Senate Bill 9 is the product of a multi-year effort to develop solutions to address California's housing crisis.

The California HOME Act

Senate Bill 9 is the product of a multi-year effort to develop solutions to address our state’s housing crisis. The Senate Housing Package of bills, ‘Building Opportunities for All,’ establishes opportunities to make real progressive and positive changes in our communities to strengthen the fabric of our neighborhoods with equity, inclusivity, and affordability.

  • Provides options for homeowners to build intergenerational wealth. SB 9 provides more options for families to maintain and build intergenerational wealth a currency we know is crucial to combatting inequity and creating social mobility. The families who own these properties could provide affordable rental opportunities for other working families who may be struggling to find a rental home in their price range, or who may be looking for their own path to home ownership.

  • Benefits homeowners NOT institutional investors. Recent amendments require a local agency to impose an owner occupancy requirement as a condition of a homeowner receiving a ministerial lot split. This bill also prohibits the development of small subdivisions and prohibits ministerial lot splits on adjacent parcels by the same individual to prevent investor speculation. In fact, allowing for more neighborhood scale housing in California’s communities actually curbs the market power of institutional investors. SB 9 prevents profiteers from evicting or displacing tenants by excluding properties where a tenant has resided in the past three years.

  • Establishes a maximum number of units. Recent amendments clarify that this bill would allow no more than four units on what is currently a single-family parcel.

  • Preserves historic neighborhoods. SB 9 excludes historic and landmark districts.

  • Respects local control. Homeowners must comply with local zoning requirements when developing a duplex (height, floor area ratios, lot coverage etc.) as long as they do not physically preclude a lot split or duplex. This bill also allows locals to require a percolation test for any duplex proposed to be on septic tanks.

  • Promotes strategic infill growth. Under this bill, the parcel must be located in a jurisdiction that is part of an urbanized area or urban cluster, as designated by the US Census. This means that it applies only to areas that meet certain population and density thresholds. It excludes the provisions of the bill being used in very high fire hazard severity zones, prime agriculture land, hazardous waste sites, earthquake zones, floodplains that do not have adequate mitigation, and others. At the end of the day, if local governments do not allow people to build homes in an area, then the bill does not apply.
     

What this bill does: Senate Bill 9 – the California Housing Opportunity and More Efficiency (HOME) Act streamlines the process for a homeowner to create a duplex or subdivide an existing lot. Any new housing created as a result of this bill must meet a specific list of qualifications that protects historic districts, preserves environmental quality and the look of communities, and prevents tenants from being displaced. This legislation will enable homeowners to create intergenerational wealth, and provide access to more rental and ownership options for working families who would otherwise be priced out of neighborhoods.

What’s different from last year: We took what was a good bill – which had widespread support in both the Senate and Assembly at the end of last year and on track to pass before it fell victim to the clock – and improved upon it since reintroducing it as SB 9 this year. We listened to concerns from homeowners, municipalities, and other stakeholders, and have incorporated many amendments make the bill stronger, more clear, and address those concerns. Because of all the variables that make a neighborhood what it is – size of lots, local ordinances, desire of homeowners to even use this option – not everyone will choose to do a lot split or turn their home into a duplex, just like not everyone added an ADU when that good law was enacted.

 

Myths vs. Facts

What this bill does: Senate Bill 9 – the California Housing Opportunity and More Efficiency (HOME) Act streamlines the process for a homeowner to create a duplex or subdivide an existing lot. To be eligible for the streamlining provided by this bill, a parcel must meet a specific list of qualifications that protects historic districts, preserves the environmental quality and the look of communities, and prevents tenants from being displaced. This legislation will enable homeowners to create intergenerational wealth, and provide access to more rental and ownership options for working families who would otherwise be priced out of neighborhoods.

What’s different from last year: We took what was a good bill – which had widespread support in both the Senate and Assembly at the end of last year and on track to pass before it fell victim to the clock – and improved upon it since reintroducing it as SB 9 this year. We listened to concerns from homeowners, municipalities, and other stakeholders, and have incorporated many amendments to make the bill stronger, more clear, and address those concerns.

