrictions from Autonomous.

Are there any specific zones in Santa Clarita where ADUs are not permitted?

Santa Clarita permits ADUs in various residentially zoned areas, with particular ordinances guiding where an ADU can be placed. These zones are clearly defined by the Santa Clarita Planning Division, ensuring residents understand the possibilities for their property.

What permits are required for building an ADU in Santa Clarita?

Building an ADU in Santa Clarita mandates several permits, including building, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical permits, as part of the construction process. The exact permits needed may vary based on the ADU's specifications. The Planning Division of Santa Clarita provides guidance on required permits for construction.

Is owner occupancy required for properties with an ADU in Santa Clarita?

As of the latest guidelines, Santa Clarita does not enforce owner-occupancy requirements for properties with an ADU. This means the property owner does not need to live on-site in either the primary or accessory unit. Information on owner occupancy regulations can be checked with the local housing resources.

This post is for informational purposes only and does not serve as legal, financial, or tax advice. Consult your own legal, financial, or tax advisor for matters mentioned here. The information on this site is general in nature. Any description of coverage is necessarily simplified. Whether a particular loss is covered depends on the specific facts and the provisions, exclusions and limits of the actual policy. Nothing on this site alters the terms or conditions of any of our policies. You should read the policy for a complete description of coverage. Coverage options, limits, discounts, deductibles and other features are subject to individuals meeting our underwriting criteria and state availability. Not all features available in all states. Discounts may not apply to all coverages. Steadily is not liable for any actions taken based on this information. If you believe any of this information may be inaccurate please contact us.

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