California Association of Realtors group goes to court to defend “granny flats”

Californians for Homeownership says city of Coronado violates ADU ordinance; opponents contend it wants to exploit loopholes to build bigger homes

ADUs, also known as granny flats, are secondary housing structures built on single-family properties. (Getty)
ADUs, also known as granny flats, are secondary housing structures built on single-family properties. (Getty)

 

A group backed by the California Association of Realtors is suing a San Diego County city over its alleged effort to hamper the development of accessory dwelling units.

Californians for Homeownership contends the city of Coronado has been privately refusing applicants who want to simultaneously build a home and an ADU, violating a local ordinance allowing such work, the Los Angeles Daily News reported. The city counters that the group is trying to exploit the law to build larger homes.

ADUs, also known as granny flats, are secondary housing structures built on single-family properties. California in 2019 legalized them, and eased restrictions on ADU structures in order to encourage development.

Some proponents, including Californians for Homeownership, say the small properties can alleviate the state’s housing shortage and are often cheaper than traditional rental properties. The nonprofit is sponsored by California Association of Realtors, one of the most powerful real estate industry groups on the West Coast.

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Janine Zuniga, an analyst with the city of Coronado, denied the allegations in the suit, and said Californians for Homeownership has no interest in affordable housing measures, the Daily News reported.

The group is “focused on helping applicants exploit perceived loopholes created by state law that would allow them to create super-sized, single-family homes that sell for a premium,” she contended.

Other parties have raised similar concerns about exploiting ADU loopholes. In 2019, the Los Angeles City Council barred residents from renting out ADUs on platforms like Airbnb — unless it was their primary residence — over concerns of abuse.

Californians for Homeownership has also threatened litigation against Irvine if the local city council there adopted an ordinance that includes ADU restrictions.

[LADN] — Dennis Lynch