10 things you should know about ADUs in Los Angeles

Whatever you choose to call them: Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), Granny Flat, Casita or Guest House, they have opened up the doors to make owning a home more achievable with potential added income, and have helped increase affordable housing that the City of Los Angeles so desperately needs.
Here are 10 things you should know about ADUs in the City of Angels:
1)  The law that allows new units to be built on lots with single family homes andgives the ability to convert garages into ADUswas put into actionto add more affordable housingin California. 

2)  You can’t build them under power lines: That’s right. Statewide regulations require new buildings to sit 5 to 6 horizontal feet from the aerial path of a power line, so that if the line breaks it doesn’t fall on top of a structure. Power lines over your existing garage means converting it to an ADU will likely not get approved…unless you move your garage! That’s 5,000 volts of power running through the structure if the line was to ever break. 

3)  ADU and the Los Angeles Homeless Problem: The program, slated to begin in 2019, will grant homeowners between $10,000 and $30,000 toward the construction and permit costs if the homeowner agrees to let the units be used to keep people off the streets for three to five years. Homeowners would receive the money in the form of tax breaks or reduced permitting fees.

4)  ADUs: ADUs can take one of three forms: 
∙  Detached: Unit is separated from the primary structure 
∙  Attached: Unit is attached to the primary structure 
∙  Repurposed Existing: Space within a primary residence that is converted into an independent living unit 
5)  ADU No-Nos : They can’t be over 1,200 square feet, be located in the front of a home or be more than 50% larger than the main home.
6)  You need 1 parking space per unit or bedroom.

7)  Rent Control: In Los Angeles, ADUs qualify as single-family dwelling units. Therefore under current law, they are not covered by the RSO (Rent Stabilization Ordinance). 

8)  Setbacks-What setbacks? : No setbacks should be required for an existing garage that is converted to an ADU. ADUs that are constructed above a garage will need to provide a setback that is no more than five feet from the side and rear lot lines. 

9)  ADU-Make a great AIRBNB. Probably not. Under the new  Short Term Rental law in Los Angeles, ADUs for which a building application was submitted on or after January 2017 cannot be rented out as a home-share, unless the resident can prove the ADU is their primary home.

10) Cost to build an ADU: A good ball park to build an ADU in an existing garage is $50,000 to $125,000. 
           Do check to make sure the person has experience doing so. In the ADU bandwagon that many are jumping on, many people with little experience are building them, so check references, licenses  and do your research. For more information on the City of Los Angeles ADU ordinance visit:

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