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Housing Elements and Regional Housing Need Allocation

State law recognizes the vital role local governments play in the supply and affordability of housing. Each governing body (City Council or Board of Supervisors) of a local government in California is required to adopt a comprehensive, long-term general plan for the physical development of the city, city and county, or county. The housing element is one of the seven mandated elements of the local general plan. Housing element law, enacted in 1969, mandates that local governments adequately plan to meet the existing and projected housing needs of all economic segments of the community. The law acknowledges that, in order for the private market to adequately address housing needs and demand, local governments must adopt land use plans and regulatory systems which provide opportunities for, and do not unduly constrain, housing development. As a result, housing policy in the State rests largely upon the effective implementation of local general plans and, in particular, local housing elements. Housing element law also requires the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) review local housing elements for compliance with State law and to report its written findings to the local government.


Pursuant to Government Code (GC) 65584 applicable to the Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA) process, HCD is required to determine the RHNA, by income category, for Council of Governments (COGs). RHNA is based on Department of Finance population projections and regional population forecasts used in preparing regional transportation plans. COGs are required to allocate to each locality a share of housing need totaling the RHNA for each income category. Pursuant to GC 65583, localities are required to update their housing element to plan to accommodate its entire RHNA share by income category. Applicable due dates for regional jurisdictions to update their housing elements (per GC 65588) are listed below based on amendments from enactment of the following legislation: SB 491 (2003 Statutes, Chapter 58), AB 2158 (2004 Statutes, Chapter 696), AB 1259 (2007 Statutes, Chapter 696), SB 375 (2008 Statutes, Chapter 728), and SB 575 (2009 Statutes, Chapter 354).


The Department in collaboration with Council of Governments (COG) developed pre-approved housing needs data for the 5th cycle housing element updates. This pre-approved data is for use in the preparation of housing elements and is not subject to further review by the Department. The following listings are links to the housing needs assessment data.

Council of Governments:

Non Council of Governments Counties:

5th Cycle Regional Housing Need Allocation (RHNA)

HCD RHNA Determinations:

Final Approved RHNA Plans


Below is a housing element review status report listing the current compliance status of all local governments. Where a jurisdiction has an adopted housing element which has been found by HCD to comply with State housing element law for the current planning period, compliance status will be indicated as "IN". If HCD has determined that an adopted housing element does not comply with State housing element law, the jurisdiction will be listed as "OUT". If the jurisdiction has yet to submit an element for the current planning period, it will be listed as "DUE". Jurisdictions that have submitted a draft element for the current planning period, but have not adopted an element for this planning period will be listed at "OUT", regardless of whether HCD found the draft element to address all statutory requirements of State law. Every effort is made to ensure that the information in this report is complete and up-to-date. Please contact us regarding concerns relating to the accuracy of any listing.


All California localities are required by Article 10.6 of the Government Code (Sections 65580-65590) to adopt housing elements as part of their general plans, and submit draft and adopted elements to the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for review with compliance with State law. HCD is required to review housing elements and report its written findings within 60 days for a draft-housing element (Government Code Section 65585(b)) and within 90 days for an adopted element (Government Code Section 65585(h)). In addition, Government Code Section 65585(c) requires HCD to consider written comments from any group, individual or public agency regarding the housing element under review.

The Department’s Housing Element Submittal Listserv provides updated information on the elements received for HCD review. The Department will regularly email interested parties who have opted to join the listserv a listing of the elements received for Department review during the prior week(s) and indicate the type of review requested (i.e. standard or streamlined review). To be added to the Department’s Housing Element Submittal listserv please send an email to with the subject line “HE submittal listserv”.


The Housing Element Clearinghouse provides electronic copies of housing elements received for HCD review. Please note, only the most current element (draft or adopted) is provided below. Previously submitted versions may be requested by contacting the jurisdiction directly or contacting the Department at 916-263-2911 or

The Department of Housing and Community Development's review of a locality's draft or adopted housing element will be posted within a week from the date the letter was sent to the locality. Review letters will be posted alphabetically and updated weekly. Review letters from November 2004 forward can be retrieved at the link below. Copies of review letters prior to November 2004 can be obtained by calling (916) 263-2911. If the link to the review letter does not load the letter, copy the link in the spreadsheet and past in the web browser URL line to retrieve the PDF.


