California’s Accessory Dwelling Unit Law: What Is It All About?

The state of California has passed six bills. This makes it easier for homeowners to construct accessory dwelling units on their property. Here’s what you need to know about the Accessory Dwelling Unit law in California.


Why Is There a Need for California’s Accessory Dwelling Unit Law?

What is an ADU? Before tacking California’s new laws, here is a brief introduction to accessory dwelling units.

Accessory Dwelling Unit Definition

An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a detached residential structure built on the same lot as a single-family home. Also known as granny units or backyard cottages, ADUs come equipped with living facilities such as kitchens and bathrooms.

There are also additional types of ADUs:

  • Attached: The ADU comes attached to the primary structure such as an apartment over the garage.
  • Converted: It is existing space on the primary structure. For instance, the basement or a storage area is converted into an independent living space.
  • Junior ADU: An existing space within the primary structure, such as a bedroom, is converted into an independent living space.

Accessory dwelling units have been very popular among homeowners. They have many benefits including an additional source of income for homeowners, higher property values, independent living spaces for family or friends of homeowners, and affordable housing for low-income families. However, building ADUs is not always easy. Many cities and counties have local ordinances that place financial and structural restrictions on ADUs.

To address the housing crisis in the more populated areas of California, Governor Gavin Newsom has passed six ADU bills into law. The new California ADU laws, which took effect on January 1, 2020, remove most of the restrictions that made it difficult for homeowners to build ADUs.


What Is California’s Accessory Dwelling Unit Law All About?

Here is a summary of the recent changes to California’s ADU law.


Assembly Bill 68, Assembly Bill 881, and Senate Bill 13

  • Local agencies cannot impose minimum requirements for accessory dwelling unit floor plans, lot coverage, and open spaces.
  • Local agencies can establish a maximum size for ADUs but it cannot be less than 850 square feet for a one-bedroom and 1,000 square feet for more than one bedroom.
  • They have streamlined the approval process so that instead of 120 days, local agencies will have to approve or deny applications within 60 days.
  • ADUs that are smaller than 750 square feet are exempt from impact fees. Local agencies may charge an impact fee for larger ADUs but it should be proportional to the size of the primary structure.
  • It is no longer required to have off-street parking spaces if you convert the garage or carport into an ADU.
  • The owner-occupancy requirement, which stated that homeowners must occupy the primary structure or ADU, cannot be imposed until January 1, 2025.


Assembly Bill 587 and Assembly Bill 671

  • Local agencies can adopt an ordinance that allows the separate sale of ADUs from the primary structure. For this ordinance to take place, a qualified non-profit organization must build the primary structure and ADU as low-income housing.
  • Local agencies must create a plan that incentivizes and promotes the construction of ADUs. The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) will develop a list of financial grants and incentives to promote affordable ADUs.


California HOA Laws Regarding ADUs

dwelling accessory unitThe new accessory dwelling unit California laws also includes a stipulation for HOA communities. Assembly Bill 670 voids any restrictions that an HOA may have in its governing documents that prohibit the construction or use of ADUs on single-family homes. Thus, it is now easier for homeowners to create HOA granny units or secondary dwelling units on their property

HOAs also can’t enforce restrictions that unreasonably restrict the construction of ADUs — such as high construction costs. However, there are no guidelines on what restrictions are considered “reasonable.” As such, HOAs could still implement requirements related to the size and design of ADUs, the architectural application process, and the use of communal facilities.


Does California’s Accessory Dwelling Unit Law Apply to My State?

The new changes to the ADU law are only applicable to California. However, many other states have their own ordinances when it comes to ADUs. This includes Oregon, Colorado, Minnesota, Utah, and Tennessee. It’s important for HOAs to consult their local governments to see whether there are new ordinances regarding the construction of ADUs.


The Purpose of California’s Accessory Dwelling Unit Law

The main purpose of California’s new ADU laws is to address the housing crisis in many parts of the state. However, constructing ADUs can be very beneficial for homeowners. By renting their ADUs to low- and moderate-income families, homeowners can also create an additional stream of income. This can offset some of the costs of owning a home, which can be crucial during times of economic downturn or a pandemic. Take time to read through California’s accessory dwelling unit laws to determine if an ADU is the right move for you.

If you have additional questions regarding ADUs and other HOA laws, feel free to reach out to the Cedar Management Group today! Call us at (704) 644-8808 or email us at to learn how we can better serve your community.




The Differences in Owning a Condominium and a Single-Family Home

There are significant real estate legal differences between owning the typical single-family home and owning a condominium. They aren’t necessarily negative or positive for the owner, but a buyer in the market for housing should understand these differences. This way they can decide which type of home best fits their lifestyle and needs.

