For the past several years, there are growing concerns over the shortage of affordable housing, as well as entry-level housing in the U.S. Numerous housing experts indicate that current housing stock is failing to keep up with demand. Freddie Mac notes that there was a shortage of 3.8 million housing units as of the fourth quarter of 2020, while the National Association of Realtors estimates that the existing housing gap is up to 6.8 million units, according to a report released in June 2021.

On Feb. 9, the CAI Board of Trustees adopted the Accessory Dwelling Unit Public Policy. CAI recognizes the need to provide more affordable housing in the U.S. At the same time, CAI supports the rights of residential common interest communities to reasonably regulate the development and placement of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) within their neighborhoods.

The need for affordable housing is acute in many parts of the country. Governmental regulatory bodies seeking to provide affordable housing opportunities must simultaneously recognize that need while ensuring that roads, schools, availability of adequate parking, and other necessary services that promote public safety—including those provided by the community association—are adequate to meet any additional burden resulting from an increase in the density of dwellings and population.

ADUs come in many different forms and serve as a cost-effective alternative to increasing housing supply. They may be a smaller, secondary, independent residential dwelling unit located on the same lot as a standalone (i.e., detached) single-family home in a community. ADUs also may be known as granny flats, accessory apartments, in-law apartments, family apartments, room rentals, garage and/or basement conversions, patio enclosures, or secondary units.

These forms of housing continue gaining popularity to keep up with housing demand in residential neighborhoods, providing affordable housing options and promoting intergenerational living opportunities. In some localities, the cost of housing has become unaffordable to existing residents and those employed in a municipality such as firefighters, law enforcement officers, teachers, municipal employees, nurses, and other essential workers. This type of housing model also facilitates efficient use of existing housing supply and infrastructure and improves homeowner cash flow. As the need for affordable housing options continues to grow, zoning policies are being revised to allow for the development of ADUs.

Community association leaders experience practical issues when ADUs are added to existing common interest developments that have rules created to preserve the intended purpose and design characteristics of the community. Under certain circumstances, ADUs may create unintended adverse consequences in a community including, but not limited to, parking issues, alteration of intended design, overcrowding of residents and structures, overtaxing common area facilities and amenities, and increasing traffic congestion, all without a mechanism to reallocate assessment contributions to account for changes that would create an associated burden upon the community.

Policy Recommendation

CAI supports legislation that recognizes the community association housing model’s core principles of self-governance and co-ownership of common property. CAI encourages policymakers to engage industry stakeholders such as community association homeowners, board members, community managers, and business partners on this issue. CAI believes crafting legislation and regulation should always take place in an open and transparent manner, providing the opportunity for comment by all interested parties.

CAI recognizes the need for affordable housing in the U.S. and supports the rights of residential common interest communities to reasonably regulate the development of ADUs within their communities.

We oppose legislation that prohibits community associations from regulating the addition of ADUs without allowing for reasonable rules and restrictions.

CAI supports legislation that allows an association to develop reasonable rules and regulations requiring consistency with the common plan or scheme of the subdivision where ADUs are located within a community, including restrictions upon design, size, and location.

We support providing a community association’s board of directors the ability to use discretion in adopting uniform, reasonable individual assessment increases to offset the additional costs created by the addition of ADUs.


CAI Legislative Tracking of Accessory Dwelling Unit Legislation
CAI Public Policies

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