New Law Nets Homeowners Enormous Benefits
Everything old is new again, at least when it comes to Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) as planners call them. Other familiar names include tiny houses, in-law apartments, and granny flats. While common in early American history, ADUs somehow fell out of fashion in the mid-1900s.
Whether or not a homeowner has considered adding an ADU in the past, the benefits are sure to intrigue
– from added monthly revenue and the potential for increased resale value, to convenient lodging for family members including aging parents who require care or children home from college or just starting out on their own. And there are environmental benefits, too, with fewer building materials and reduced energy demands. Note that thousands of existing illegally converted structures will not automatically be made legal through this ordinance, though some might become eligible for permitting if they meet new requirements.
A new state law is poised to present all of these small housing options to Los Angeles home owners. Approved units have already been built in the San Fernando Valley, Hollywood, and West LA. While no official citywide ordinance has been established, the City of Los Angeles is currently defaulting to new state provisions temporarily – now that the existing provisions have been declared null and void effective the start of this year.
ADUs can take one of three forms. They could be constructed as a unit detached from your primary residence (think detached garage or back house), a unit attached to your house (such as an enclosed add-on), or a repurposed space within your home that’s converted for independent living space (consider B&B-like accommodations with a private entrance).
Some applicable restrictions include a limitation to 1,200 square feet or less and no more than half the size of your primary residence. They also may not be located at the front of your property or near the street. ADUs aren’t allowed at hillside addresses unless they are within a half-mile of public transit or an adjoining standard street. Other provisions around zoning, height, setback, lot coverage, open space, and building separation apply.