Terner Center Highlights SB 9 Activity

The Terner Center for Housing Innovation released a report in January that looks at how Senate Bill 9, the landmark legislation that redefined single-family housing in California, has fared during its first year. Coined the California HOME Act, SB 9 allows owners of single-family lots to build as many as four homes on their properties. The battle to enact SB 9 was fierce, with opponents concerned about rampant building that would impact neighborhood character and proponents arguing that more land and tools are needed to ensure that people can afford to live in increasingly expensive areas.

While the Terner Center had completed a prior report that suggested that SB 9 would enable the development of more than 700,000 new small homes, they acknowledged that this number would be highly unlikely. The Terner Center looked at data from 13 cities to evaluate how SB 9 is working throughout the State and found that the number of homeowners taking advantage of SB 9 is relatively small. The report cites challenges that homeowners have in developing their properties as well as new barriers put in place by local jurisdictions that make development harder or that incentivize the development of Accessory Dwelling Units instead. The report offers several suggested improvements, including creating more prescriptive standards for SB 9 homes to enable greater flexibility adopting more flexible SB 9 ordinances at the local level, and creating more opportunities for homeownership by eliminating barriers, including construction defect litigation laws and the Subdivision Map Act.

Access the full report here.