Recent legislation regarding accessible dwelling units (“ADU’s”) is making it easier for California homeowners to add a rental unit to their properties.

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The West Side and South Bay of Los Angeles are home to some of the most expensive land values in the nation. These high land values have translated into an extremely high cost of housing.  One way homeowners are offsetting this cost is by constructing accessory dwelling units (“ADU’s”) on their property.  An ADU is a second, smaller home on a single property.  ADU’s take many forms – examples include a cottage in your backyard or an apartment over the garage.  These units can be rented for additional income, or used to house family members or friends.

In early 2017, the State of California passed two measures that eased the regulations on ADUs.  The goal of the measures is to provide more affordable housing units. These measures, SB 1069 and AC 2299 apply to all residential zones located within ½ mile of public transportation.  With a wide network of public transportation available via bus or rail, these measures apply to the vast majority of the West Side and South Bay (including 100% of our home city of El Segundo).

In order to comply, cities throughout the state have been required to amend their planning codes to adopt the new regulations. There is relatively little conformity in the planning requirements from city to city and consequently each has imposed unique requirements in adopting the new regulations.

Some significant details are written into the law and are therefore common to all jurisdictions. One such detail is that the property owner is not required to provide parking for the ADU; some cities have gone a step further allowing accessory dwelling units to occupy space that was previously used for covered parking. Another significant detail is that the property owner is required to live in the primary or accessory unit. There is a limitation of 1,200SF for the size of the accessory unit; however some cities have adopted a smaller size (arguing that smaller units will be more affordable).

SAGA has seen an uptick in interest from residents interested in adding an ADU to their property.  We are well versed in the language of the new laws and would be happy to assist with your planning and design.