New Housing Laws in California 2024: Everything You Need to Know

new housing laws
Table Of Contents

The 2024 California Legislative Session passed many new laws to make building more houses in California easier. From significant legislative sessions to new endorsements, we break down the crucial housing production laws that are set to redefine the way Californians experience home. Whether you’re a homeowner, renter, or curious about the new changes, this compilation provides everything you need to navigate the evolving housing scene in the Golden State. 

Step into the future of housing in California with our comprehensive guide to the latest laws shaping the landscape in 2024.

SB 466 – Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act

The Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, established in 1995, plays a crucial role in California’s rental housing landscape. It restricts cities and counties from imposing local rent control on several housing units, including:

  1. Units constructed after February 1, 1995: This provision aims to incentivize new housing construction by exempting them from rent control regulations.
  2. Single-homes and condominiums: These property types remain exempt from rent control regardless of their construction date.

Proposed Changes in 2024

The proposed changes in SB 466 would alter California’s rental landscape by expanding rent control to apartments and single-family homes as they reach 15 years old. Also, two different rolling dates for applying local rent control ordinances were introduced based on their adoption dates. Furthermore, extending the Costa-Hawkins Act’s sunset clause from 2026 to 2036 ensures its continued operation for longer. 

These changes have significant implications for landlords and tenants, necessitating close attention to the bill’s progression and potential impact.

AB 1532 – Office-to-Housing Conversion Act

This act, enacted in 2023, presents a critical strategy for addressing California’s housing shortage. The legislation focuses on facilitating the conversion of aging and underutilized office buildings into much-needed apartments. This ambitious initiative provides a $400 million grant program to incentivize developers and property owners to undertake these conversions.

The objective of the act is to streamline the project approval process by implementing key measures: 

  1. Firstly, it confers “by-right” status to eligible conversion projects, eliminating the necessity for project-specific zoning changes and facilitating quicker approvals. 
  2. Secondly, these projects are exempted from environmental review under CEQA, reducing regulatory complexities and saving time and resources. 
  3. Lastly, the act mandates a 90-day timeline for local governments to respond to conversion applications, ensuring prompt decisions and preventing unnecessary delays. These provisions aim to remove bureaucratic obstacles and expedite the overall project approval process.

AB 2097 – Parking Requirements

In 2024, California will witness a significant shift in its approach to parking requirements with the implementation of Assembly Bill 2097 (AB 2097). This groundbreaking law eliminates minimum parking mandates for new developments located within a half-mile radius of high-quality public transit, paving the way for more transit-oriented communities.

AB 2097 aims to achieve multiple objectives by promoting development near public transit.  

  1. Firstly, it focuses on decreasing dependence on personal vehicles, making it more convenient for residents to adopt walking, biking, or public transportation for their daily commutes. This shift substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions, aiding the battle against air pollution and climate change. 
  2. Additionally, the law endeavors to promote affordable housing by eliminating unnecessary parking requirements, thereby reducing overall development costs and expanding affordable housing possibilities. 
  3. Lastly, by encouraging transit-oriented communities with mixed-use development, AB 2097 strives to create vibrant neighborhoods conducive to walking, social interaction, and increased economic activity.

SB 897 – Increased Height Limits for ADUs 

California’s housing landscape is evolving, and Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are increasingly important in providing affordable housing options. In 2024, a new law – Senate Bill 897 (SB 897) – will significantly impact the construction of ADUs by setting minimum height limits and opening the door for the potential of two-story units.

New height limits for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) include a minimum requirement of 16 feet for all detached units, ensuring sufficient space. Additionally, detached ADUs can reach up to 18 feet, ideal for areas with limited space under specific conditions. The eligibility for two-story ADUs depends on location, with units near public transit or existing multi-story multi family dwellings allowing a height of up to 20 feet, providing enhanced flexibility in design and space utilization.

AB 2011 – Housing Development on Commercially Zoned Sites

California’s AB 2011 introduces a streamlined approval process for multifamily housing projects on commercially zoned land, potentially expediting the development of much-needed affordable housing units.

AB 2011 offers a streamlined ministerial review for projects meeting specific criteria. This efficiency reduces development costs, enhancing affordable housing construction. The law, focusing on multifamily projects on commercially zoned land, expands the housing supply, particularly in land-scarce areas. 

SB 9 

Senate Bill 9 (SB 9) streamlines the approval process for converting single-family homes into duplexes and splitting lots into two separate parcels. By eliminating lengthy legal processes, SB 9 aims to increase the availability of diverse housing options, particularly in areas experiencing high housing costs and limited supply.

Under SB 9, local governments must approve duplex conversions and lot splits that meet specific criteria. To qualify, projects must comply with zoning and land use rules, have enough space for new units, follow environmental regulations, and, in some areas, include affordable housing.