 

Myth: My neighbors are going to be able to build 5 or 6-units next door to my single-family home.

Fact: SB 9 would allow no more than four units on what is currently a single-family parcel. This bill encourages neighborhood scale homes – meaning modifications to a property need to be in keeping with the look of the neighborhood.

 

Myth:This is going to ruin the look of our neighborhood.

Fact:In many communities across California – including in San Diego – there are beautiful duplexes and triplexes next door to traditional single-family homes. Look at Linda Vista, Hillcrest, North Park – these are communities central to the city and job centers that are coveted places to live. In fact, many are beautiful and well-kept, providing not only a bright spot on the street, but a comfortable place for not just one but two households to call home.

 

Myth: This bill won’t help expand housing options that are more affordable and help real people.

Fact: The HOME Act builds intergenerational wealth. For homeowners, it provides more options to maintain and build intergenerational wealth – a currency we know is crucial to combatting inequity and creating social mobility. There is no silver bullet to solving the housing crisis that has been decades in the making. SB 9 is one modest tool in the toolbox. This bill allows for more types of housing to create more equitable and inclusive neighborhoods.

 

Myth: This is a land grab by institutional investors looking to ruin our neighborhoods.

Fact: This bill benefits homeowners, and homeowners alone. SB 9 contains an owner occupancy requirement, which requires a homeowner to live in one of the units for three years from the time they get approval for a lot split. Additionally, this bill prohibits the development of small subdivisions and prohibits ministerial lot splits on adjacent parcels by the same individual to prevent investor speculation. In fact, allowing for more neighborhood scale housing in California’s communities actually curbs the market power of institutional investors. SB 9 also prevents profiteers from evicting or displacing tenants by excluding properties where a tenant has resided in the past three years.

 

Myth: This bill will destroy historic neighborhoods.

Fact: SB 9 excludes historic and landmark districts.

 

Myth: This will change local control of land use decisions.

Fact: Homeowners must comply with local zoning requirements when developing a duplex (height, floor area ratios, lot coverage, etc.) as long as they do not physically preclude a duplex. This bill also allows locals to require a percolation test for any duplex proposed to be on septic tanks.

 

Myth: Under SB 9, a lot split requires a single family home to be demolished.

Fact: This bill provides options for homeowners and does NOT require any demolition. SB 9 contains strong tenant protections to ensure rental housing is not demolished. A recent study shows that the additional housing options provided by SB 9 actually decreases the likelihood of a single family home being torn down and replaced by a larger single family home. Additionally, nearly 97% of all single-family homes would be retained under SB 9. This bill is one way to help solve the state’s housing production crisis. SB 9 provides more pathways to homeownership and expands access to the California dream.

 

Myth: This bill does not take into consideration environmental and infrastructure concerns.

Fact: Under this bill, the parcel must be located in a jurisdiction that is part of an urbanized area or urban cluster, as designated by the US Census. This means that it applies only to areas that meet certain population and density thresholds. It excludes very high fire hazard severity zones, prime agriculture land, hazardous waste sites, earthquake zones, floodplains that do not have adequate mitigation, and others. At the end of the day, if local governments do not allow people to build homes in an area, then the bill does not apply. Additionally, SB 9 does NOT make any changes to existing law, which specifies a local agency’s ability to impose impact fees.

