State housing laws are based on the premise that every city has an obligation to accommodate a range of housing types for persons at all income levels. Every community is dependent on a variety of low- and moderate-income workers in jobs such as landscaping, building maintenance, child and elder care, medical technicians, personal services, clerical support and retail trade. While the existing housing stock serves the needs of many residents, market rents and prices are higher than some families can afford. In addition, low-wage jobs have increased at a much faster rate than affordable housing is being built.
While cities are not required to build new housing, they must ensure that their land use regulations encourage a full range of housing types. Rental apartments typically provide the majority of affordable housing, but other types of housing such as accessory dwelling units (ADUs) can also help to address this need. Various governmental programs provide funding assistance for affordable housing, but if a city’s development regulations are too restrictive, affordable housing may be infeasible and the housing needs of the local workforce will be shifted to other cities.
 “Accessory dwelling unit” means an attached or a detached residential dwelling unit that provides complete independent living facilities for one or more persons and is located on a lot with a proposed or existing primary residence. It shall include permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation on the same parcel as the single-family or multifamily dwelling is or will be situated. (Government Code Sec. 65852.2(j)(1)