Press Release

CA Senate Greenlights Sen. Skinner’s Housing Bills

The California Senate today approved two housing bills by state Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, that are designed to make it easier to build more housing, especially ADUs, in the state.

Sen. Skinner’s two housing bills are:

  • SB 1211, which would open the door for more accessory dwelling units (ADUs), also known as second units or backyard cottages, on properties with multifamily housing.
  • SB 1210, which would bring much-needed transparency to costly hook-up fees charged for water, sewer, electrical, and gas service that most new housing units, including ADUs, require. The cost of such fees are now often hidden or difficult to obtain in advance, making it difficult for home owners or others developing residential units to plan appropriately for the expected costs related to their new housing unit.

“ADUs are the fastest-growing sector of California’s housing market. They are easier and cheaper to build, and recent state laws have streamlined their permitting,” said Sen. Skinner, who is chair of the Senate Housing Committee. “SB 1211 will allow more ADUs to be built on multi-family properties that already have apartments, condos, or townhomes. SB 1210 also supports those who want to build ADUs, or any other type of housing, by ensuring that we can know upfront how much we have to pay for utility hook-up fees.”  

A decade ago, California was permitting only about 800 ADUs per year. Now, thanks to a series of new laws designed to jumpstart the state’s ADU market, the state is building about 25,000 new ADUs each year.

Under the bill, the number of detached ADUs allowed to be built on properties with apartments, condos, or townhouses would quadruple, from two to eight.

In addition, if a property owner decides to replace a carport or driveway with an ADU, they would not be required to replace that parking.

SB 1210, meanwhile, is a transparency measure that would require utilities to post on their websites the fees they charge for hook-ups on ADUs and all other housing types. SB 1210 would also require utilities to post estimated timeframes for completing typical service connections needed for each housing type.

The Senate approved SB 1210 on a vote of 33-5, while SB 1211 won approval a 29-8 vote. Both bills now head to the state Assembly.


Sen. Nancy Skinner represents the 9th Senate District and is chair of the Senate Housing Committee and the California Legislative Women’s Caucus.