What Comes With Owning a Condominium?

First, a basic definition of a condominium: A condominium is a dwelling that’s part of a group of housing units. Each homeowner owns their individual space and a share of common areas in the condominium project.

1. There is no land ownership with the unit.

Though units may share walls, it isn’t always the case. However, the homeowner owns only the structure, not any land beneath it. The land in the project is owned in common by all the homeowners.

2. Casualty and liability insurance are separated.

The homeowner insures the interior of their unit, walls, furnishings, and personal possessions. The condominium association insures the exterior of the structures, roofs, and common areas. This insurance is paid for through condominium association dues.

3. Maintenance is separately controlled as well.

The homeowner maintains the interior of their unit, while the association maintains all the exteriors and all common areas. The association maintains landscaping, parking areas, pools, activity buildings, etc. This maintenance is also paid for from homeowner dues to the association which is often managed or overseen by an association management company.

4. All common fees paid through dues assessments.

Taxes, insurance, maintenance, repairs, some utilities, and any other common area related costs are paid from monthly or quarterly dues paid by homeowners.

5. Dues and other common decisions decided by vote.

Each owner has one vote as a member of the association. When major repairs require unusual expenses, there can be a vote for an extra one-time assessment. Also, due to inflation, regular votes are required to increase dues to cover costs.

6. Owners subject to association rules for their units.

All exterior modifications or enhancements are subject to strict rules, as the association wants to maintain all exterior design and finishes the same for all units. Some interior modifications may also be prohibited by the rules. This is justified by the common interest in maintaining value in the marketplace. So, strange color schemes or moving walls can be against the rules. For those who are interested in maximizing their ROI by renting out their unit, there might even be specific rules against this or at least a percentage of how many association units can be rented out at a given time.

The Pros and Cons of Owning a Condo

The Differences in Owning a Condominium and a Single-Family HomeThe pros of condominium ownership:

  • The owner is relieved of all exterior maintenance, including landscaping.
  • Owners who couldn’t otherwise afford amenities like pools or hot tubs can use common facilities.
  • Homeowners who value a community atmosphere often enjoy the common area meetup aspects of the condominium project.
  • The nature of construction can make a condo a lower investment per square foot than a single-family home.

The cons of condominium ownership:

  • There are rules, and the creative individual can be frustrated when they can’t do things to decorate or modify their home.
  • Though each owner has a vote in the association, the majority rules. At times, onerous fees or dues pass against the wishes of several owners.
  • The dues are required, and the association can place a lien on the unit for back dues.

All considered, whether to buy a home or a condo is very much a personal decision. Now that the differences are clear, that decision should be an easier one to make.

Get in touch with us today if you have any questions or If you are looking to become a featured HOA property management company or HOA vendor on our site.

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Should HOAs Close Community Pools During COVID-19?

HOAs are now implementing measures that will lessen or prevent the transmission of the coronavirus in their communities. One common question that many HOA boards face is whether to close community pools during COVID-19. Before you decide, here are important things to consider.

Community Pools During COVID-19: Should You Close Them or Not?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can be spread through the use of recreational waters — such as swimming pools in HOA communities.

Chlorine, bromine, and other chemicals used to clean and disinfect pools can deactivate the coronavirus. This means that you are not likely to catch the coronavirus from swimming in the community pool.

However, outside the water, there is still a chance that you could catch the coronavirus from other people or to a lesser extent, from touching surfaces in the community pool area. As a result, many HOAs decided to close community pools during the start of the coronavirus pandemic as a precautionary measure.

As communities are starting to reopen, the CDC has released a new set of guidelines for public aquatic venues, which can be useful for HOA board members during COVID-19. Combined with social distancing and healthy hygiene practices, these guidelines can significantly reduce the potential risk of COVID-19 transmission in your community pool area.


Important Guidelines for Keeping Community Pools Open During Coronavirus

If you’re planning to open community pools during COVID-19, HOAs must implement safety measures that will protect their community members.

Here are important guidelines to consider:

1. Following Social Distancing Rules

social distancing | close community poolsIt will be hard for homeowners to follow social distancing rules if your community pool area is crowded. The HOA can encourage social distancing by limiting the number of people who can access the swimming pool at any given time. You can set up an online reservation system or a sign-up sheet for specific time blocks so that all homeowners have a chance to use the community pool. It would also be best to have someone patrol the area so that everyone follows the social distancing rules.

2. Adjust Pool Furniture

Another way to encourage social distancing is to make sure that the lounge chairs, picnic tables, and other furniture in your community pool area are six to 10 feet apart.

