Local governments can employ a variety of development strategies and/or commit to specific programs to address the adequate sites requirement. As provided in Government Code Section 65583.1 subdivision (c), in addition to identifying vacant or underutilized land resources, local governments can meet up to 25 percent of the requirement to provide adequate sites by making affordable units available through development of rehabilitation, conversion, and/or preservation.
Substantial Rehabilitation, Conversion, and Preservation
Under limited circumstances, a local government may credit up to 25 percent of their adequate sites requirement per income category through existing units that will be:
- Substantially rehabilitated.
- Located on a foreclosed property or in a multifamily rental or ownership housing complex of three or more units that are converted from non-affordable to affordable rental.
- Units in a motel, hotel, or hostel that are converted from nonresidential to residential and made available for people experiencing homelessness as part of a long-term recovery response to COVID-19.
- Preserved at levels affordable to low- or very low-income households, where the local government has provided those units with committed assistance.
- Preservation of mobilehome park through acquired spaces.
Substantially Rehabilitated: Units to be substantially rehabilitated must result in a net increase in the stock of housing affordable to low- and very low-income households and include the following provisions:
- Units must be at imminent risk of loss to the housing stock.
- Local governments must commit to providing displaced tenants not otherwise eligible for relocation assistance under state relocation law, with assistance consistent with that required under health and safety code section 17975, including a minimum of four month’s rent and moving expenses and comparable replacement housing.
- Relocation assistance must be provided to any occupants temporarily or permanently displaced and the local government must require that any displaced occupant will have the right to reoccupy the rehabilitated units.
- Rehabilitated units must have long-term affordability requirements, not less than 55 years or any other term required by federal- or state-funding law or regulation.
Converted: Converted units are those located on a foreclosed property or in a multifamily rental or ownership housing complex of three or more units that have been converted from non-affordable to affordable rental by acquisition of the unit or the purchase of affordability covenants and restrictions. These units are not to be acquired by eminent domain and must provide a net increase in the stock of housing affordable to low- and very low-income households.
Converted units must be made available for rent at affordable housing costs; not already occupied by low- or very low-income households; and in decent, safe, and sanitary condition when occupied. Long-term affordability covenants (not less than 55 years) apply to these units. Relocation assistance must be provided to any occupants temporarily or permanently displaced and the local government must require that any displaced occupant will have the right to reoccupy the rehabilitated units.
To convert existing multifamily ownership units, the housing element must demonstrate that for each ownership unit converted to an affordable unit and counted under the Alternative Adequate Sites, a new multifamily rental unit affordable to lower-income households will be constructed within the planning period of the housing element. For example, for a community to count the conversion of 10 multifamily ownership units to units affordable to lower-income households, the housing element must demonstrate that at least 10 new multifamily rental units will be produced within the planning period of the housing element. The housing element could describe the number of multifamily units that will be constructed within the planning period to be affordable to lower-income households, identify the date new construction was or is anticipated to be completed, and include a description of the regional housing need allocation credit methodology used to determine affordability. The jurisdiction could also include certificates of occupancy to satisfy this requirement. The number of units affordable to low- and very low-income households that have been constructed must meet or exceed the number of converted ownership units credited against particular regional housing need allocation income categories.
While foreclosed properties converted by acquisition or the purchase of affordability covenants currently qualify under the same conversion provisions for multifamily units, as of January 1, 2015, these units are now also required to demonstrate multifamily rental production as stated in the above paragraph.
Converted Nonresidential to Residential: Units in a motel, hotel, or hostel that are converted with committed assistance from the city or county from nonresidential to residential by the acquisition of the unit or the purchase of affordability covenants and restrictions for the unit, are not acquired by eminent domain, and constitute a net increase in the community’s stock of housing affordable to low- and very low income households. The analysis must demonstrate the units meet the following criteria:
- The unit is part of a long-term recovery response to COVID-19.
- The unit is made available for people experiencing homelessness as defined in Section 578.3 of Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
- The unit is made available for rent at a cost affordable to low- or very low income households.
- The unit is in decent, safe, and sanitary condition at the time of occupancy.
- The unit has long-term affordability covenants and restrictions that require the unit to be affordable to persons of low- or very low income for not less than 55 years.
