Housing Element

The California State Legislature has identified the attainment of a decent home and suitable living environment for every California as the State’s major housing goal. The 2021-2029 Housing Element was approved by HCD on December 15, 2022.

Housing Element Update (6th Cycle 2021-2029)

Under State law, every city and county in California is required to update its Housing Element to address specific requirements and submit the element to the Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).

The Housing Element serves as Temecula’s blueprint for meeting the housing needs of our residents, at all economic levels and addressing segments of the population with special housing needs. The Housing Element will include:

  1. An assessment of the unique characteristics of the City’s population 
  2. An inventory of sites suitable for residential development
  3. An assessment of financial and programmatic resources
  4. An analysis of constraints to housing production in Temecula

This data and analysis will provide the basis for a comprehensive set of policies to address current and projected housing needs.

Regional Housing Needs Allocation (6th Cycle 2021-2029)

Fundamental to the Housing Element Update, is how the City addresses its assigned fair-share of regional housing needs. This fair-share is determined through a regional housing needs allocation process.  HCD, with input from the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), determines the region’s total housing need for the 2021-2029 period. SCAG then determines the housing allocation for each Southern California city and county through the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) allocation.  The Housing Element Update must identify enough potentially developable land zoned for residential use to accommodate the City’s new RHNA allocation.

Temecula’s allocation for the 2021-2029 period is 4,193 units, which is broken down by income group as shown in the table below.  SCAG is in the process of holding workshops and meetings to discuss the draft allocation and plans to adopt the final allocation in October 2020.  To read more about the RHNA allocation methodology and process, visit SCAG’s RHNA & Housing page.

Income GroupState Income Limits (4 Person Household)Proposed RHNA Allocation
(Housing Units)
Extremely Low$0- $26,500679
Very Low$26,501-$39,500680
Above Moderate$93,001+1,255


The City of Temecula is pleased to share minor revisions to its 2021-2029 Housing Element which was adopted by the City Council in February 2022. This version includes revisions made in response to comments provided by the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) on the Adopted Housing Element. Revisions shown only in track changes (with no highlights) represent changes made and previously shared with the public prior to adoption; changes highlighted in yellow are revisions made after adoption. 

What is a Housing Element?

Since 1969, Housing Elements have been mandatory portions of local general plans in California because providing housing for all Californians is considered by the state legislature to be of vital statewide importance.  A Housing Element provides an analysis of a community’s housing needs for all income levels, and strategies to respond to provide for those housing needs.  It is a key part of the City’s overall General Plan.  State Law establishes that each city accommodates its fair share of affordable housing as an approach to distributing housing needs throughout the state.  State Housing Element law also recognizes that in order for the private sector to address housing needs and demand, local governments must adopt land-use plans and implementing regulations that provide opportunities for, and do not unduly constrain, housing development by the private sector.

Rules regarding Housing Elements are found in the California Government Code Sections 65580-65589. Unlike the other mandatory general plan elements, the housing element is required to be updated every eight years. It is also subject to detailed statutory requirements and mandatory review and approval by a State agency — HCD (Department of Housing and Community Development).

According to State law, the Housing Element must:

  • Provide goals, policies, quantified objectives and scheduled programs to preserve, improve and develop housing;
  • Identify and analyze existing and projected housing needs for all economic segments of the community;
  • Identify adequate sites that are zoned and available within the 8-year housing cycle to meet the city’s fair share of regional housing needs at all income levels;
  • Be certified (approved) by the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) as complying with state law; and
  • Be internally consistent with other parts of the General Plan (and meeting this requirement is critical to having a legally adequate General Plan).

Housing Element Benefits

Maintaining a State-compliant Housing Element ensures that Temecula is eligible for critical state and federal funds that require a certified Housing Element.  Jurisdictions that do not maintain a compliant Housing Element are at risk of significant repercussions, including:

  • Potential loss of local land use control;
  • Carryover of unaddressed allocations, increasing the total number of housing units that the City is responsible for accommodating;
  • Ineligibility for various State-administered funds, including infrastructure, parks, housing, and planning funds: and
  • The City’s entire General Plan becomes vulnerable to challenge.

What Happens If a Jurisdiction Does Not Adopt a Housing Element or the Element Does Not Comply with State Law?

If the California Department of Housing and Community Development determines that a Housing Element fails to substantially comply with the State’s Housing Element Law, there are potentially serious consequences that extend beyond the realm of residential land use planning. When a jurisdiction’s Housing Element is found to be out of compliance, its General Plan is at risk of being deemed inadequate, and therefore invalid. If a jurisdiction is sued over an inadequate General Plan, the court may impose requirements for land use decisions until the jurisdiction brings its General Plan, including its Housing Element, into compliance with State law.

A Housing Element is considered out of compliance with State law if one of the following applies:

  • It has not been revised and updated by the statutory deadline, or
  • Its contents do not substantially comply with the statutory requirements. If a Housing Element is certified, there is a presumption that it is adequate, and a plaintiff must present an argument showing that it is in fact inadequate.

Over the years, California has steadily increased the penalties for not having a legally compliant Housing Element, and this trend is expected to continue.

Role of Housing Successor

Pursuant to Senate Bill 341 (Chapter 796, Statues of 2013, effective January 2014), the City of Temecula as the Housing Successor is required to report specified housing financial and activity information in one of the following ways:

  • By including with the Annual Progress Report (APR) submitted to California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) pursuant to State housing law in reporting progress in implementing the Housing Element (Government Code Section 65400)
  • As an addendum to the APR sent separately from the APR due April 1 each year

More Information

For more information, please e-mail us or call 951-694-6400.