State Legislatures and Housing Reform project monitors how state lawmakers are working to address their states’ housing challenges in 2023.
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 June 13, 2023.
Stay up to date on this project and all news from Housing Affordability Institute by subscribing to The Framework, our email newsletter, and by following Housing Affordability Institute on LinkedIn and Twitter.
More State Legislatures and Housing Reform in 2023 Content:
- Jan. 24, 2023: Big Problems Require Bold, Ambitious Action – Housing Is No Different
- Feb. 17, 2023: State Legislatures and Housing – February 2023
- March 10, 2023: State Legislatures and Housing – March 2023
- April 17, 2023: Zoning Modernization Efforts on the Move
- May 18, 2023: State Legislatures and Housing – May 2023
- June 8, 2023: Commentary: Modest Densification Support Increases, Legislators Should Take Note
Regular Session Dates: Jan. 9 – June 16, 2023
Arizona State Senator Steve Kaiser introduced SB 1117, which includes a line that reads: “Housing supply and affordability is a matter of statewide concern.”
SB 1117 would enable smaller lots, and reasonable setbacks plus ensure municipalities provide areas for duplexes and multi-family developments. The bill would also eliminate aesthetic mandates in many cases. The bill failed to clear the State Senate and was opposed by Gov. Katie Hobbs.
An attempt in mid-June to pass a modified version of the proposal also fell short.
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.
Several housing-related bills have been introduced in California, including:
- SB 4 would simplify the process for non-profit colleges and religious institutions to develop affordable housing on their property.
- SB 91 / AB 1633 would exempt new housing projects from environmental quality reviews to end NIMBY groups from using environmental reviews to kill housing projects.
- SB 294 would adjust floor-area ratios for multi-family buildings.
- AB 11 would create the “Affordable California Commission” to monitor and study barriers to housing affordability and access.
- AB 835 would direct the State Fire Marshall to allow single-stairway access in multi-family buildings in the next code update.
- AB 976 would prohibit requirements that new ADUs be developed on owner-occupied properties. This bill has cleared its first committee stop.
Regular Session Dates: Jan. 12 – May 11, 2023
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 its growing housing challenges.
In his 2023 budget proposal, Gov. Polis called for zoning modernization, and the lifting of regulatory barriers and included $15 million to help implement and support this effort.
SB 213, a major land use reform package, would legalize more housing types by preventing local governments from banning ADUs, duplexes, triplexes, and certain multi-family projects, and expand transit-oriented housing options. SB 213 died on the Senate’s calendar, despite Gov. Polis making this bill one of his priorities for 2023.
HB 1255 would prevent local governments from placing a cap on housing production in their cities. HB 1255 pawas signed into law in June.
Regular Session Dates: Jan. 9 – April 27, 2023
HB1005, a bill passed and signed into law in 2023, 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.
Regular Session Dates: Jan. 9 – April 28, 2023
Lawmakers in Iowa are seeking to prohibit cities from enacting costly aesthetic mandates. SF 174 does not impact design standards for some historic structures and HOAs with existing aesthetic design elements. The legislation excludes retail, commercial or industrial properties. This bill has cleared several committees but has not received a floor vote in either chamber.
Regular Session Dates: Jan. 9 – March 20, 2023
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.
Despite support from Gov. Kemp, no major housing legislation advanced this session.
Regular Session Dates: Jan. 3 – May 22, 2023
The North Star State has some of the nation’s largest housing affordability, inventory, and equity issues. 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.
Reintroduced this year in the State House, the Legalize Affordable Housing Act (HF 2235) cleared the House Housing Finance and Policy Committee. This bill would align local zoning to comprehensive plans, increase housing options, limit how environmental reviews can be used to block housing and end aesthetic mandates. HF 2235 also includes street impact fees, which impede housing affordability and access.
The Legalize Affordable Housing Act was not included in the House’s major housing legislative package. Both the Senate and House housing committee chairs have indicated zoning reform will receive more attention in the 2024 legislative session.
Regular Session Dates: Jan. 2 – May 11, 2023
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.
Dubbed the “Montana Micicle,” several housing reform bills were signed into law this year following a successful session for Montana housing advocates:
- SB245: A bill to allow more multi-family housing in commercial areas
- SB323: The bill that legalizes new starter homes
- SB382: A bill that allows starter homes by-right and overhauls Montana’s zoning laws.
- SB 406: Prevents cities from adopting a building code that differs from the Montana State Building Code.
Regular Session Dates: Jan. 2 – June 8, 2023
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.”
Regular Session Dates: Jan. 10 – May 29, 2023
A late addition to 2023’s map, the Texas State Senate voted to modify the Lone State State’s zoning laws. Under SB 1412 local zoning codes related to ADUs, garage apartments, and “mother-in-law suites” are overridden and allowed by right. The bill is awaiting committee action in the State House.
Regular Session Dates: Jan. 4 – May 19, 2023
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.
As of May 18, the bill has not yet been heard in committee.
Another bill, S. 100, has made significant progress and was signed into law in early June. Also known as the Housing Opportunities Made for Everyone” (HOME) Act, S. 100 includes several important reform measures, including:
- Reduction of parking requirements;
- Duplexes would be allowed with the same dimensional standards as a single-unit dwelling
- For single-family-zoned areas, five units per acre where sewer and water infrastructure are served;
- For mixed-use-zoned areas, mixed-use and affordable housing projects may exceed building height limitations by one additional habitable floor beyond the maximum height, and using that additional floor may exceed density limitations for residential developments by an additional 40 percent, provided that the structure complies with the Vermont Fire and Building Safety Code;
- Conversion of existing detached structures cannot be more restrictive than the criteria used for a single-family dwelling without an ADU.
S. 100 would also prevent residents from using the “character of the area” as a valid reason to prevent local affordable housing developments.
Regular Session Dates: Jan. 11 – Feb. 25, 2023
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.
Multiple housing-related bills were successful in the Virginia Legislature, including:
- House Joint Resolution 507 was introduced, which directs the Virginia Housing Commission to “streamline and enhance predictability in local development review processes and alleviate the effects of local policies or ordinances that contribute to increased housing costs and constrain the supply of affordable and workforce housing.
- HB 2494, a transparency measure, requires any municipalities with 3,500 or more residents to file annual reports to the Department of Housing and Community Development outlining the adoption or amendment of any local policies, ordinances, or processes affecting the development and construction of housing during the preceding fiscal year.
- HB 1671, another transparency measure, requires any municipalities with 3,500 or more residents to file annual reports with the Department of Housing and Community Development outlining the total fee revenue collected by the locality over the preceding calendar year in connection with the processing, reviewing, and permitting of applications for residential land development and construction activities.
Regular Session Dates: Jan. 10 – April 29, 2023
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 Legislature.
To boost new starter home production in Washington state, lawmakers proposed HB 1245 / SB 5364. which cleared their first committee stops in both chambers. 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.
- 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.