May 10, 2024 - News

Arizona Senate passes housing bills

Illustration of a key suspended in mid-air by pieces of taught red tape.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Two bills intended to alleviate Arizona's housing shortage took a major step forward after weeks of discussions.

The big picture: The Senate on Wednesday passed amended versions of legislation requiring cities of at least 75,000 people to permit accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and "middle housing," such as duplexes, triplexes and townhomes, on lots zoned for single-family homes.

  • Both bills must go back to the House for final votes.

Zoom in: The ADU bill was amended to require houses to be occupied by their owners in order for new casitas to be used as short-term rentals.

  • Amendments to the middle housing bill stipulate that cities have to permit the units within one mile of their central business districts. Outside that area, middle housing must be permitted on at least 20% of any development of more than 10 acres.

Friction point: The League of Arizona Cities and Towns, which has vociferously opposed most legislation that diminishes cities' authority over housing regulations, was split on the two bills.

  • Tom Belshe, the league's executive director, told Axios his organization supports the middle housing bill.
  • But the league still opposes the ADU bill because it wants a prohibition on the use of casitas as short-term rentals.

Catch up quick: After she vetoed legislation to promote the construction of new starter homes, Gov. Katie Hobbs urged lawmakers to pass bills on ADUs and middle housing.

  • Rep. Leo Biasiucci (R-Lake Havasu City), who sponsored the vetoed legislation, told Axios he's still working with the governor's office on another starter homes bill.

In other legislative action:

🔑 The Senate passed a bill Wednesday to codify new rules real estate agents have to follow as part of a settlement resulting from a lawsuit against the National Association of Realtors.

  • The bill would require a formal agreement between an agent and a prospective buyer before a home is toured, and it would prohibit the broker from receiving compensation beyond the amount specified in the agreement.
  • The bill now goes to the House.

🗳 A Republican proposal to refer a controversial illegal immigration and border security measure to the November ballot took its first step forward Wednesday when it was approved on a party-line vote in a Senate committee and received preliminary approval in the Senate on Thursday.

  • The plan must be approved by the full House and Senate. It doesn't require the governor's signature to go to the ballot.
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