SB 10

SB 10 aims to expedite housing development by exempting specific projects from environmental review under certain conditions.

This law allows the construction of up to 10 dwelling units on any parcel within designated transit-rich areas or urban infill sites. These areas are typically characterized by high-quality public transportation options and existing infrastructure, making them ideal locations for denser housing developments. 

SB 290 – SDBL Amendments

SB 290 aims to address the growing demand for student housing in California while promoting affordable housing development. The bill amends the existing State Density Bonus Law (SDBL), offering additional bonuses and concessions for projects that incorporate student housing, particularly those with a significant portion of units designated as affordable.

SB 728 

SB 728 aims to overcome some common challenges non-profit developers face, such as limited capital and difficulty competing with private developers in land acquisition.

The main feature of SB 728 is that it empowers non-profit housing organizations to use their resources to acquire density bonus units. These units represent extra housing allowances beyond the base zoning entitlement obtained by offering affordable housing. This provision enables non-profits to engage in projects led by other entities, apply their expertise in affordable housing development, and broaden their collection of affordable units without the need to acquire and develop land independently.

SB 478 – Minimum FAR/Lot Coverage Standards

SB 478 prohibits local agencies from imposing FAR limits below the specified limits for housing development projects with 3-10 units.

This law introduces minimum FAR standards to achieve three main goals:

  1. Initially, it focuses on boosting housing density by compelling local agencies to permit a minimum building space, thereby encouraging the construction of more units on available land. 
  2. Then, the bill promotes mixed-use development by allowing ground-floor commercial or community spaces within these projects, fostering vibrant and walkable communities. 
  3. Lastly, SB 478 seeks to streamline development by easing restrictive FAR regulations, to expedite the approval process for smaller housing projects.

AB 345 – ADU Separate Conveyances

AB 345 removes previous restrictions that prohibited the separate sale or conveyance of ADUs from the primary residence. Now, under specific conditions, owners can sell or convey their ADUs independently, opening up new possibilities for ownership and investment.

This law operates under specific conditions to ensure responsible and equitable implementation. Eligibility is limited to ADUs built or developed by qualified non-profit corporations. The sale of these ADUs must come with a few affordability restrictions, ensuring they remain affordable for low-income buyers. Additionally, existing tenants in the ADU retain their rights and protections under California tenant-landlord law.

SB 8 – Extending Provisions in the Housing Crisis Act 

SB 8 builds upon the Housing Crisis Act of 2019 (SB 330) by extending and strengthening its provisions to streamline the housing approval process further and limit local government overreach.

This bill streamlines the housing approval process:

  1. It enforces time limits for cities and counties, promoting efficient project advancement. The bill establishes a simplified appeal process based on objective criteria for rejected housing projects. 
  2. Additionally, local governments must conduct public hearings within set timeframes to ensure transparency and inclusivity. SB 8 prohibits downzoning of land designated for housing, preventing unnecessary development restrictions. 
  3. Moreover, the bill caps fees charged by local governments, enhancing affordability for new housing construction.

AB 1174 – Reforms to SB 35’s Streamlined Approval Process 

Assembly Bill 1174 comes into effect in 2024, introducing important reforms to SB 35’s streamlined approval system. This law specifically focuses on streamlining the process for modifying projects that have already received an SB 35 permit. 

AB 1174 seeks to simplify modification processes, reducing administrative burdens for developers and facilitating quicker adjustments to projects. Enhancing project flexibility enables adaptation to unforeseen circumstances or market changes while ensuring compliance with SB 35 requirements. This streamlined approach protects project timelines, eliminating delays and ensuring efficient completion without compromising the benefits of SB 35 approval.

AB 1398 – Accelerating By-Right Rezoning Requirement 

Under AB 1398, localities have a defined timeframe to adopt a Housing Element that aligns with California’s housing needs assessment (RHNA). This element outlines the locality’s plan for accommodating a specific number of housing units across different income levels, including affordable housing options. Failure to adopt a compliant Housing Element within the designated time frame triggers a mandatory rezoning process.

This provision ensures local governments fulfill their obligations to plan for and accommodate the state’s housing needs. By requiring the rezoning of identified inventory sites, AB 1398 facilitates the development of additional housing units, addressing the critical shortage and promoting a more balanced housing market.

AB 721 – Covenants Limiting Residential Development Rendered Unenforceable

This law handles the restrictive covenants historically hindering residential development, particularly for affordable housing projects. By rendering such covenants unenforceable against qualifying affordable housing developments, AB 721 unlocks doors to increased housing supply and greater accessibility for low-income families. 

