ADU in Los Angeles: Are They Legal?

You may have noticed neighbors putting in “guest houses” on their property lately. In the past, this wasn’t allowed. However, building an ADU in Los Angeles is now legal thanks to very recently updated regulations in the state of California.

Who Can Build an ADU in LA?

ADUs can be built on most residentially zoned lots as long as there is already a home built on the property. There are of course a few exceptions, but generally, most Los Angeles residents can build an ADU on their property regardless of the size of the lot as long as the ADU itself is in accordance with the city/state’s restrictions.

When trying to decide if an ADU is for you, it’s good to look at all the different aspects of building one and which type will work best for you.

Permitting an ADU

Going through the approval process to get your building permit is rather difficult, but not impossible.

First you need someone to go through the design phase and a contractor who is willing to build it. These two will know how to do all the math involved in building an ADU.

You then need to submit all of your plans for approval by the Department of Water and Power as well as the Department of Building and Safety. Starting to build prior to approval is not only illegal but could cost you if your plans aren’t approved.

By the approval process, you will have already spent around $6,000 just in determining whether the ADU is buildable. Therefore, it is important to find designers and contractors that already have a good general knowledge of the rules and regulations to ensure your ADU gets approved the first time.

Finding the Right Team

When building your ADU team, it is important to look for contractors who:

  • Are insured Have good references
  • Have good reviews online
  • Have valid contractor licenses

The last thing you want is an unqualified person to come in and make costly mistakes while building your ADU. Usually, local contractors who are professionals in ADU development are your best option.



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