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Building an ADU in the city of Los Angeles

What is an ADU?

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a residential unit that can be added to a lot with an existing single family home. ADUs can be detached (a separate building in a backyard), attached to or part of the primary residence, or a garage conversion. ADUs are independent rental units that have their own kitchens, bathrooms, living areas, and entrances.

Benefits Of Adding ADU

Adding ADU on the lot; increases over all property value of the real estate.
Increased property value allows owner to refinance cash out on value added.
Adding Accessory Unit provides owner with additional income from rental property
Adding ADU allows owner to move to smaller unit and rent or have family member live in larger unit; or vice versa.

What is the law for ADUs in the City of Los Angeles?

The new state law (AB 2299, effective January 2017) applies to LA and makes it easier to build an ADU on a single family lot. The state law encourages the construction of accessory units because the City needs more housing. You can read the entire law at the California Legislative Information website by searching California AB 2299. Please be aware that the City may pass new laws that will affect ADU construction.

How much space will I need for parking?

Many lots already accommodate two parking spaces in a garage or carport. When you add an ADU, you may need to fit one extra parking space on your lot. If an additional space is required, the space may be covered or uncovered.

You may not need additional parking if

1. ADU is located within one-half mile of public transit.
2. ADU is located within an architecturally and historically significant district.
3. ADU is part of the existing primary residence or an existing accessory structure.
4. on-street parking permits are required, but not offered to occupant of the ADU.
5. there is a car-share vehicle located within one block of the ADU.
These are the five current parking exemptions as of July 2017, but parking requirements may change. Check with the Dept. of City Planning for current requirements.

Is your lot near Transit?

Your lot may not need additional parking for your ADU, leaving room for open space, a patio, a bigger ADU, etc. If your lot is located within one-half mile of transit (defined as one-half mile from any bus stop or rail station), it should meet the parking exemption. Map II (p. 13) shows that many lots (coded in pink) meet the transit exemption.Verify your specific lot status with the Dept. of City Planning or the Dept. of Building and Safety, particularly since bus stops can move.