Final Housing Element Update Guidance Released

The Housing Element Update Guidance is intended to assist local governments and stakeholders with streamlined updates and HCD review for fifth cycle housing elements. HCD recognizes all levels of governments and stakeholders are facing resource challenges and this guidance seeks to create efficiencies and clarity for all parties in the housing element update process. While all local governments are still required to complete a housing element update, the Update Guidance is designed to reduce the number and scope of housing element submittals per jurisdiction and to focus resources on providing assistance to jurisdictions to ensure compliance and effectively addressing housing needs.

Housing Element Update Guidance (complete packet) (Adobe PDF)


Building Blocks for Effective Housing Elements – online technical resource to assist local governments in updating housing elements

HCD Published Housing Element Technical Assistance Papers

Technical Assistance Paper Description/Link Publish Date Applicable Statutory Citation Statute
Local Agency Surplus Land and Affordable Housing

March 27, 2015 GC § - 54220 - 54223

Chapter 677, Statutes of 2014 (Assembly Bill 2135)

Housing Element Updates and the 2014 San Joaquin Valley Fair Housing and Equity Assessment

February 9, 2015 GC § - 65583

GC § - 65583

Option to Change Next Housing Element Updates from a 5-Year to a 8-Year Schedule

August 29, 2014 GC § - 65588(e)(3)(C)

SB 375 (Chapter 728, Statutes of 2008)

HCD Memorandum – SB 745

April 24, 2014 GC § - 65582 SB 745 (Chapter 182, Statutes of 2013)
HCD Memorandum - Alternative Adequate Sites Amendments

AB 720, AB 1867 and AB 1103 amending the alternative adequate sites sections of State housing element law
August 24, 2012 GC §
65582(h) and (i);
65583(a)(8); and
AB 720(Ch. 467, Statutes of 2009)

AB 1867(Ch. 367, Statutes of 2010)

AB 1103(Ch. 210, Statutes of 2011)
HCD Memorandum - SB 812

Analysis of special housing needs for persons with developmental disabilities
June 21, 2012 GC § 65583(a)(7) SB 812 (Ch. 507, Statutes of 2010)
HCD Memorandum-Default Density Standard Option (2010 Census Update) June 20, 2012 GC § 65583.2(c)(3)(B) N/A – see statutory reference for AB 2348 below.
HCD Memorandum - AB 162

Applicability of amendment to safety and conservation elements of General Plan to element updates
September 16, 2009 GC § 65302 AB 162 (Ch. 369, Statutes of 2007)
HCD Memorandum – SB 2

Zoning for emergency shelters, transitional housing, and supportive housing
May 7, 2008 GC § 65589.5 SB2 (Ch. 633, Statutes of 2007)
HCD Memorandum - AB 1233

Rezoning deadlines applicable to jurisdictions failing to make sites available in prior planning period
June 20, 2007 GC § 65584.09 AB 1233 (Ch. 614, Statutes of 2005)
HCD Memorandum - SB 1087

Water and sewer service priority for housing affordable to lower income households
May 22, 2006 GC § 65589.7 SB 1087 (Ch. 633, Statutes of 2005)
HCD Memorandum - AB 2348

Inventory and suitability of sites/default densities
June 9, 2005 GC § 65583 AB 2348 (Ch 724 Statutes of 2004)
HCD Memorandum - AB 1866

Second unit law and the creation of second units in meeting regional housing need
August 6, 2003 GC § 65852.2 and 65583.1 AB 1866 (Ch. 1062, Statutes of 2002)
HCD Memorandum - SB 520

Analysis of constraints on development of housing for persons with disabilities
June 17, 2002 GC § 65583(a)(4) and 65583(c)(3) SB 520 (Ch. 671, Statutes of 2001)
Note: The highlighted links above provide statutory language as of the date legislation was enacted. You may also access a current copy of State housing element law.

Housing Element Update Related Resources:

Other Technical Resources:


Council of Governments Links