What is SB 9?
It is a multi-generational family home build and wealth gain law. It allows homeowners to bypass the complex process of building more housing for their families or converting additional space to sell in a one-off.
What can a San Francisco Home Owner gain from SB 9-ing their property?
- MONEY. Even if you don’t have the cash to build new homes yourself, you can sell your backyard to a builder or a future homeowner.
- Generosity. Do your part to solve California’s housing crisis. Maybe you have friends or family members that want a home but can’t afford one due to California’s high land costs. Homeownership is much more affordable if they’re only paying for a new building.
What SB 9 Actual Does
It gives single-family homeowners more control over making changes to their property on eligible properties. It allows single-family homeowners the right to build on their land in a more streamlined manner, faster and possibly in a more affordable way, cutting their time and cost down.
It provides homeowners an approval process that allows them to bypass the CEQA analysis and other discretionary entitlements granted by the Planning Commission or Historic Preservation Commission if the property meets all the requirements and gives it ministerial approval. A ministerial decision involves only using fixed standards or objective measurements, and the public official cannot use personal, subjective judgment to decide whether or how the project should be carried out.
Step 1: Check if your property is eligible for SB 9.
- Zoning. The parcel must be located in an RH-1, RH-1(D), or RH-1(S) zoning district. Everything in yellow is eligible.
- Pre-application Occupancy. The parcel must be owner-occupied or vacant for three (3) years prior to the application. A parcel is ineligible if it includes a housing unit occupied by tenants in the three (3) years prior to an application. Applicants will be required to provide proof of occupancy for three years prior to application, as described in the SB-9 project application forms.
- Rental Pricing Controls. Parcels are ineligible if they include existing units subject to local rent control regulations. The following are typically not subject to rental pricing controls: single-family homes, condominiums, ADUs permitted under the State program, and units built after 1979. Applicants will be required to provide the unit count and building construction date of any existing buildings to determine eligibility.
- Ellis Act evictions. Parcels are ineligible if they include a unit where the Ellis Act has been used in the fifteen (15) years prior to an SB-9 project application. To determine if a unit on the parcel has been subject to an Ellis Act eviction, consult with the San Francisco Rent Board.
- Historic Resources. Parcels are ineligible for SB-9 if located within a historic or landmark district under State law or if designated or listed as a landmark or historic property or district under local law (Planning Code Article 10 or 11). To determine if the parcel is designated or listed as a landmark or historic property or located in a district under local law, consult the Planning Information Map.
- Prohibition of Short-Term Rentals. SB-9 requires that the rental of any unit created under an SB-9 project be for a term longer than 30 days.
Additional Eligibility Criteria for SB-9 Lot Split Projects
- Original Parcel Size. Only parcels 2,400 square feet and larger are eligible for a ministerial lot split.
- Resulting Parcel Size. An SB-9 lot split cannot result in a parcel more than 60% or less than 40% of the size of the original lot, and both newly created parcels must be at least 1,200 square feet.
- Prior Lot Splits. Any parcel established through the prior exercise of an urban lot split under SB-9 is not eligible. You may not use SB-9 to subdivide a parcel twice.
- Adjacent Lot Splits. Parcels where either the owner of the parcel or any person acting in concert with the owner, has previously subdivided an adjacent parcel using an urban lot split under SB-9 are also not eligible.
- Post-Project Owner Occupancy. SB-9 lot split projects require the applicant to sign an affidavit stating that the applicant intends to occupy one of the housing units as their principal residence for a minimum of three years from the date of the approved lot split. This requirement does not apply if the applicant is a community land trust or a qualified nonprofit corporation.
- Lot Split Easements. Projects that include a lot split may require easements for utility connections and physical access, depending on the lot
Step Two: Determine what you want to Build
There are three options under SB-9:
- Lot Split
- Lot Split and Duplex (combo)
SB-9 Development Scenarios Scenario 1: SB-9 Parcel Development Scenarios for Projects that do not use the Lot Split Provision. Without the lot split provisions, an SB-9 project could either demolish an existing single-family house and construct a new duplex, or convert the existing single-family structure into a duplex. This type of project does not require owner occupancy after project application (unlike those also pursuing a lot split). Neither unit would be subject to rent control, and the units could be sold as condominiums at project completion. Parcels of any size are eligible for SB-9 development without a lot split, and although there are no minimum or maximum unit sizes required by SB-9, the City must allow each unit to be at least 800 square feet. The Accessory Dwelling Units that may be added in this scenario are State Program Accessory Dwelling Units.
Scenario 2: SB-9 Parcel Development Scenarios for Projects that also use the Lot Split Provision The second path for SB-9 development is to split a single-family lot into two lots. Both lots must be at least 1,200 square feet. Neither lot can be more than 60% of the size of the original lot. This type of project requires an affidavit from the applicant that they intend to occupy one of the housing units as their principal residence for a minimum of three years from the date of the approved lot split, unless the applicant is a community land trust or a qualified nonprofit corporation. None of the primary units created on a parcel that was split under SB-9 would be subject to rent control, and the units could be sold independently at project completion. The Accessory Dwelling Units that may be added in this scenario are State Program Accessory Dwelling Units.
Step Three: Design and Build
San Francisco Application
Step Four: Enjoy
If you need more information, please contact me.
If you want recommendations for help with SB 9, please contact me.