The state of Arizona is short 270,000 homes according to a recent study by Arizona State University.

Meanwhile, Tucson is facing record lows for affordability as housing and rental prices have skyrocketed since 2020.

Arizona legislators have put their faith in a newly passed piece of legislation that seeks to increase the housing supply.

On Tuesday, May 21, Governor Katie Hobbs signed HB2720, also known as the “Casita Law,” which allows accessory dwelling units (ADU) to be built on existing property zoned for a single-family home.

The statewide legislation mirrors a Tucson rule that has allowed ADUs since 2021.

Logan Havens, the President of the historically designated Feldmans Neighborhood, says the law will help diversify the city.

Now we have the opportunity to put fun, flexible infill development,” Havens said. “And we have an opportunity just to let people enjoy this quality of life and these beautiful neighborhoods we really value.

Havens built a casita in his backyard, which he rents out. He says the structures typically rent for less than a regular, standalone house and can make housing more affordable, especially in neighborhoods such as Feldmans.

“The ADU housing policy is just creating a supply of housing stock,” he says. “And these historic neighborhoods can do it, we can fit it in.”

But some Tucson residents claim that the new law doesn’t tackle the city’s affordable housing problem.

There is nothing in this bill that would guarantee that these ADUs be affordable units,” said Bonnie Poulos. “And yet the people who are sponsoring this bill are touting it as an affordable housing bill.

Poulos is also concerned about corporations buying up the new ADU housing supply, along with short-term rental companies such as AirBnB.

“There’s nothing in the language that guarantees that these ADUs won’t be used as short-term rental units,” she says. “And the state has already prohibited us from regulating short-term rental units.”

However, Rep. Michael Carbone, who introduced the bill, says that amendments were added to the legislation to protect against these types of short-term rental agreements.

“If you short-term rent your property in the back, you have to be an owner-occupant,” Carbone said. “If I’m a corporate developer or a hedge fund manager and I go buy up a house with a casita, I’m not allowed to rent it short term.”

Carbone says the real issue with Arizona’s housing affordability crisis lies in corporations buying up much of the state’s real estate.

He says he’s working on a bill to introduce next year that deals with the matter.