To be eligible for this provision, the project must include at least six units, with a substantial portion designated as affordable housing to meet local requirements. For projects exceeding ten units, prevailing wages, specified apprenticeship training, and healthcare expenditures are mandatory for construction workers. Additionally, strict adherence to environmental regulations is essential to avoid significant impacts on the surrounding area.

AB 1584

This bill, taking effect in 2024, aims to unlock the potential of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) by declaring unenforceable any covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) that limit the construction of ADUs on single-family lots.

AB 1584 signifies a shift in California’s housing landscape, encouraging the development of ADUs and promoting a more efficient utilization of existing space. ADUs, commonly referred to as granny flats or in-law units, are independent, smaller housing units located on the same lot as a single-family home. 

AB 1466 – Removal of Unenforceable Discriminatory Covenants 

This crucial law aims to expedite the removal of unlawful and discriminatory covenants, also known as restrictive covenants, that have long plagued the state’s real estate landscape.

AB 1466 empowers county recorders to identify and redact these unlawful restrictions from official documents actively. This proactive approach marks a significant shift from the previous reactive process, where individuals had to file petitions to remove such covenants, often facing lengthy delays and bureaucratic hurdles.

Implementing AB 1466 in 2024 marks a significant milestone in California’s journey toward a more equitable and inclusive housing market.

AB 491 – State Law Requirement for Multifamily Developments to Integrate BMR Units 

AB 491 ensures equal access to common areas and amenities for residents of Below Market Rate (BMR) units within multifamily developments. 

This law effectively addresses this issue by mandating that all BMR units have the same access to common areas and amenities as their non-BMR counterparts. This requirement ensures that residents of all income levels can enjoy the full benefits of living in a multifamily community, regardless of their housing status.

AB 1043: Adding “Acutely Low Income” Households to Affordable Housing Law 

This legislation introduces a distinction within the “lower income household” category by defining a new subset referred to as “acutely low income” households. This additional classification focuses on addressing the specific needs and challenges individuals and families face with the most severe income variation.

AB 1043 defines “acutely low-income” households as those earning 30% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI). This criterion acknowledges the difficulties experienced by individuals falling below this threshold, often facing significant barriers to housing affordability, food security, and access to basic necessities.

AB 1095 – Equity in State and Local Programs for Affordable Homeownership Opportunities

AB 1095 focuses on affordable housing by revising and enhancing the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program (AHSC). This revision expands the program’s scope, fostering the development of affordable rental and owner-occupied housing units, addressing a broader range of housing needs within the state.

It addresses the need for affordable rental units and opens up homeownership opportunities, contributing to long-term financial stability for individuals and families. 

AB 1304 – Further Reforms to “Affirmatively Further Fair Housing” 

This law aims to strengthen the state’s commitment to affordable housing by reforming Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) requirements.

Under AB 1304, public agencies, such as cities and counties, will be legally bound to comply with AFFH requirements within their Housing Elements. It ensures all communities contribute to affordable housing development and addresses the state’s housing crisis more equitably.

AB 215 – Housing Element Revision Publication Requirements and Housing Law Violation Enforcement 

AB 215 requires local agencies to make draft revisions of their housing element, the state-mandated plan for meeting local housing needs, available for public comment. This increased transparency aims to empower residents and stakeholders to engage in the planning process ensuring the final housing element reflects community needs.

By enhancing enforcement, AB 215 seeks to hold local agencies accountable and ensure they are actively working to address local housing needs.

AB 68 – California Statewide Housing Plan Reporting Requirements.

AB 68 mandates the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) to publish an annual report detailing all land use oversight actions taken against local agencies found in violation of housing laws.

By publicly documenting instances where local agencies fail to meet their obligations, AB 68 fosters greater accountability and encourages local governments to prioritize housing production efforts. This increased transparency empowers stakeholders, including residents, advocates, and developers, to engage in productive discussions and hold local officials accountable for their actions.

AB 787 – Moderate-Income Conversions Counted Towards RHNA 

AB 787 allows jurisdictions to count the conversion of market-rate units into moderate-income units towards their Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA). This allocation represents the number of housing units each jurisdiction must plan for and zone for, ensuring a diverse and affordable housing stock. By offering credit for converted units, AB 787 incentivizes the preservation and creation of affordable housing without requiring entirely new buildings.

AB 1029 – Grants for Pro-Housing Local Policies.

The bill grants the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) the authority to add “preservation of affordable housing units” to the list of “pro-housing local policies” considered when scoring applications for various state programs. This change holds significant potential to incentivize and prioritize initiatives to maintain affordable housing availability.

By incorporating the preservation of existing affordable units into the scoring criteria for state programs, AB 1029 encourages local governments to develop and implement policies and programs that protect these vital resources.

AB 602 – Impact Fee Nexus Study Standards and Procedures 

AB 602 ensures fairness and transparency in impact fee structures, particularly for smaller, more affordable housing developments.

