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Understanding California's New ADU Laws: 

A Guide for Beginners


Understanding California's New ADU Laws: A Guide for Beginners

Eddy & Oscar

Welcome to the Realist8Group, where truth and transparency form the cornerstone of our approach to real estate...

Welcome to the Realist8Group, where truth and transparency form the cornerstone of our approach to real estate...

Jan 20 4 minutes read

Today, we're going to explore some new laws in California that are all about small homes called Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs for short. These are like tiny houses or apartments that can be on the same property as a bigger house. Let's dive in and understand what's new in 2024!

What are ADUs?

ADUs are small homes that can be built in the backyard of a bigger house or even converted from garages. People often use them for family members or rent them out to others. They're super popular because they offer extra space and can even help owners earn some money through rent.

The Big Change in 2024: Selling ADUs Separately (AB 1033)

Until recently, if you had a small house (ADU) in your backyard, you couldn't sell it by itself; it had to be sold with the big house. But a new law called AB 1033 changed that. Now, in some places in California, you can sell this small house separately from the big house, like its own little home. But, cities don't have to follow this new rule if they don't want to.

How Does This Work?

Selling your backyard home separately is a bit tricky. It's like turning it into a mini-apartment building (called a condominium). You need to get some legal stuff sorted out, like making rules for the property and drawing up a map showing which part of the land belongs to the small house. Then, you have to get all these documents approved and recorded. It's important to remember that this might make the big house less valuable because it's now sharing the property with another home.

Things to Keep in Mind

  • Approval from Cities: Not every city will let you sell your ADU separately. So, check with your local government first.
  • Costs and Process: It can be expensive and take time to turn your ADU into a sellable home.
  • Homeowners Associations (HOAs): When you sell your ADU, you might need to form an HOA to manage shared areas like driveways or gardens.
  • Mortgages: If you have a loan on your property, your bank might need to say "okay" before you can sell your ADU.

Other Cool Changes

  • AB 976: This law says that cities can't force ADU owners to live in their main house if they want to rent out their ADU.
  • AB 434: By 2025, cities in California must have some standard ADU designs ready. This makes it easier for homeowners to choose a design and build their ADU.

Why Should You Care?

ADUs are a great way to add more living space to your property. They can be used for many things, like a home office, a place for family members, or even a rental to earn extra money. Plus, they add value to your property!


California's new ADU laws in 2024 have made it easier and more exciting to have an ADU. Whether you're a homeowner thinking of building one or just curious about how these tiny homes work, these laws are opening up new possibilities. 

Always check with your local city or county for the most up-to-date rules, as things can vary from place to place.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. If you need specific advice on real estate laws, it's a good idea to talk to a real estate attorney.

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