Build an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) In Los Angeles in 2021 - Everything You Need To Know
Updated: Feb 28, 2021
For some, the lure of additional income may be the reason to give up their garage, and for others it may be needing some space for that home gym or home office. No matter the reason, an ADU might be what you're looking for. With updated regulations, homeowners can now legally add additional living spaces on their property effectively and more important, affordably.
Garage conversion architectural drawings - 'Blueprints'
With a shortage of housing across the state, California is encouraging home owners and developers to utilize ADUs as a smart-growth plan to provide more affordable housing units. ADUs provide homeowners a flexible opportunity for additional income while providing much needed housing for renters. For some, the lure of additional income may be the reason to give up their garage, and for others it may be needing some space for that home gym or home office. No matter the reason, an ADU might be what you're looking for.
With updated regulations, homeowners can now legally add additional living spaces on their property effectively and more important, affordably. With a shortage of housing across the state, California is encouraging home owners and developers to utilize ADUs as a smart-growth plan to provide more affordable housing units. ADUs provide homeowners a flexible opportunity for additional income while providing much needed housing for renters.
What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)?
Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are known by many names: granny flats, in-law units, backyard cottages, secondary units and more. No matter what you call them, an Accessory Dwelling Unit, is a single legal residential living unit that can be added to a lot with an existing home on it. It can be added to a single-family or multifamily residential lot. An ADU is required to provide permanent facilities for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation, and meet other code and safety requirements. .
Convert your garage into office space
What is a Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit (JADU)?
A Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit (JADU) is a dwelling unit with independent exterior access that is contained entirely within a single-family residence including an attached garage, and is no more than 500 square feet in size. Examples of this may be a remodeled garage, attic, or basement apartment. The proposed JADU or the existing single-family residence must be owner-occupied.
One ADU and one JADU may be built a single lot which means that you can add two rental units to your property!
Should I do a Garage conversion or build a new ADU?
Your two options are to build a new unit in the backyard or convert an existing garage to an ADU. A garage conversion is the most cost-effective option because the basic structure already exists. The downside is its size limitation as most 2-car garages are only 300-400 square feet. This is still enough space for a ‘studio’ or small one-bedroom unit, with both a kitchen and a bathroom.
Keep in mind that when converting an existing garage into an ADU, two parking spots need to be maintained for the existing residence but those can be uncovered spots on a driveway, side-by-side or tandem. A garage conversion has very lenient setback requirements and in some cases does NOT need to meet any new requirements.
A new ADU is a bit more flexible as it can be up to 1200sf, and take several forms. It can be a single or a two story structure with a maximum height of 25’. It can be attached to an existing home, attached to a garage in the rear of the lot, or detached completely. It does however come with a slightly higher price tag.
A new accessory dwelling unit must be at least 10’ away from the existing house and garage or it must be attached to either. It must also be at least 4’ from both the rear and side property lines.
A small space can be both beautiful and functional
What are the benefits of ADUs?
Construction is affordable as you’ll build on existing land - no land purchasing, no major new infrastructure, no structured parking required.
Increases the value of your existing home and property!
ADUs can provide a source of income for homeowners. Homeowners do not need to live on the property and can rent both properties separately.
ADUs allow extended families to be near one another while maintaining privacy.
ADUs can provide as much living space as many newly-built apartments and condominiums, and they’re suited well for couples, small families, friends, young people, and seniors.
Why now is the time to build an ADU?
Recent changes in guidelines have made accessory dwelling units much more viable for many homeowners. The most significant of those has been to parking requirements that now allow the main house to have an uncovered parking and No parking requirement for the ADU as long as its near public transit.
Other changes include increased maximum build size, waived utility fees and no less important ADUs do not require ‘discretionary’ approval, meaning that no approval from city planning department, HOAs, or neighbors is required. All it takes is submitting plans and going through a plancheck process to obtain a building permit.
Since ADUs can only be built on lots with existing or proposed housing, they do not require paying for new land, dedicated parking or other costly infrastructure required to build a new single-family home.
How much does an ADU cost?
The most cost-effective option is to convert an existing detached garage.
Since the major components already exist, the construction entails items such as minimal foundation and framing wok where the garage door is removed, adding a new sewer line and running other plumbing and electrical to the unit. Once that is complete, adding the interior components such as a kitchen, bathroom, flooring, windows and doors will be the same for any build.
The cost for an ADU garage conversion can usually range from $60,000-$120,000. Ground up ADU will range from 100,000-350,000, depending on size, location, number of stories etc. A good estimation is to assume $300-$400 per square foot.
How long does it take to build an ADU?
For a garage conversion, you can expect the entire process to take 3-6 months. This includes the design, architectural plans (blueprints), wait time for plancheck by the building department, and finally, the construction itself which will take roughly 2-3 months. For a new accessory dwelling unit you can expect the entire process to take 6-9 months, with the construction phase lasting 3-6 months.
What is the process of building an ADU?
In home assessment of space and analysis of location constraints. Provide estimated costs. Produce plans to submit to the city for approval. Construction and delivery.
Can I get financing?
There are many options when it comes to paying for your ADU. Personal funds are obvious. Home equity line of credit, refinance with cash out or construction loans are all options. Home improvement financing offers much quicker financing but may come with slightly higher rates. If you need financing checkout our preferred provider here.
How do I hire the best contractor?
Congratulations, you’ve decided to build an ADU on your property! But now what?! How do you choose the right contractor for the job? There are several dependable and qualified contractors out there. It boils down to experience and a professional that you feel a good connection with. Somerset will provide you with the best available team that will simplify the remodeling process, providing high-quality work, with transparency and integrity. Where possible we utilize eco-friendly and sustainable building practices to ensure that your ADU not just meets your standards, but exceeds them, while you maintain creative control.
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For more information on ADUs and other home remodeling projects, visit www.somersetw.com or call (818) 730 6672 to schedule a free virtual consultation.