February 6, 2023
los angeles adu

What you need to know about Los Angeles ADU {2022}

Let’s talk briefly about the recent changes that have made accessory dwelling units more affordable for many homeowners. The state and many California cities have relaxed many restrictions that were previously in place to allow these structures to be built. This is one way to ease the housing crisis.

  • Parking – The most significant change was to the parking requirement. The city used to require off-street parking (garage or carport) for any existing residence. However, the new guideline allows main house parking to be open (ie. The driveway), and ZERO parking for an additional ADU unit as long as it is within transit.
  • Increase in maximum permitted size
  • Greater variety of types of ADUs allowed
  • Some utility fees are being waived to encourage homeowners to build

Important to remember: ADUs do not require any ‘discretionary approval’. This means that you don’t need approvals from the city planning department, neighbors, or planning boards as long as your plans meet established guidelines. Los Angeles ADU accessory dwelling unit permit is easy to get. All you have to do to get an Los Angeles ADU permit is submit your plans to the building department.

For more information about the regulations and requirements for building Los Angeles ADU, make sure you read the City of Los Angeles ADU Ordinance.

Why should you build an ADU in your home?

Many homeowners are thrilled about the ease of building an addition to their home and are considering it. But why? It boils down to two things: the homeowner’s new ability to increase living space on their property in a more efficient manner and the enormous variety of uses that an Los Angeles ADU can provide.

In the past, adding square footage to an existing house meant that you had to build an “addition” or a second story. This was difficult. It was often expensive and time-consuming. Also, it required significant changes to the existing home layout. You also had to endure the discomfort of construction.

A second dwelling unit can be used to solve many of these issues and offers a lot of flexibility. These units are being built by people to be used as an office, guest house, music studio, a she-shed or mancave, or as a home for their parents or grandchildren.

It’s not only a good place to live, but it can also be used by homeowners as an income-generating rental property. Many soon to be retired homeowners are planning to build an ADU Los Angeles ADU so that they can move in (since they don’t have as much space) as well as rent their primary residence as a source for retirement income. This is quite clever.

What type of ADUs do you have?

There are two options: either build an ADU unit in your backyard or convert an existing garage into one. Because the basic structure is already in place, a garage conversion will be the most economical. However, 2-car garages can only be 300-400 square feet in size.

There is enough space to create a small studio or one-bedroom apartment with a kitchen and bathroom. You could also add an addition to your garage to convert it to an ADU. This is an economical way to make a larger ADU that has 600-800sf, 2 bedrooms, and is cost-effective.

A new Los Angeles ADU can come in many forms.

You can attach it to an existing house, add a garage at the back of the lot or leave it completely.

It can be either one- or two-story in height, depending on the location.

The addition must be located in the backyard, side yard or adjacent to the existing home. An accessory unit detached from a home can only be 1,200 square feet. An addition attached to an existing house is restricted to either 1,200 or 50% of its size.

A 400-600 sf Los Angeles ADU can be used for a one-bedroom layout. A 600-1,200sf structure is sufficient to accommodate one or more stories with three bedrooms and multiple bathrooms.

A garage located in front of a home can be converted into an ADU. An existing attached garage could be converted into a Junior-ADU.

Who is able to build an ADU?

Los Angeles ADU ordinance allows ADU to be built on all residentially zoned lots. An ADU is exempted from parking requirements if it is located within one-half miles of a bus stop or other public transportation.

Los Angeles ADU are allowed on multifamily properties like duplexes, triplexes, four-plexes, and apartment buildings. Although these properties have different guidelines, ADU are allowed on multifamily properties such as duplexes, triplexes, four-plexes and apartment buildings.

Two spots must be kept for the existing residence when converting an existing garage to an ADU. However, there are two spots that can be left open on driveways. These spots can be side by side or tandem. The new accessory dwelling unit must not be more than 10 feet from the garage and house, or attached to them. A new unit must also be at least 4 feet from the side and rear property lines. These setback requirements do not apply to garage conversions that are converted into living spaces.

What is the cost of an Los Angeles ADU ?

The cost of an accessory dwelling unit will vary depending on what options you select and the size. Converting an existing garage into an ADU garage conversion is the best option, as we have discussed.

The construction of the home will involve the addition of major components, such as the fourth wall, which is where the garage door is located, as well as the additions to the interior, such as flooring, kitchen, bathrooms, and insulation.

Depending on the homeowner’s needs, an ADU garage conversion will cost between $80,000 and $120,000. The cost of building an accessory dwelling unit in Los Angeles ADU may vary depending on its size, access and location. However, it is generally between $100,000-$400,000.

As a general rule, you should expect to pay $250-$400 per sq. ft. The larger the area, the lower the cost per square ft. prices will rise significantly if you are considering building up for. ADU costs can also vary depending on the type and quality of materials used. ADU costs will vary depending on the materials used in interior spaces (flooring, kitchen cabinets and tile), as well as exterior materials like roofing, stucco/siding and hardscape. ADU costs can also be affected by fees and city requirements, as well as the location of utilities on your property. This blog (link) has some great ADU cost-saving tips.

