Add an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) to Your Multi-Family Property Today!
The State of California just made it possible to add Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) to your multi-family property! You can convert garages, rec rooms, storages spaces, attics, basements, or even build a new free-standing ADU. With our ADU building experience, we serve as an all-inclusive resource to help you evaluate, design, finance, build, and even lease-up and manage your completed ADUs.
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NEW CALIFORNIA STATE LAW
New 2020 California Law allows property owners to add ADUs to multi-family zoned properties. The new law allows for a minimum of 1 ADU per property, but a maximum of 1 ADU per 4 existing units. While the most common and convenient way to add an ADU to your property is through conversion an existing garage, ADUs can also be converted from rec rooms, storages, spaces, attics, basements, and you can even construct new freestanding ADUs in open space as available.
Ideal Property Scenarios for ADU Addition
Existing structure allows for cost savings and they are typically under-utilized relative to the potential rent of an additional unit.
- A 2-car garage easily becomes a 350-400sf studio with kitchenette and ¾ bath
- Existing structure and roofing allow for cost-savings
- Detached units command higher rents with no shared walls
Previously it was very difficult to add units to underutilized lots due to all of the parking and setback regulations. These new 2020 laws relax these requirements making adding an ADU to your open space very feasible.
- The new laws only require 4 foot setbacks for new construction ADUs
- No additional parking is required for ADUs
- No minimum lot size requirement to add an ADU
Buildings with rec rooms offer a great opportunity for ADU conversion. Often there is already plumbing and electrical in the space thereby reducing construction costs.
- These spaces typically already have much of the electrical and sometimes plumbing
- Rec rooms are typically of little rental value to current tenants in Los Angeles
- The existing structure allows for an additional unit at minimal cost
- The cost of separating plumbing and electrical services must be considered
- Smaller units typically command higher rent prices per square foot
- Layouts must be conducive otherwise the conversion can be too costly
Have a space that has already been converted, but isn’t legal? Well now, you may be able to pull the appropriate permits to legalize the unit if the space adheres to current building and safety code or can be brought up to it.
- For the City of Los Angeles, you no longer must create a low-income UDU, ADUs are market rate
- Illegal units present issues when trying to evict a problem tenant
- The existing space will be grandfathered in as long as it adheres to current health, safety code
What You Need to Know:
- No additional parking is required for the ADU unit as long as the property is within ½ mile of transit (most properties in the metro area are within ½ mile of a bus stop)
- If the property is within ½ mile of transit, you can convert a garage or carport to an ADU without replacing it with any additional parking
- You will not be required to bring any other element of the property up to current code except the new ADU unit (i.e. parking ratios, open space requirements)
- No short-term rentals are allowed – all tenant stays must be longer than 30 days
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New California Laws Regarding Multi-Family ADUs
Assembly Bill No. 68
The Planning and Zoning Law authorizes a local agency to provide, by ordinance, for the creation of accessory dwelling units in single-family and multifamily residential zones and requires such an ordinance to impose standards on accessory dwelling units, including, among others, lot coverage.
Assembly Bill No. 881 – Lot Size, Setbacks, Parking, Processing Times
(2) Existing law requires an ordinance providing for the creation of accessory dwelling units, as described above, to impose standards on accessory dwelling units, including, among other things, lot coverage. Existing law also requires such an ordinance to require that the accessory dwelling units be either attached to, or located within, the living area of the proposed or existing primary dwelling, or detached from the proposed or existing primary dwelling and located on the same lot as the proposed or existing primary dwelling.
This bill would delete the provision authorizing the imposition of standards on lot coverage and would prohibit an ordinance from imposing requirements on minimum lot size. The bill would revise the requirements for an accessory dwelling unit by providing that the accessory dwelling unit may be attached to, or located within, an attached garage, storage area, or an accessory structure, as defined.
(3) Existing law prohibits a local agency from requiring a setback for an existing garage that is converted to an accessory dwelling unit or to a portion of an accessory dwelling unit. Existing law requires that an accessory dwelling unit that is constructed above a garage have a setback of no more than 5 feet.
This bill would instead prohibit a setback requirement for an existing living area or accessory structure or a structure constructed in the same location and to the same dimensions as an existing structure that is converted to an accessory dwelling unit or to a portion of an accessory dwelling unit. The bill would also instead require a setback of no more than 4 feet for an accessory dwelling unit that is not converted from an existing structure or a new structure constructed in the same location and to the same dimensions as an existing structure.
(4) Existing law provides that replacement off-street parking spaces, required by a local agency when a garage, carport, or covered parking structure is demolished in conjunction with the construction of an accessory dwelling unit or converted to an accessory dwelling unit, may be located in any configuration on the same lot as the accessory dwelling unit, except as provided.
This bill would instead prohibit a local agency from requiring the replacement of off-street parking spaces when a garage, carport, or covered parking structure is demolished or converted, as described above.
(5) Existing law requires a local agency to ministerially approve or deny a permit application for the creation of an accessory dwelling unit or a junior accessory dwelling unit within 120 days of receiving the application.
This bill would instead require a local agency to ministerially approve or deny a permit application for the creation of an accessory dwelling unit or junior accessory dwelling unit within 60 days from the date the local agency receives a completed application if there is an existing single-family or multifamily dwelling on the lot. The bill would authorize the permitting agency to delay acting on the permit application if the permit application is submitted with a permit application to create a new single-family or multifamily dwelling on the lot, as specified.
Senate Bill No. 13
(C) (i) Multiple accessory dwelling units within the portions of existing multifamily dwelling structures that are not used as livable space, including, but not limited to, storage rooms, boiler rooms, passageways, attics, basements, or garages, if each unit complies with state building standards for dwellings.
(ii) A local agency shall allow at least one accessory dwelling unit within an existing multifamily dwelling and may shall allow up to 25 percent of the existing multifamily dwelling units.
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