3. Use Cloth Face Coverings

The CDC does not recommend wearing cloth face masks while in the water. However, when outside the swimming pool, guests should wear their face masks to reduce the potential risk of coronavirus transmission. Wearing of face masks must be strictly enforced if it is difficult to maintain social distancing in your community pool area.  

4. Install Sanitation Stations

Install sanitation stations near high-touch areas such as the light switches, door handles, and elevator buttons. Make sure that the restrooms and shower areas have an adequate supply of hand soap and paper towels. The HOA can also place hand sanitizers (with at least 60% alcohol) and disinfectant wipes in different areas around the swimming pool so that guests can easily clean and disinfect their surroundings.

5. Place Signs and Visual Cues that Promote Safe Behaviors

HOAs should place signs in the swimming pool area to remind homeowners to practice safe behaviors. You can have a list of rules outside so that everyone can read them before entering the swimming pool. If you have a PA system, the HOA can make regular announcements over the air. In high-traffic areas such as the shower room, place visual cues to encourage social distancing. You can place protection tape on the floor to keep homeowners at a safe distance while waiting for their turn.

6. Clean and Disinfect the Community Pool Area

The community pool area should be regularly cleaned and disinfected, but due to the coronavirus, pool maintenance must be done more frequently and thoroughly. Contact your maintenance company to ensure they are using EPA- approved products for cleaning and disinfecting your community pool area.

Make sure to target high-touch surfaces such as handrails, door handles, tabletops, lounge chairs, handwashing stations, diaper-changing stations, and showers. Cleaning and disinfecting the pool area should be done daily at the very least. If you have shared items such as kickboards and pool noodles, they should be cleaned in between each use.

7. Educate Community Members About COVID-19 Guidelines

educate | close community pools

HOA board members must work together with the homeowners during these uncertain times. By educating them about the community’s COVID-19 guidelines, you will be able to make common areas such as the swimming pool safer for everyone. Remind them to stay at home if they are feeling sick, have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or belong to a high-risk group.  


Can HOA Board Members Get Into Trouble for Opening Community Pools During COVID-19?

HOA board members should consult their governing documents before deciding to open or close community pools during COVID-19. Your governing documents will have provisions on how to handle emergencies or crises. In such cases, the board may be granted emergency powers. They can enact certain policies such as closing community pools and other communal areas.

If the HOA is planning to reopen community pools, board members should first consult HOA management and local health officials. The HOA management company can help board members with creating and enforcing safety guidelines for the community. Meanwhile, local health officials can give the go signal whether it is safe to reopen community pools. This step is important if your HOA is in an area with a high number of confirmed coronavirus cases.

If the HOA board makes an informed decision — one that prioritizes the safety of the community — they should not get into trouble for opening the community pool area during COVID-19. If you need further guidance, consult an HOA attorney to ensure the community’s safety guidelines are compliant with the law.

Regardless of your decision, make sure to communicate with your homeowners. The coronavirus pandemic has put us all in uncharted waters so the simple act of talking to residents can help. If homeowners want the pool open, make sure they understand their personal responsibility in ensuring their health during this pandemic.


What to Do With Community Pools During COVID-19

Ultimately, the decision to keep community pools open or closed during COVID-19 is up to you. What’s important is that HOA boards educate themselves about this issue. They should consider all possible scenarios, and then make a decision based on their resources and capabilities.

Each community member is responsible for his/her own health. But, that doesn’t mean that HOAs cannot implement measures that will protect their community during COVID-19.



Everything You Need To Know About Making And Wearing Face Masks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends the use of face masks in public to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, in the United States. HOAs should take note of these guidelines to further prevent coronavirus transmission in their communities. Here’s everything you need to know about making and wearing face masks.

In this article:


The Importance of Wearing Face Masks

According to the CDC, everyone should wear cloth face coverings or face masks when going out of their homes. New studies have shown that people who are asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic can transmit the coronavirus.

About 25% of people who have the coronavirus do not exhibit symptoms such as coughing or sneezing so it’s possible that they don’t even know that they are positive for COVID-19. This means that even you or the person beside you could be an asymptomatic carrier.

For your protection and the protection of others, it’s important to wear face masks in public settings or when interacting with people in close proximity.

Take note, though, that the CDC does not recommend the use of surgical face masks or N-95 respirators if you are not a healthcare professional. These are personal protective equipment (PPE) that is in critical supply so they should be set aside for healthcare workers and medical first responders.


When to Use Face Masks?

Face masks should be worn in all public settings, especially in areas where 6-feet social distancing is difficult to maintain and in areas where there has been a significant community-based transmission of COVID-19.

