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Legislation Would Improve Access For California HOME Act

State Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) has introduced legislation, SB 450, which would modify SB 9 to make it more accessible for homeowners and enhance oversight to ensure that the law can be used.

“These minor changes actually accomplish a great deal. Based on feedback from Californians, these amendments make the process easier to follow for homeowners, and help state officials prevent anti-housing cities from dodging their responsibilities,” said Pro Tem Atkins. “There is so much opportunity in SB 9 – I’m pleased these fixes can help open up even more.”

Pro Tem Atkins’ SB 9, the California Housing Opportunity and More Efficiency (HOME) Act, was signed into law in 2021, and widened access to housing for California’s working families by streamlining a homeowner’s ability to build a duplex or split their current residential lot, allowing for a maximum of four units on a single-family parcel.

Her latest piece of housing legislation, SB 450, would update the HOME Act in the following ways:

Applies an ‘application shot clock’ similar to Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) law, which would require local governments to either approve or deny an application for a new SB 9 unit or lot split within 60 days, and require the local government to provide homeowners with a reason and remedies if their application is denied. This would align SB 9 with ADU law and make it easier for homeowners to navigate the application process.

Ensures that the California Department of Housing and Community Development’s (HCD) Housing Law Unit has accountability and enforcement authority.

Requires consistency in local objective zoning, subdivision, and design standards to prevent local governments from imposing overly-burdensome requirements on units and lot splits created using SB 9. While SB 9 crafted an appropriate balance between respecting local control and creating opportunity for more housing in California, there have been instances where local jurisdictions have imposed excessive requirements. This update would address those issues broadly, so as to require consistency in local rules and standards.

Makes other technical language updates to SB 9, including deleting unnecessary and redundant language related to demolition of a property.