 

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SB9 Supporters

AARP • Abundant Housing LA • ADU Task Force East Bay • All Home • American Planning Association, California Chapter • Bay Area Council • Bridge Housing Corporation • Cal Asian Chamber of Commerce • California Apartment Association • California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce (CAPCC) • California Building Industry Association • California Chamber of Commerce • California Community Economic Development Association (CCEDA) • California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce • California YIMBY • Casita Coalition • Chan Zuckerberg Initiative • Circulate San Diego • City of Alameda • City of Oakland • City of San Diego • Clear Advocacy • Council Member Jon Wizard, City of Seaside • Council Member Zach Hilton, City of Gilroy • Council of Infill Builders • County of Monterey • East Bay for Everyone • Eden Housing • Facebook • Facebook, INC. • Fathers and Families of San Joaquin • Fieldstead and Company, INC. • Generation Housing • Greenbelt Alliance • Habitat for Humanity California • Hello Housing • Hollywood Chamber of Commerce • Housing Action Coalition • Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce • InnerCity Struggle • League of Women Voters of California • LISC San Diego • Livable Sunnyvale • Local Government Commission • Long Beach Yimby • Los Angeles Business Council • Midpen Housing Corporation • Modular Building Institute • Monterey; County of • Mountain View Yimby • National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) • Non-profit Housing Association of Northern California • North Bay Leadership Council • Northern Neighbors • Office of Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg • Orange County Business Council • Palo Alto Forward • Peninsula for Everyone • People for Housing - Orange County • Pierre Charles General Construction • Plus Home Housing Solutions • Regional Economic Association Leaders (REAL) Coalition • San Diego Housing Commission • San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce • San Fernando Valley YIMBY • San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Research Association • San Francisco YIMBY • Sand Hill Property Company • Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee • Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee • Santa Cruz YIMBY • Schneider Electric • Share Sonoma County • Silicon Valley Leadership Group • South Bay Cities Council of Governments • South Bay YIMBY • South Pasadena Residents for Responsible Growth • Streets for People Bay Area • Sv@home • Techequity Collaborative • Tent Makers • Terner Center for Housing Innovation At the University of California, Berkeley • The Casita Coalition • The Central Valley Urban Institute • The Two Hundred • Tmg Partners • United Way of Greater Los Angeles • Urban Environmentalists • Yimby Action • YIMBY Democrats of San Diego County • Zillow Group

 

 

 

What others are saying

“Editorial: To save California, sacrifice single-family zoning”

Written by the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board

 

"California must fix its housing crisis with increased density and duplexes"

Op-ed Written By Senate pro Tempore, Toni G. Atkins

 

"As San Diego’s mayor, I urge you support Senate Bill 9 to ease California’s housing crisis"

Op-ed Written by San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria

 

"California's housing crisis is getting worse. So is anti-housing denialism"

Chronicle Editorial Board

 

"Housing reform bill would right some of redlining’s wrongs"

Op-Ed written by Eric Payne, executive director of the Central Valley Urban Institute and chair of the Fresno Anti-Displacement Task Force

 

"Long Beach Press-Telegram news organization information and history"

Op-ed Written by Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach)

 

"Community Character’ Concerns Are a Veil – a Thin One"

Op-ed Written by Al Abdallah, COO of the Urban League of San Diego County

 

“Will Senate Bill 9 change your California neighborhood? Probably not in the way you think”

Op-ed written by David Garcia, policy director at the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley

 

“State Legislature’s Modest Efforts to Permit Increased Density in Residential Neighborhoods are Necessary Steps Toward Ending the State’s Housing Crisis”

Op-ed written by Kenneth Stahl, Professor of Law and Director of the Environmental, Land Use and Real Estate Law Program at Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law in Orange

 

“Housing bills would help address California’s wealth inequality”

Op-ed Written by Adam Briones, CEO of California Community Builders, and Robert Apodaca, founder of ZeZen Advisors and California Community Builders boardmember

 


Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco)

“SB 9 will play an important role in ending exclusionary zoning, which prevents California from building the housing we need — affordable to working people and families of all income levels — to end our housing shortage. We cannot end our housing crisis unless we build more housing. SB 9 is a common sense bill that will make California more affordable and provide more housing options for everyone.”


Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley)

“Duplexes and other small multi-family homes were once the norm throughout California until cities began adopting exclusionary zoning. SB 9 will allow California to turn the page on our history of exclusion. Plus, legalizing duplexes will bring us much-needed housing.”