By promoting transparency, proportionality, and nexus studies, AB 602 ensures that impact fees are used responsibly and effectively to support infrastructure needs without restraining economic growth or hindering housing affordability.

AB 571 – Prohibition of Affordable Housing Fees on Affordable Housing Units

AB 571 directly addresses the financial hurdles associated with affordable housing development by prohibiting agencies from imposing affordable housing impact fees on units proposed as part of a Sustainable Development Bond Law (SDBL) project. 

This exemption provides developers with greater financial flexibility and incentivizes them to incorporate affordable housing within their projects. Ultimately, this creates more affordable housing units, increasing accessibility for low-income individuals and families.

SB 791 – Establishment of California Surplus Land Unit 

SB 791 establishes the California Surplus Land Unit within the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). This dedicated unit will play a critical role in facilitating residential housing development on “surplus land” owned by local governments.

By identifying and facilitating the development of this underutilized land, the bill aims to increase the availability of affordable housing units without encroaching on existing green spaces or agricultural lands.

AB 1180 – Dispositions to Tribes Exempted from Surplus Land Act Requirements 

The bill amends the definition of “exempt surplus land” to include transfers of such land to federally recognized California Native American tribes. This amendment simplifies and streamlines the land transfer process, allowing state and local government entities to transfer surplus land to eligible tribes for development and use.

It offers a significant step forward in supporting Native American communities within the state. AB 1180 expands this definition to recognize the unique needs and challenges faced by Native American communities in California. By facilitating access to surplus land, the bill empowers tribes to pursue economic development opportunities, build essential infrastructure, and strengthen their cultural heritage.

AB 1377 – University of California and California State University Student Housing Plans 

AB 1377 requires the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems to conduct comprehensive needs assessments and develop detailed student housing plans, with a particular focus on providing affordable housing options for diverse student populations.

The needs assessments will analyze existing housing stock, identify gaps in availability and affordability, and project future student housing demand. Based on this data, the UC and CSU systems must develop concrete plans to address identified needs. These plans should consider various housing models, including on-campus housing, partnerships with private developers, and innovative solutions like micro-units or co-living arrangements.

SB 591 – Intergenerational Housing Developments 

This novel legislation paves the way for the development of intergenerational housing communities. These communities aim to foster meaningful connections and mutual support between senior citizens, caregivers, and transition-age youth, creating a vibrant and enriching environment for all residents.

AB 306 – Teacher and School Staff Housing 

AB 306 marks a significant shift in earthquake safety standards for buildings housing teachers and school employees. Before this law, stricter regulations applied to such structures, often exceeding the safety requirements for standard residential buildings. This law removes these heightened standards, streamlining the construction process, potentially leading to faster development and potentially reducing costs for school districts seeking housing for their staff.

CEQA – California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) serves a vital role in protecting environmentally sensitive areas from the potential negative impacts of development. 

California is actively exploring ways to reform CEQA while preserving its environmental safeguards. Balancing these competing priorities requires careful consideration and strategic approaches. One potential solution lies in streamlining the review process for specific project types, such as affordable housing developments, while ensuring adequate environmental protection through targeted mitigation measures.

Proposition 13 (1978)

California’s Proposition 13, passed in 1978, continues to influence the state’s housing landscape in 2024 significantly. 

Proposition 13 incentivized homeowners to hold onto their properties by capping property tax increases, significantly reducing housing turnover. It resulted in a limited supply of homes for younger and newly arriving households, exacerbating the existing housing shortage throughout the state.

General Pro-Housing Movement (Since 2017)

Since 2017, California has embarked on a bold and multifaceted effort to address the critical housing affordability and availability crisis. It has resulted in the passage of over 100 pieces of landmark legislation, collectively known as the General Pro-Housing Movement.

These legislative efforts demonstrate California’s strong commitment to tackling the housing crisis and creating a more inclusive and equitable housing market. As we move into 2024, the General Pro-Housing Movement continues to evolve, with new initiatives and regulations emerging to address evolving needs and challenges. By fostering a collaborative approach involving policymakers, developers, community leaders, and residents, California strives to build a brighter future with sufficient and affordable housing for all.


As California’s housing landscape undergoes significant changes in 2024, BFPM will always be your trusted partner. Our team of experts stays up-to-date on the latest regulations and provides comprehensive guidance and support to our clients. 

Feel free to contact us at BFPM to discuss your specific needs and discover how we can help you thrive in the new California housing market.

Trevor Henson

Trevor Henson is an experienced entrepreneur (10+ highly-successful start-ups) and property investor with a demonstrated history of building and leading teams in investment property management environments, maximizing returns for property owners, and optimizing properties through construction management and re-positioning. He…
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