- This subparagraph shall remain in effect only for the sixth revision of the housing element pursuant to Government Code Section 65588.
Preserved: Units to be preserved at affordable housing costs to lower-income households by acquisition of the unit or the purchase of affordability covenants for the units. Preserved units must meet all of the following requirements:
- Be located within an “assisted housing development.”
- Have new, long-term affordability covenants and restrictions (at least 55 years).
- Have received governmental assistance under specified programs.
- Be expected to convert to non–low-income uses.
- Be in decent, safe and sanitary condition.
Units must also be found (via a public hearing) eligible for preservation, with a reasonable expectation that the units will change from affordable to another use during the next five years. When units are identified for preservation, they must be available at costs affordable to persons and families with low- or very low-incomes.
Preserved Mobilehome Park Spaces: All spaces in a mobilehome park that is acquired with committed assistance from the city or county where any of the following apply:
- The mobilehome park will be acquired with financing that includes a loan from HCD pursuant to the Mobilehome Park Rehabilitation and Resident Ownership Program (Health and Safety Code Section 50783 or 50784.5).
- At least 50 percent of the current residents in the mobilehome park to be acquired are lower-income households and the entity acquiring the park agrees to enter into a regulatory agreement for a minimum of 55 years that requires both of the following:
- All vacant spaces shall be rented at a space rent that does not exceed 50 percent of maximum rent limits established by the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee at 60 percent of the area median income.
- The space rent for existing residents at the time of the acquisition of the property, both during the 12 months preceding the acquisition and during the term of the regulatory agreement, shall not increase more than 5 percent in any 12-month period.
A mobilehome park is defined as any area or tract of land where two or more lots are rented or leased, held out for rent or lease, or were formerly held out for rent or lease and later converted to a subdivision, cooperative, condominium, or other form of resident ownership, to accommodate manufactured homes, mobilehomes, or recreational vehicles used for human habitation (Health and Safety Code section 18214(a)).
“Committed assistance” exists when a local government has entered into a legally enforceable agreement from the beginning of the projection period until the third year of the housing-element planning period that obligates sufficient, available funds or other in-kind services to make identified units affordable and ensures the units will be made available for occupancy within two years of the execution of the agreement. “Net increase” refers only those units that were not provided committed assistance in the immediately prior planning period.
- The housing element must include a program that commits the local government to provide “committed assistance” through a legally enforceable agreement within a specific timeframe spanning from the beginning of the regional housing needs assessment projection period through the end of the third year of the housing-element planning period. The dollar amount or related in-kind services of the committed assistance must be substantial enough to make the targeted units available for occupancy within two years of the execution date of the agreement.
- Jurisdictions are required to document the status of their committed assistance program during the housing-element planning period in the annual progress report to the governing body. By no later than the fourth year of the planning period, a local government must report on the status of its program implementation for substantial rehabilitation, conversion, and/or preservation (of affordability) as described above. The report should identify the units for which committed assistance has been provided and indicate how each unit complies with the statutory requirements. If the jurisdiction has not entered into an enforceable agreement of committed assistance for all the units initially identified by the end of the third year of the planning period, the local government must adopt an amendment to its housing element, no later than the end of the fourth year of the planning period, identifying additional adequate sites sufficient to accommodate the number of units for which committed assistance was not provided. Jurisdictions that do not amend their element to include adequate sites — or that do not complete rehabilitation, acquisition, purchase of affordability covenants or the preservation of identified units within two years after the committed assistance was provided — are prohibited from identifying substitute units in the next, regular housing-element update above the number of units actually provided or preserved with committed assistance.
- Only those local governments that have met some of their share of the regional need for housing affordable to low- and very low-income households during the current or immediately prior planning period may use the alternative sites provision of housing-element law. Documentation of having met this need may include an issued building permit, proof of payment of all development and permit fees, and/or proof that the unit is eligible to be lawfully occupied.
This Alternative Adequate Sites Checklist (PDF) provides guidance in determining whether the provisions of Government Code Section 65583.1(c) can be used to address the adequate sites program requirement. A “yes” answer to the questions means the alternative site program option(s) may be applicable to your community.