Replacement of Local Building Codes in California with the State Housing Law

In California, the regulatory structure for construction has undergone significant changes in recent times. Previously, local building codes were the norm, but have now been largely replaced by the State Housing Law (State Housing Law).

Introduction of Uniform Codes and the National Electric Code

He State Housing Law (HSC 17922(a)) states that local building codes have been replaced by a more uniform and cohesive set of codes. These include:

  • Uniform Housing Code: A set of standards intended to ensure that all homes meet minimum standards of habitability and safety.
  • Uniform Building Code: A broad code that addresses general aspects of construction, from foundations to structural systems.
  • Uniform Plumbing Code: This code focuses on plumbing fixtures and systems, ensuring they are safe and efficient.
  • Uniform Mechanical Code: Standards related to mechanical systems, such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning.
  • National Electrical Code: Although it is not “uniform” like the other codes mentioned, this code regulates all electrical installations to ensure safety.

Power Retained by Municipalities

Despite the implementation of these uniform codes, municipalities in California still retain significant power in specific areas of regulation. These include:

  • Local Use Zones: Municipalities can establish and regulate specific zones for different uses, such as residential, commercial or industrial.
  • Local Fire Zones: Fire-prone areas may have specific regulations to minimize risks.
  • Building Removal Requirements: Regulations on how far a building must set back from a public street or other structures.
  • Side and Backyard Requirements: Regulations on the space required on the sides and rear of a building.
  • Property Line Requirements: Regulations that define where you can build in relation to the boundaries of a property.


The shift toward more uniform codes under the State Housing Law seeks to provide greater cohesion and clarity in construction standards in California. However, it is essential to recognize the continuing role of municipalities in regulating specific aspects related to land use and construction location.

Legal and Tax Disclaimer

Please be advised that the content presented in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. The articles and information provided here are written from the perspective of a real estate agent affiliated with Keller Williams, and do not represent legal or tax counsel.

As the author, I am a licensed real estate professional under Keller Williams, holding Brokerage DRE License Number: #02197031. However, it is important to note that my expertise is in the field of real estate, and not in legal or tax matters. The insights and opinions shared on this blog are based on my experiences and knowledge in the real estate industry and should be treated as general guidance rather than definitive legal or tax advice.

For specific legal or tax concerns relating to any real estate transactions or investments, readers are strongly encouraged to consult with a qualified attorney or tax advisor who can provide tailored advice based on your individual circumstances and the latest legal and regulatory requirements.

The information on this blog is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, and I, along with Keller Williams and its affiliates, disclaim all liability for any loss, damage, or misunderstanding arising from reliance on the information contained herein.

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