Ready to get started, but not sure where to start?
Given the complexity of the new laws and the resulting city/county interpretations, it is even more critical that you consult with a group a who understand the nuances of the new ADU laws in California.
Green Development is a full-service multi-family residential development group with experienced licensed architects, engineers, and contractors who are experts on the new legislation and local ordinances and are capable of designing your ADUs on multi-family lots.
The sections below describe steps in the ADU process. These may seem like small projects, but with design, permitting, and construction, expect to spend at least a year on your ADU, if not longer — though the timeline could vary widely depending on the nature of your project.
Once you have some initial ideas about what’s possible on your property, you’ll want to think about the design process. Now consider how you want to develop the design. You will need to hire an architect, engineer, expediter, and general contractor to help create a plan set, obtain a building permit and prepare construction plans. Utilizing Green Development all in one process you can engage a professional early in the process, that can help you evaluate the feasibility of your site and oversee the design efforts.
Before you can build your ADU, you’ll need a building permit from your local municipality’s Planning Department as well as Building & Safety Division. Your permit application will be reviewed for compliance with zoning rules in the Land Use Code, structural requirements within the Residential Code, energy efficiency standards within the Energy Code. Other types of review might also apply depending on the characteristics of your site and whether your project involves tree removal.
Once you have obtained your building permit, you are ready to begin construction. Note that any changes you choose to make to your original plans may require additional review by Planning and Building and Safety.
Many ADUs involve traditional stick-built construction. Depending on the design of your project, you might consider non-traditional construction methods whereby part, or all, of your ADU is built in a factory off-site and transported to your property. These pre-fabricated or modular units can help you save money or shorten construction time on site. They may also involve unique requirements or costs, like trucking, the cost and logistics of using a crane, or challenges with accessing and delivering material to your backyard. Factory-built structures built entirely off-site are reviewed and approved by the states Factory-Built Housing (FBH) Program
During and after construction, your ADU project will require site inspections. Typically, this involves general inspections including: structural, electrical, plumbing, mechanical inspections, and site development. A sewer inspection might also be necessary depending on the work involved in your ADU.
After a final inspection and approval of a Certificate of Occupancy (COO) , the tenants of your ADU can move in. You’ll need to register your rental unit under the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO). The County's Rent Stabilization Ordinance is a local law that limits rent increases above the allowable limit within a 12-month period and provides “just cause” eviction protections for most residential rental units in areas of Los Angeles County. All rental property owners in Los Angeles and unincorporated Los Angeles County must register.
You’ll also need to abide by fair housing laws, which aim to prevent discrimination and protect the rights of tenants to access and maintain their housing. Most of these rules apply to all rental housing, but some requirements do not apply to ADUs.
Consider listing your ADU with the Housing Choice Voucher program administered by the Housing Authority, which guarantees rent, includes free inspections and listings, and lets you provide a place to live for a low-income individual or family. If issues arise during your landlord–tenant relationship, ensure you follow guidelines for issuing notices, increasing rent, accessing the unit, and handling emergency situations.
What To Look For
Extra unused space on the side or back of lot
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