Senator Anna Caballero (D-Salinas)

“As a proud joint author of SB 9, I applaud Senate pro Tempore Atkins for her leadership to promote gentle density increases in our communities. Since the implementation of recent law that makes it easier to build accessory dwelling units, we’ve seen a significant increase in new, small-scale housing that provides important access to new homeownership opportunities. SB 9 makes it easier for communities to add more naturally occurring affordable housing to their neighborhoods, creates new investment opportunities for property owners, and most importantly, helps to address California’s colossal housing crisis.”


Senator Susan Rubio (D-Los Angeles)

"Senate Bill 9, by Senate pro Tem Toni Atkins, was proposed after years of discussion on the best way forward to create more affordable housing, bringing everyone to the table in thoughtful engagement. It will spur housing production by unlocking underutilized land. The financial uncertainty that many families have been facing even before COVID-19 highlights the need for us to act now to build more housing – especially affordable housing – in California.”


Nathan Fletcher, Chair, County of San Diego Board of Supervisors

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of having a safe place to call home. But in the midst of escalating housing costs and a severe housing shortage, it continues to be difficult for Californians to find a place to live. I am supportive of legislation like SB9 (Atkins), the California HOME Act, which provides an important tool to create much-needed housing, encouraging smart growth within urban areas and close to existing services and transportation, providing Californians with homes and helping us to reach our climate change goals.”


County of San Diego Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer

“Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins continues to lead our state in addressing the housing crisis. SB 9 allows California to take necessary steps to remedy our state’s deepening crisis of housing access. The bill strikes a difficult balance between the needs of tenants, current homeowners, aspiring homeowners, preservation of communities, and protecting our environment and quality of life.”


San Diego City Councilmember Raul A. Campillo

“We are in a housing crisis, and we need to take bold and immediate action to bring more units to market as quickly as possible, which SB 9 will accomplish. I applaud Senate President Pro Tem Atkins for crafting legislation that will benefit homeowners, help millions of Californians build intergenerational wealth, and that encourages building of middle-income housing near jobs and transit.”


Nancy McPherson, State Director of AARP California

“AARP strongly supports SB 9 – The California Housing Opportunity & More Efficiency (HOME) Act that will make accessory dwelling units (ADUs) easier to build and expand options for homeowners who wish to be part of the solution in solving the state’s housing crisis. Bi-partisan support for SB 9 will provide Californians with additional housing choices, greater economic security and the opportunity to age in place.”


Ricardo Flores, Executive Director of LISC San Diego

“We strongly support SB 9 (Atkins), which will enhance property rights, while at the same time widen opportunities for Black and Brown families to own or rent in neighborhoods they may have previously been priced out of, increasing equity and inclusivity. Most importantly, SB 9 begins the process of truly ending the structural racism inherent within our zoning laws, which has continued to segregate our communities throughout California.”


Eric Phillips, Vice President of Policy and Legislation American Planning Association, California Chapter

“APA California is proud to support SB 9. As California continues to face an overwhelming housing crisis, we must remove artificial barriers to creating homes. SB 9 would help create a more equitable and inclusive California for all by increasing housing opportunities in existing neighborhoods while allowing planners to facilitate context-sensitive development. We appreciate Senate Pro Tem Atkins’ leadership on this important issue.”


League of Women Voters of California

“We urgently need SB 9 to increase affordable housing supply in high-opportunity neighborhoods. Too many Californians – especially first-time homebuyers, low- and middle-income workers, and people of color – are locked out of the housing market because of exclusionary zoning that favors high-income households. SB 9 will empower local communities to build more middle-income housing and make the dream of homeownership a reality for more Californians.”

 

 

SB 9: The California HOME Act

Can you pick out the single family homes and duplexes? Hover over the images to see if you guessed correctly

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Duplex, Mill Valley

 

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Duplex, San Jose

 

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Single Family Home,
Temecula City

 

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Duplex, San Jose

 

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Duplex, Mountain View

 

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Single Family Home,
San Francisco

 

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Duplex, Los Angeles

 

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Duplex, Los Angeles

 

Media