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What is the cost of a prefab ADU?

These pre-fabricated or modular ADU have been getting a lot attention lately. These homes are usually built in factories, shipped to you, and then assembled on-site. These pre-fab ADU are being manufactured by a number of new companies. They often come in a variety of floorplans and design options. Some are high-end and costly, while others are more affordable.

Prefabricated Los Angeles ADU offer some advantages over traditional ADU that are built on-site by general contractors. Although they may initially appear cheaper than traditional ADU in terms of cost, it is important that consumers include all costs, including taxes, shipping, installation, permits, utilities connections, and foundations.

An ADU can be used as a quiet and comfortable office.

How can I pay for an ADU

There are many ways for homeowners to finance an accessory dwelling unit. They can also pay it out of their savings. They can also finance the construction using a home equity loan, securing construction loans, or a home renovation loan. These are often very fast, but come with a higher rate of interest, and are offered by companies like SoFi.

ADU can be financed in many ways. It all depends on what you need. This ADU Financing Blog gives you the details about many of the top ADU financing options.


What is the time it takes to build an ADU

You can see that the timing of an ADU garage conversion is different from a new construction project. The entire process for an ADU garage conversion can take anywhere from 3-6 months. This includes time to prepare the architectural plans and wait for the city’s plancheck. Construction will then take approximately 2-3 months.

The construction phase will take 3-6 months and will require additional city planchecks.

As a safety environment for parents who are aging, you can build a granny apartment.

It’s a good time now to apply for the necessary permits and build your garage conversion to make it legal. After you have completed the work, the city will issue a Certificate Of Occupancy to your ADU. This will allow you to rent the space and increase the value of your property.

Although the process is similar to the one above, you will likely need to do less work to legalize your ADU/garage conversion. Therefore, the time frame will be shorter. You can read our entire blog on legalizing garage conversions or ADU.

How do you build an ADU?

The homeowner usually meets one or more experienced contractors to discuss the project. They will give some insight about the constraints of the area, the size and estimated costs. After the contractor and owner have agreed on the parameters, one of them can bring in an architect to help with the design.

After the plans have been approved by the owner they will be sent to the contractor for a detailed estimate. The owner will then choose the contractor they prefer and sign an agreement. The plans will be submitted to the building department. They will then manage the process up until the issue of a building permit. Construction can then begin. Finally, construction can begin.

How to Hire a Good Los Angeles ADU Contractor?

It is best to only hire licensed General Contractors when you are looking to construct an accessory dwelling unit. Using an unlicensed contractor would be a mistake.

Always confirm that any contractors you hire have experience with these types projects. A contractor who has built garage conversions or additions in the past is the best choice. They are familiar with the possible problems and pitfalls. You should consider other criteria when selecting a contractor. These include their price estimate.

What about your very own ADU gym?

You should also look out for these things in a contractor:

  • Verify that you have a valid contractor’s licence

It is extremely important to verify that the license has been verified by the Contractors State License Board. This will confirm that it is active and has no disciplinary action.

  • You should make sure that they are insured

Always ask your contractor to provide a copy of the contractor’s insurance certificate. Make sure it isn’t expired. To be certain, it might be worth calling the insurer directly. Uninsured contractors may have “Photoshopped” their insurance papers to fool homeowners. You can’t be too cautious.

  • Refer to their references

Ask your contractor to provide at least three references that you can call. Ask them about their experiences and satisfaction with the contractor’s work. You can take pictures of the completed work if you have them.

  • Check out their online reviews

To ensure that there aren’t any red flags, it is a good idea do a Google & Social Media Search of the contractor. If you find any negative reviews about the contractor, you should speak with them.

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Additional considerations:

These are some other considerations when building an ADU.


ADU are usually small and don’t often include a garage. It’s therefore important to provide storage areas for various belongings. Built-in cabinets, closets and attics can all be used as storage areas.


An ADU is an entire living unit so laundry machines are a must. It is not ideal for the ADU to share laundry facilities with the main house or to use a laundromat.


A dual heating and air conditioning system is a must for your ADU to keep you comfortable all year.

Kitchen island

Although it can be difficult to fit a kitchen island into a small space, it is worth it if it is possible. A small island can make a kitchen look more elegant and usable. It’s also very useful as it can be used both as a cooking area and as an eating table.

Outdoor area & patio:

As long as the area is usable, it’s worth considering creating an outdoor space for the ADU. A concrete patio can be made or pavers installed to provide a great surface for seating. It is a nice addition to have some potted plants or flowers, but a lawn is not necessary. A patio cover can be a nice way to add shade but it might not be very affordable.


You can create privacy between your main house and the ADU by building fencing or walls. You should also consider constructing a separate gate for the ADU occupant to allow them access.

Natural light

ADU are small, so it is important to provide ample natural light to them. You can achieve this by installing skylights, windows or patio doors.


Particularly with attached ADU, it is important to ensure that there is adequate separation, insulation and/or soundproofing material between the units/homes so that there is no noise from the next door.

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