State Legislatures and Housing Reform project monitors how state lawmakers are working to address their states’ housing challenges in 2023.

PROJECT

State Legislatures and Housing Reform

Today’s housing affordability and access crises are from years of separate, but interconnected issues. As a nation and in major markets, housing has largely been underbuilt since the Great Recession. Contributing to the supply problem is that affordability for new housing has eroded over the past 15 years.

As zoning modernization in California, Oregon, and Massachusetts, and ending aesthetic mandates in North Carolina have shown in recent years, there are various options available for lawmakers seeking to address housing challenges in their home states.  

State Legislatures and Housing Reform in 2023

Click on any highlighted state for state-specific details. Content updated Jan. 19, 2023.

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More State Legislatures and Housing Reform in 2023 Content:


California

Regular Session Dates: Dec. 5, 2022 – Sept. 8, 2023
Status: In Session

California has led on housing issues in recent years and has proven what experts have long stated: that there is no single solution to housing’s affordability and access challenges. After successfully eliminating several major roadblocks to the construction of missing middle housing, the Golden State is looking to address other barriers in 2023.

SB 91 would exempt new housing projects from environmental quality reviews to end NIMBY groups from using environmental reviews to kill housing projects (The EQB recently introduced similar reviews to MN). AB 11 would create the “Affordable California Commission” to monitor and study barriers to housing affordability and access.


Colorado

Regular Session Dates: Jan. 12 – May 11, 2023
Status: In Session

Coming off a successful reelection campaign, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is set to make housing a priority this legislative session. During the closing days of his 2022 campaign, Gov Polis made Colorado’s lack of housing supply an issue and has indicated that zoning modernization is necessary for the state to address is growing housing challenges.

In his 2023 budget proposal, Gov. Polis called for zoning modernization, the lifting of regulatory barriers and included $15 million to help implement and support this effort.


Indiana

Regular Session Dates: Jan. 9 – April 27, 2023
Status: In Session

HB1005 says that money for the state’s Residential Housing Infrastructure Assistance Program (money provided for public infrastructure supporting new housing) would be allocated based on removing regulatory barriers at the local level, including: garage size and placement;  steeper roof pitch; minimum lot size and square footage; greater setbacks; off-street parking; aesthetic mandates that restrict or prohibit the use of code compliant products; do not have impact fee ordinances.


Iowa

Regular Session Dates: Jan. 9 – April 28, 2023
Status: In Session

Lawmakers in Iowa are seeking to prohibit cities from enacting costly aesthetic mandatesS 43 does not impact design standards for some historic structures and HOAs with existing aesthetic design elements. The legislation excludes retail, commercial or industrial properties.


Georgia

Regular Session Dates: Jan. 9 – March 20, 2023
Status: In Session

In November 2022, the Georgia House Study Committee on Regulation, Affordability and Access to Housing released its final report outlining significant housing policy reforms for the state to examine in 2023.

The report outlined specific issues of concern in the State of Georgia and highlighted six areas to target with policy reforms in 2023, including restrictive zoning, aesthetic mandates, development moratoria, and regulatory fees, processes, and taxes.


Minnesota

Regular Session Dates: Jan. 3 – May 22, 2023
Status: In Session

The North Star State has some of the largest housing affordability, inventory, and equity issues in the nation. In 2018, then-Governor Mark Dayton formed a housing task force to chart a new path for Minnesota. In 2019, Minnesota formed a five-year Legislative Commission on Housing Affordability and the State Senate formed a one-year select committee to address the state’s housing challenges.

The 2022 “Legalize Affordable Housing Act” gained traction in the State Senate but could not pass a critical House committee. This bill has left a framework for the new legislature to address Minnesota’s housing challenges in 2023.


Montana

Regular Session Dates: Jan. 2 – May 11, 2023
Status: In Session

In 2022, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte formed a Housing Task Force charged with making recommendations to make housing more affordable and attainable for Montanans. This task force released two reports in 2022: Recommendations for the Legislature and Governor and Recommendations for State Agencies and Local Government.

The former includes several action items for the Montana State Legislature aimed at reducing housing costs and increasing supply, including streamlining permitting, zoning modernization,
and broadly restoring the rights of landowners throughout Montana cities to build attainable forms of housing, particularly in areas where existing infrastructure can be maximized through infill development.


New York

Regular Session Dates: Jan. 2 – June 8, 2023
Status: In Session

Like many states, New York finds its housing stock undersupplied. To address this problem, Gov. Kathy Hochul has announced a plan to build 800,000 new housing units in the next 10 years. While the details are not yet available, Gov. Hochul said her plan will be “bold and audacious.”


Vermont

Regular Session Dates: Jan. 4 – May 19, 2023
Status: In Session

Legislation from Rep. Seth Bongartz would address both density and parking requirements in Vermont. In H 68, duplexes would be allowed by right anywhere in all areas zoned for single-family homes. Where city sewer and water connections are available, up to four units would be allowed per lot by right. Parking minimums would be capped at one parking space per housing unit. 


Virginia

Regular Session Dates: Jan. 11 – Feb. 25, 2023
Status: In Session

In mid-November 2022, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin released his “Make Virginia Home”  plan, outlining reforms for the commonwealth. This plan calls for increasing the supply of land available for housing, streamlining the environmental review process, workforce development, and building code reform that balances safety with affordability.


Washington

Regular Session Dates: Jan. 10 – March 10, 2023
Status: In Session

Much like Minnesota, Washington’s efforts to legalize new housing options fell short in 2022. With Washington needing one million more housing units by 2044, state legislators are again being asked to legalize more housing options. Two sets of bills are working through the Washington State Legisalture

To boost new starter home production in Washington state, lawmakers proposed HB 1245 / SB 5364. As proposed, these bills would allow lot splits to encourage the production of new housing. These bills, which would supersede any local lot requirements, also:

  • Set a minimum size of 1,500 sq feet 
  • New lots cannot be smaller than 40% of the original lot size
  • Limitations on applying impact fees and aesthetic mandates to the lot split units.
  • Establishes an off-street parking requirement limit of one car per unit. 
  • Prohibits the demolition of any rental units that are subsidized or rent-restricted.

HB1110 would:

  • Open up areas zoned for single-family homes to duplexes and townhomes.
  • Allows up to a six-plex, provided the two additional units are available to rent or ownership for those at 80 percent AMI.
  • Reduce parking minimums to one stall per 6,000 square foot lot and two stalls on lots larger than 6,000 square feet and eliminate parking minimums within a half-mile of public transit.
  • Maintain flexibility for local governments but place guard rails to ensure zoning and land use rules cannot be used to block the missing middle housing the bill seeks to legalize.
  • The bill applies to cities with a population of 6,000 or more, as well as all cities within the urban growth areas of Spokane and Seattle.