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California SB9 Explained: Key Benefits and Requirements

Senate Bill 9 is an essential step in dealing with the housing crisis in California. Legislators spent many years engaging with experts, stakeholders, and community members to develop solutions to improve access to affordable and secure housing options for all citizens. The bill addresses multiple issues identified as contributors to the lack of affordable housing, offering positive outcomes for our state. It is a significant milestone as we work towards ensuring equitable housing opportunities for everyone. Read the article to learn more about SB9 in California, how it works, and its benefits for home buyers.

California SB9 law meaning

California is struggling to create enough affordable housing to combat the ever-increasing rental burden and displacement of people uprooted from their homes. Particularly impacted are urban areas like Los Angeles, where new high-end apartment complexes, condos, and other housing developments have caused tenured tenants to be priced out of the market. On September 16, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 9, known as the HOME Act, in an effort to provide relief to struggling homeowners in the state. 

Senate Bill 9 is a landmark law that makes it easier to turn single-family homes into denser housing. 

How does it work? Homeowners may now split their lot into two and build up to two new housing units on each, allowing them to build multiple residences within the same zoning ordinance. 

This forward-thinking measure helps homeowners increase their income potential and become more financially secure. It also removes barriers for those looking for multifamily residential opportunities in California, enabling them to make their dream home a reality without having to go through arbitrary zoning obstacles. 

By implementing this new legislation, mortgage providers, investors, and home builders may expand their portfolios and offer Californians more options for safe, comfortable, and affordable housing solutions.

California SB9 benefits for the home buyers

The introduction of SB 9 in California brings lots of benefits for property owners. 

The ability to finance SB9 duplexes offers a unique opportunity for homeowners looking to get the most value out of their single-family vacant lot.

Aside from the option of splitting lots and potentially generating a sale or long-term rental income, landlords can also use the law to share the land with aging relatives or offer a housing solution to adult children.

Also, increasing the number of available rental properties in the market also helps to alleviate the demand from tenants and offers a greater choice in terms of long-term housing. As a result, both parties are able to benefit from this innovative piece of legislation: a win-win situation for all involved.

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California SB9 law requirements

When considering a property for eligibility under SB9 law, it is important to take into account a few requirements. Homeowners must consider local zoning requirements, such as height limits and the size ratio of their property. Some other California SB9 requirements are:

  • The property cannot be located in areas of high risks, such as fire zones or flood plains. 
  • No rent or price control can be applied. 
  • The property cannot have been occupied by any tenant for the last three years. 
  • Parcels must be located in urban areas to qualify. 
  • Rental terms are limited to thirty days or longer. 
  • The owner must agree to reside on the property for the next three years. 
  • In case your property contains protected trees, it is necessary to contact Public Works’ Urban Forestry Division. 
  • A parcel can be divided once according to the California SB9 Urban Lot Split process.

Understanding the local requirements of SB 9 is an essential part of developing any property. 


Is SB9 approved in California?

Yes! On September 16, 2021, SB 9 was adopted to help realize its vision of creating more livable and vibrant communities across the state. The law made it easier for individuals, families, and communities to build new housing developments providing much-needed relief by streamlining the permitting process for housing construction and increasing development density, allowing far greater access to affordable homes. 

How do you get qualified for SB9 in California?

SB 9 provides a pathway for applicants to add additional units to their property with careful consideration and planning. Depending on the individual case, applicants have two distinct options for achieving this goal:

  • Converting an existing home into two distinct units
  • Subdividing a lot into two separate lots. 

The ultimate goal of SB 9 is to provide more housing options in an environmentally-responsible manner. By helping people to explore these personalized solutions, it is possible to promote responsible growth throughout the state in a way that works best for everyone involved.

Can my property be eligible for a lot split?

California SB 9 law allows any homeowners to submit a floor plan in order to split their lot. To be eligible, homeowners must plan to occupy their primary residence for at least three years. Once approved, the homeowner can sell off part of their land as a separate buildable lot without having to go through the extensive process of an official map or subdivision. This legislation simplifies and speeds up the process of creating additional land for development for those that are seeking such opportunities.


Senate Bill 9 is a crucial step in revolutionizing housing opportunities in California. Through this bill, homeowners can access a streamlined process for building duplexes and subdividing existing lots. Moreover, it opens up neighborhoods to working families who couldn’t rent or own property in California due to the high cost of living. To make sure that communities remain desirable and safe places to live, the list of SB9 qualifications ensures the protection of historic districts, preservation of environmental quality and the look of communities, and prevents displacement of tenants. 

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