Housing Element Process
- Update previous housing element.
- Public Participation Requirements: Prior to submittal of the first draft within a planning period to HCD, the local government must make the draft available for public comment for 30 days and if any comments were received, take at least 10 business days to consider and incorporate public comments.
- Submit draft to HCD for review/approval. HCD's first review will take up to 90 days.
- Revise and adopt (or adopt without changes).
- Transparency Requirements: For any subsequent revisions, the local government must post the draft revision on its website and email a link to all individuals and organizations that have previously requested notices relating to the local government’s housing element at least seven days before submitting the draft revision to HCD.
- Submit revised draft/adopted housing element to HCD. Subsequent reviews will take HCD up to 60 days.
Learn more in Building Blocks: Comprehensive Housing-Element Guide.
Housing Element Completeness Checklist (PDF) — Optional tool outlining the statutory requirement of Housing Element Law to assist jurisdictions in the preparation of the housing element.
Consequences for Late Housing Elements
Jurisdictions that fail to adopt a housing element that has been found in substantial compliance within 120 days of the statutory deadline to revise the housing element must complete all necessary rezones within one year of that statutory deadline. This means both that jurisdictions must adopt the housing element and that the housing element must be found in compliance (meaning a letter from HCD affirming compliance) with Housing Element Law by HCD within 120 days of the statutory deadline, or they will need to complete rezones within one year of their housing element due date (as opposed to three years) to maintain housing element compliance. Jurisdictions that adopt more than one year from the statutory deadline cannot be found in substantial compliance with Housing Element Law until the local government has completed any required rezoning.
NEW! SB 197 – for jurisdictions with housing element due dates in 2021
Prior law required rezoning specified in housing elements to be completed within one year (instead of three years) if the jurisdiction was not found in compliance with Housing Element Law within 120 days of the statutory deadline.
SB 197, which was signed into law on June 30, 2022, changed the rezoning deadlines for jurisdictions with statutory housing element deadlines in 2021. Now, jurisdictions with 2021 housing element deadlines may maintain the approximate three-year rezoning deadline if their adopted housing element is found in compliance within one year after the statutory due date. A housing element that is adopted and found in compliance means HCD has completed its review of the adopted element and has issued a review letter finding the element in compliance with Housing Element Law.
Jurisdictions seeking to maintain the three-year deadline for rezoning should plan accordingly given the statutory review timelines, which are 60 days for adopted and draft submittals. HCD will make its best effort to assist jurisdictions in meeting these deadlines but cannot guarantee or be obligated to expedite reviews for any jurisdictions that do not yet have a compliant adopted housing element.
Therefore, to meet the one-year deadline, jurisdictions will need to submit their adopted housing elements to HCD via HousingElements@hcd.ca.gov 60 days before the one-year anniversary of the 2021 statutory deadline (preferably earlier). This allows for the statutory 60 days for HCD's review (Government Code section 65585).
For example, SCAG jurisdictions should submit an adopted housing element to HCD no later than August 15 so HCD can complete its review before October 15. An on-time submittal does not guarantee that HCD will find your jurisdiction’s adopted housing element in compliance with Housing Element Law, but it does ensure that HCD will review your jurisdiction’s housing element and issue a findings letter in advance of the one-year deadline.
Jurisdictions cannot be found in compliance with Housing Element Law until all necessary rezones are complete if they fail to adopt a housing element found in compliance within one year of their 2021 statutory housing element due date.
As part of its review of the housing element, HCD must consider any written comments received from any public agency, group, or person. If an organization or individual plans to provide comments to HCD on a jurisdiction’s housing element, early contact with the assigned review staff member is encouraged to ensure that HCD is aware of this intent. To ensure that HCD has sufficient time to consider comments in the review of the housing element, written comments should be provided within the first 30 days of the review. Written comments can be provided directly to the assigned HCD Analyst or emailed to HousingElements@hcd.ca.gov.
Sign up to receive a weekly listing of housing elements received by HCD by clicking this link HCD Email Signup and selecting the box labeled “Housing Element Review Notification."