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Southern California City Takes the Lead in Allowing Accessory Dwelling Units
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Southern California City Takes the Lead in Allowing Accessory Dwelling Units

Southern California remains one of the most expensive housing markets in the country, and some area cities are making strides in allowing housing alternatives such as ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) and MADUs (Moveable Tiny Homes.)

In Riverside, California, for instance, any residential property can add at least one ADU per state law. Properties developed with single-family homes can also secure permits to add a JADU (Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit) or a MADU (Moveable Accessory Dwelling Unit).

An ADU is a completely self-contained housing unit located on the same lot as another home, called the primary dwelling. ADUs can be up to 1,200 sq. ft. or 50% of the size of the primary dwelling and have their own kitchen, bathroom, and living area. ADUs are considered accessories because they are typically smaller than the primary dwelling and are not considered the main use on the lot.

ADUs are often referred to as granny flats or mother-in-law’s quarters but are also commonly used for grown children returning home because they are priced out of the housing market. Homeowners are also frequently renting out ADUs for passive income.

A JADU is similar to an ADU but is smaller and is usually converted from existing bedrooms or other living spaces in a primary dwelling. JADUs must have their own cooking facilities but unlike ADUs, JADUs may share a bathroom with the primary dwelling. A JADU can also be a converted garage, but some upgrades would probably be required for structures that were not originally built to be inhabited to meet Building Code requirements.

A MADU, sometimes called a Moveable Tiny Home, is a premanufactured independent living unit mounted on a chassis, licensed, and registered with the California DMV. These units are legal for movement on public highways, but not under their own power like an RV (recreational vehicle) would be.

MADUs are 150 to 430 sq. ft. and like ADUs, can be rented separately from the primary home, but it must be for a period longer than 30 days. The property owner does not need to occupy one of the dwellings to rent the other units. This is not the case with a JADU, where owner occupancy is required to rent one of the units.

Built like small studio apartments, MADUs has many advantages for homeowners. There is a lower cost and faster turnaround once permitted by the city. The cost of site installation is less, and there is a lower operating cost, as the units have high energy standards and high-efficiency heating/cooling units. Complete appliance packages are available and for a minimal upgrade, can be built to California – CalFire WUI Fire Codes.

As more cities embrace the various ADUs to ease the housing shortage and affordability issues,  HomeQuest and manufacturers such as Back Porch Homes/Virtue Built are helping meet the demand for these housing options