What does ADU stand for?The term ADU refers to an Accessory Dwelling Unit or Additional Dwelling Unit, which is a secondary housing unit that has independent living facilities that is located on a residential lot in addition to the main house.
What are the recent changes to ADU law?The new ordinance in LA regarding ADUs has changed, and restrictions around ADUs have been lifted to open up new opportunities to homeowners. The most significant changes include:
- Increases to the maximum permitted size
- More varieties of ADU
- Waived utility fees for homeowners
- Changes to the parking requirement so that off-street covered parking is no longer required for ADUs
Whose approval do I need to build an ADU?ADUs don’t require discretionary approval from the city planning department, planning boards, or neighbors. As long as you meet the established guidelines, you can build an accessory dwelling in LA by submitting plans to the building department and obtaining a permit.
Why should LA homeowners consider building an ADU on their property?An ADU offers homeowners the opportunity to create a rental unit on their property for additional income without needing to build on or purchase a secondary residential lot. Instead, they can take advantage of their current lot.
What else can an ADU be used for?In addition to potential revenue from rental income, an ADU can be used for a number of other things, including an office, a guest house, greenhouses, music studios, home gyms, hobby rooms, or homes for grown children or parents.
What are the types of ADUs?!There are two main types of ADUs: new ADU units or converted garages.The converted garage option is usually the most cost-effective solution for homeowners since the structure needed for the ADU already exists, although there are limitations on the square footage. However, it can be converted into a studio or one-bedroom style unit. You could also consider adding an addition to your garage and converting the whole space into an ADU.New ADU structures can be much more expansive and come in many different forms, and can even have multiple floors. These units can either be attached to the existing home or be completely detached on other space within the residential lot.
How long does it take to build an ADU?The timeline for an ADU construction project is largely dependent on the size of the ADU and the amount of work needed to either build or convert a space. If you are converting an existing garage space into an ADU, the project can take between 3 to 6 months. If you are building a new ADU from scratch, the process can take longer and the project could last anywhere between 6 to 9 months.
What does the ADU construction process look like?The process begins when the homeowner reaches out to a contractor who can come and view the property and any existing structures before giving some estimates and insights into the timeline and pricing of the project. A designer or architect can then be brought into the project to create plans.Once the plans are approved by the homeowner, the architect or contractor will submit the plans to the building department for a plan check, at which point a permit will be issued. Once the contractor has obtained the permit from the building department, they can begin construction on the project.
What features will be included in the ADU?The ADU needs to have four secure walls, meaning that if you are converting a garage the original garage door will need to be replaced with a wall. There are also several interior components that are needed in order for the ADU to be livable, including interior walls, flooring, a bathroom, a kitchen, windows, doors, electrical work, plumbing, HVAC, insulation, sewer lines, and any additional interior features.
What does an ADU cost?The cost of an ADU will vary widely depending on how big you want the ADU to be and what type of options you are building in. While some things like electrical and plumbing are required, other considerations like storage, laundry units, outdoor areas, windows and natural light, lofts, and soundproofing can impact the final cost.If you are converting your garage to an ADU, the cost can range between $80,000 to $120,000. A new accessory unit from scratch could cost between $100,000 to $400,000. Costs for multi-story ADUs or ADUs with special features and materials like hardwood, stucco, granite, and hardware will be even higher.
What is a prefab ADU?A prefabricated or modular ADU is an accessory unit that has been mostly preconstructed in a factory and then shipped in parts to your residential lot and then assembled on that site. These designs usually come in a standard layout with options for upgrades and can simplify the design process.
What is the LA ADU Accelerator Program?The LA ADU Accelerator Program was created to help homeowners rent out any accessory units they have to older adults who are facing housing insecurity. The homeowners who partake in the program receive benefits from the city such as applicant and tenant screening, landlord support, and rent.