Secondary units face many hurdles, but new companies are trying to change that. California politicians and housing advocates have long trumpeted adding accessory dwelling units (ADUs) as a key strategy that could put a dent in the state’s housing shortage by spurring the construction of hundreds of thousands of affordable new homes. They point to cities like Vancouver, where more than a third of single-family homes have secondary units.
The Bay Area Council, a policy and advocacy group funded by businesses, estimates that the region could add 400,000 ADUs if a quarter of Bay Area homeowners built them.
During the past two years, the California State Legislature passed a handful of laws to expand and streamline city approvals of ADUs, which are separate homes attached or detached from a single-family home. They are more commonly known as in-law units, granny flats and backyard cottages.
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