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Do You Know About the New Law Regarding Legal Secondary Dwellings?

Close-up. Elderly woman and beautiful granddaughter with wide smile to show granny flats are now legal in CAGo ahead, build that Granny flat! It’s legal in the state of California.

Santa Barbara homeowners are in luck: there’s a new law regarding legal secondary dwellings making it easier to build a second unit on their property or turn an illegal unit into a legal one.
About two-thirds of California’s cities and counties have their Legal Secondary Dwellingsown second-unit ordinances, including here in Santa Barbara, but the state law is more permissive than most of them. AB2299 amends the state law governing second units and renames them “accessory dwelling units,” meaning an attached or a detached residential dwelling unit which provides complete independent living facilities for one or more persons. It includes permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation on the same parcel as the single-family dwelling.
Legal Secondary DwellingsOne of the main things that prevented homeowners from building legal secondary units was a requirement to offer parking spaces. This new bill eliminates that requirement, empowering local officials to impose the state-mandated program as they see fit.
The state law does not prevent homeowners from renting out the second unit to short-term guests or require them to live in one of the units. But local jurisdictions can require one of the structures to be owner-occupied, and regulate rentals of less than 30 days.
But these legal secondary dwellings don’t have to be used as rental units. They can be a separate guest house; a space for an on-site caregiver; a way to allow multigenerational families to live together, but not too together; an office; a man cave or a she shed. Let your imagination dictate what to do.
The new laws eased or eliminate the off-street parking Legal Secondary Dwellingsrequirements and often-enormous utility-hookup fees that California homeowners used to face when creating a second dwelling, often called an in law or granny unit. This is especially helpful for my Montecito Mediterranean Estate listing, which has such a structure and is now legal.
The compound sits on just under 1 acre of pedigreed land in Montecito, California’s coveted “Golden Quadrangle” of historic and prestigious estates. The stunning primary residence also has a spacious 2-bedroom, 2-bath San Ysidro Ranch-style turn-of-the-20th century guest cottage, which has been completely remodeled and updated.
For more info on these new laws regarding legal secondary dwellings, read this article in the San Francisco Chronicle. For more information on my Montecito Mediterranean Estate listing, please check out my comprehensive website. You’ll see more listings in Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities. See something you like?  Just call me at 805.886.9378 or email me at

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