New Guidelines Make Way for Granny Flats

entranceway into a new home addition project

Building a Granny Flat in San Diego

Have you ever considered building a granny flat in San Diego as a way to enjoy personalized, on-site care for your aging or elderly parent(s)?

Constructing on-site living and care quarters (or “granny flats”) lets your aging or elderly family members live on your property in their own private space. This allows you to provide close quarters care while still giving them a dignified measure of freedom and mobility.

Perhaps at some point in the past, you even began researching construction and filling out permits. Unfortunately, if you are like many homeowners we have talked to, you probably didn’t get very far. After all, for many years the bevy of regulations and expenses just to reach the point of construction made building a granny flat in San Diego seem like an unachievable goal for far too many caring, protective families…. but that’s all changed as of this year!

Thanks to California Assembly Bill AB 2299, building a granny flat in San Diego County is easier than ever before. Of course, you must still follow certain guidelines in order to receive a building permit. However, once these requirements are met, building a granny flat in San Diego becomes as simple as building a new residential property (but at a far lesser cost).

A granny flat is the perfect solution for remaining in close proximity to your aging or elderly loved ones. According to the California Apartment Association (CAA), “While second units can serve as much needed rental housing, they can also provide homes for college students, elderly parents, or individuals with disabilities…”

California AB 2299: Building Permits in San Diego County

the main living space of a modern granny flat apartmentSo why the change of heart from the California government? Well, let’s discuss how California AB 2299 paved the way for relaxed regulations on building permits in San Diego County.

According to the CAA, which sponsored California AB 2299, “California is struggling to meet the needs of its citizens when it comes to housing, especially housing that is affordable near job centers and public transportation.” Therefore, relaxing regulations on building permits in San Diego County promotes the development of second units intended to help ease housing shortages and maximize use of limited resources.

a retired woman lounging against her sink in her own cozy living spaceThe CAA goes on to state that “While second units can serve as much needed rental housing, they can also provide homes for college students, elderly parents, or individuals with disabilities, who need to live close to their families or teachers who can provide them support.” In this regard, California AB 2299 will help bring units to the housing market faster, as the process for approval has become far more efficient.

As you can see, the official intended result of California AB 2299 is more housing choices for more people at more affordable rates. However, the secondary result, for families like yours especially, is the ability to obtain building permits in San Diego County for granny flat construction with much less headache and fuss than ever before

San Diego Granny Flats Regulations

So how do San Diego granny flats regulations work under California AB 2299? A “granny flat” falls under the umbrella of an “accessory dwelling unit,” or ADU. An ADU is either an attached or detached residential dwelling unit providing completely independent living facilities for one or more persons. An ADU must include permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation on the same piece of property where the single-family dwelling is situated.

Although the legal terminology is quite confusing, the main thing to understand is so long as the structure is built to code, and someone lives independently (i.e. with utilities, a kitchen, heat and air, living and sleeping areas, and sanitation) on the same lot as the existing home, it’s an ADU.

However, as San Diego granny flats regulations go, there are several essential requirements the new structure must meet. This is why it’s generally in your best interest to hire a contractor with previous experience building granny flats in San Diego. A professional contractor can help make your home extension project much more efficient and successful. Some of the more important California AB 2299 requirements for situations like yours are:

• The separate unit cannot be sold separately from the existing home.

 graphic cutout image of a paper home and family resting on the grass

• Zoning is for residential single or multi-family properties.

• The separate unit must be located on the same legal lot as the existing home.

• The unit cannot be more than 50% larger in square footage as the existing home.

• Total square footage cannot exceed 1,200 feet.

• There cannot be more than one new parking space per new bedroom. Tandem parking is allowed.

• No local ordinance can be more stringent than the ones set forth in California AB 2299.

San Diego Granny Flat Construction

 graphic cutout image of a paper home and family resting on the grassFor property owners who intend to finance home addition projects like San Diego granny flat construction, the new construction plans and specifications must be drawn up, and blueprints must be provided. This is one of the important reasons it helps to hire a contractor. A contractor can also help you obtain the proper permits, as well as deal with zoning issues throughout construction. Finally, a contractor knows how to make a detailed list of the granny flat construction process, including itemizing amounts for each separate building phase.

You then present the plans and specs to your bank or mortgage company, which oversees the distribution of funds and the overall process. The bank won’t provide a lump sum payment to the contractor, but instead distributes necessary funds as the project progresses. If the contractor you choose is not on the bank’s approved list, he or she will need to go through the approval process. However, in most cases you can also choose from a list of bank-approved contractors.

As each phase is completed, the contractor requests additional funds directly from the bank to continue. An inspector comes out at each interval to confirm the phase is completed to code. Once the project is complete, a final inspection is made, and a completion certificate is issued.

Another way to finance your San Diego granny flat construction project, which might be less expensive, is with a home equity line of credit (or HELOC) taken out on your primary residence. A HELOC can be used as funds are needed to complete construction, and only the amounts drawn from a HELOC accrue interest. Once the project is completed, the HELOC can be paid back down to zero and used again in the future for other purposes. Instead of a HELOC, you can also choose to take out a second mortgage on your primary residence. A straight second mortgage is issued in one lump sum into your bank account, and interest will accrue immediately as the funds are disbursed.

Finance Home Addition Projects

If you are looking to finance home addition projects of any kind, San Diego Purchase Loans has the knowledge, experience and dedication to ensure you have the information you need to make an educated decision on your property. If you decide to move forward with a loan for your granny flat or home addition project, we are committed to doing what it takes to get you approved for affordable financing. Contact us today, and let’s transform your vision for your granny flat construction project into reality for you and your aging or elderly loved ones!

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