This means wearing a simple cloth or homemade face mask when going to the grocery, pharmacy, or other public places.

All essential non-medical workers should also be wearing face masks. This is already a mandate in several cities such as New York City and Los Angeles.


Who Should Not Wear Face Masks?

There are some exceptions as to who should be wearing face masks. This includes children under the age of 2, individuals who have difficulty breathing, and people who are incapacitated or unconscious.

Generally, those who are wearing face masks should be able to remove them without needing assistance.


How to Make a DIY Face Mask

Given the shelter-in-place order, as well as the scarcity of medical-grade face masks, there is no need to leave your home to purchase face masks. You can easily create a face mask using materials that you already have at home.

For instance, a bandana face mask or a t-shirt face mask already provides adequate protection from COVID-19.

It has been established that though coronavirus particles are very tiny, they are commonly transmitted when stuck to water or mucus droplets that are released when someone with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes, or talks.

These droplets are much larger, and homemade masks are enough to block them. So, wearing a face mask made of cotton or flannel can prevent asymptomatic carriers from spreading the virus, or non-infected individuals from catching COVID-19.

tshirt face covering v2 | how to wear mask

How to Sew Face Masks

Here’s what you need to know when creating a DIY cloth face mask.

Materials You Will Need:

  • Cotton Fabric (Quilted Fabric or Flannel as Alternatives)
  • Elastic (Rubber Bands, Hair Ties, or String as Alternatives)
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Machine


  1. Cut two pieces of rectangles from your cotton fabric. They should measure 10 inches by 6 inches.
  2. Place the fabric on top of each other. This will create a double layer for your face mask.
  3. Form a 1/4-inch fold on the top and bottom of the fabric. Sew or hem the fabric.
  4. Make a 1/2-inch fold on the sides of the fabric. Sew or hem the sides.
  5. Cut two pieces of elastic or string. It should be around 6-inches long and 1/8-inch wide.
  6. Attach a needle or safety pin on one end of the elastic. Thread elastics through each side of the face mask.
  7. Create a knot to keep the elastic in place. Tuck the knot inside the hem.
  8. Gather the sides of the face mask. Place a mask on your face. Make sure that the mask covers your face and the elastic is tight enough that the mask doesn’t fall down.
  9. Make adjustments if necessary.


DIY T-Shirt Mask

If you do not have a sewing machine, or cannot hand-sew, you can still create your own face mask. Here’s how to make a t-shirt face mask:


  • T-shirt
  • Scissors
  • Strings


  1. Cut the bottom end of a t-shirt. It should be about 7-8 inches in height.
  2. Place t-shirt fabric on a flat surface. Measure about 6-7 inches on one side of the fabric.
  3. Cut the fabric. These long, thin parts will serve as the strings of your face mask.
  4. Cut the thin ends of the fabric.
  5. Wear the t-shirt face mask and tie the strings over the top of your head and around your neck.


How to Make a Bandana Face Mask

The Surgeon General also has a guide on how you can create a bandana face mask without any sewing. Check out the video below:

When creating a bandana face mask, make sure the fabric you are using is thick enough. Also, the bandana face mask should fit snugly on your face and shouldn’t be falling down.


How to Wear Face Masks

Simply having a face mask isn’t enough; you should also know how to wear masks properly. Here are some important guidelines on how to use a face mask.

  • Cloth masks should fit comfortably on your face. It should cover both your nose and mouth.
  • A face mask should have at least two layers of fabric for adequate protection.
  • The face mask should be secured on your ears with elastic or ties.
  • You should be able to breathe comfortably while wearing the face mask.
  • When removing the face mask, make sure not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Wash your hands after removing the face mask.
  • The face mask should be washed regularly. Ideally, it should be laundered after being used in public. Putting it in the washing machine will suffice.


Is Wearing a Face Mask Enough?

It’s important to remember that a face mask alone isn’t enough to protect you from COVID-19. You should still follow other safety guidelines such as washing your hands often and observing social distancing.

Similarly, just because you are wearing a face mask doesn’t mean that you can start going out in public again. The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to limit your potential exposure to the virus.

Thus, staying home is still the best preventive measure.


Wearing Face Masks Can Protect You, Your Family, and Your Community

Given the devastating effects of COVID-19, it is our social and moral responsibility to not only protect ourselves but also those around us.

While we still have so much to learn about the novel coronavirus, we do know that wearing face masks can prevent asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic carriers from transmitting the disease. It also reduces our chances of catching COVID-19 when out in public.

So, by now, you know the importance of wearing face masks and how to make one for yourself. You can even take social responsibility to the next level by making extra face masks for the members of your community.