San Francisco ditches fees for affordable housing and in-laws to speed up housing

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Published by Adam Brinklow, Curbed SF on July 31, 2019

San Francisco plans to give up nearly $2 million in projected fees on affordable housing projects and in-law construction over the next year, in hopes that cutting costs will encourage new housing development.

The proposal is a pilot program that will last for one year, during which time the city hopes that 225 building projects will benefit from it, most of them new in-law units (“accessory dwelling units,” or ADUs in City Hall talk).


Qualified projects get to skip inspection fees, plan review fees, records retention fees, and site surcharge fees, which the Mayor’s Office says can run up to $150,000 per project, or about 7.8 percent of the total cost of a new ADU.

After the vote, Supervisor Brown said of ADUs, “We know that many of the property owners building this housing are doing so to house their senior parents, college-age children, or other family members, or else to rent out to single person households at lower rents.”

Breed noted, “With building costs already so high, we shouldn’t be adding fees that get in the way of new homes.” The mayor introduced the legislation in February, arguing “we can absorb the loss of these fees, but we cannot absorb the loss of new housing.”

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Theresa Imperial