Make room for daddy

Accessory dwelling units, aka granny flats, now legal

Lynnette Shifman

Lynnette Shifman

My clients want a property that is large enough to build a granny flat for their parents, who need part-time assistance yet still want their independence.

Ventura County had not permitted accessory dwelling units, also known as granny flats or mother-in-law apartments, in the past, but Senate Bill 1069 has now forced local governments to allow them.

These separate dwelling units can be created by transforming space in an existing residence, converting a garage, constructing an attachment or building a stand-alone structure.

The state law prevents local governments from requiring onerous parking requirements for their use. Under state regulations, the dwellings don’t have to be approved by a planning commission or City Council. The plans must receive an over-the-counter review by a planning department.

However, cities and counties can regulate the construction of the accessory dwelling units by size, setbacks from the street and exterior design to reflect local standards.

“We make sure building and safety requirements are met and the structure is compatible with the neighborhood,” said Marjan Behzadi, Thousand Oaks’ permit process manager.

Fees for an accessory dwelling unit of 600 square feet using existing water and wastewater connections would be approximately $13,190. For new utility connections, the total fee would be about $26,325, according to a 2017 report by Mark Towne, community development director.

An accessory dwelling unit must contain a bathroom, kitchen and sleeping quarters, and be no larger than 600 square feet. No more than two bedrooms are allowed.

The owner must live in one of the units. The home cannot be sold separately, and the minimum rental is for 30 consecutive days.

My clients are considering a modular unit to be delivered and set up. The price for a 600-square-foot modular unit is about $150,000, not including the expense of land, taxes, permits, utilities and exterior enhancements, such as landscaping, porches and driveways.

They estimate the total cost for their granny flat to be roughly $200,000.

Accessory dwelling units may be one small answer to our housing crisis, and a solution for children helping their aging parents.

Courtesy of Lynnette Shifman, a Dilbeck agent, who has worked as a Realtor for over 33 years and an educator for over 40 years.