ADU – AKA – Accessory Dwelling Unit

What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

An ADU or Accessory Dwelling Unit is a dwelling unit with a full kitchen and bathroom and is an accessory use to a primary or principal single-family residence. The ADU can be used as a rental but cannot be sold separately from the primary or principal single-family residence. The existing residence must be a legally established structure.

In the past, these were also known as Granny Flats or Mother-in-Law Units. They can be attached to the main home structure, but the ADU is often a stand-alone, detached structure located in the backyard.

On January 1, 2017, new California State laws took effect, creating new opportunities for accessory dwelling units. Most cities have adopted a new or revised ordinance that complies with the State Law concerning ADUs.

Do you need more living space for your family? Do you want to earn a rental income? Many of these ordinances have made applying for an Accessory Dwelling Unit easier and quicker. For the most part, you can build an accessory dwelling unit on the residential or agriculturally zoned property that you own.

If you live within 1/2 mile of public transportation, the previous regulations are relaxed when converting a garage into a unit. You won’t need to replace the covered parking which is displaced by the new living space. You can even tandem park, which was previously forbidden. This might be another option for a potential ADU if you have an existing recreation room or pool room.

We specialize in ADUs and are happy to see if an ADU will work on your property. We can take care of the plans and paperwork required by the Planning Department and Building & Safety.

If your property is in the County of Los Angeles, the Department of Regional Planning released an Interim Policy memo on regulating requests for accessory dwelling units until the County updates its ADU ordinance. The memo includes necessary regulations for ADUs. Once an ordinance is approved and adopted per State law, this memo will no longer be in effect.

If your property is in the City of Los Angeles, the process is a bit more streamlined and no longer requires Planning Approval like before. If you’ve looked into permitting an Accessory Dwelling Unit in the past, this new ordinance will save you a lot of money since you will save on Planning Fees. Consider this a Christmas Present from the City of LA. (In the past, the Planning Fees, time, and representative fees averaged $8,000-$10,000).

Prefabricated units like BOXABL are becoming popular. These can potentially save you time & money on design and construction costs. Be sure to weigh the options with a custom-designed unit and a component system to decide what works best for you.

Here is a link to the City of Los Angeles Planning Department Memo on Accessory Dwelling Units from January 2017.

We look forward to answering any questions you may have regarding your new ADU.

Alan – Alpine Design