An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a secondary residential unit added to a property with an existing or planned single-family home. ADUs are sometimes referred to as granny flats, in-law units, second units, backyard homes, cottages, or basement apartments. While ADUs come in many forms and sizes, they always include a kitchen, bathroom and sleeping area. 

Homeowners build ADUs on their properties for a variety of reasons, such as housing a family member, gaining rental income, increasing overall property value, and adding to the affordable housing stock in their community. ADUs are affordable to build because owners don’t have to purchase additional land, and recent revisions to California State Law have made it easier to construct ADUs on single-family properties.

 


 

Types of ADUs

There are many different types of ADUs homeowners can build on their properties. While you may build a new unit entirely, converting an existing garage or room inside your home is the easiest way to add an ADU to your property. In fact, 45% of all ADUs constructed since 2017 in the City of LA are conversions. Read below to learn more about the different types of ADUs and various requirements associated with each.

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  • an ADU in Venice
  • ADU in luscious backyard
garage conversion
Garage Conversion

Size: Can be converted so as long as building is allowed and permitted.

Setbacks: Does not have to comply with setback requirements.

Parking: You must maintain the same number of required off street parking spots on your property that your garage could previously accommodate. These spaces can be located anywhere on the property, including in a driveway or tandem. Parking spaces must be 8.5 feet x 18 feet. Compact parking is not allowed. 

home conversion
Home Conversion

Size: Maximum 1,200 sq ft or 50% of existing living area (whichever is less).

Setbacks: Does not have to comply with setback requirements.

Parking: Not required.

detached adu
New Detached ADU

Size: Maximum 1,200 sq ft and within allowable Residential Floor Area square footage on site.

Setbacks: 5 feet rear property line. Side setbacks adhere to lot's zoning code.  Contact LADBS to learn more. 

Parking: 1 parking space required, unless within 1/2 mile to public transit.

garage
Addition to Garage

Size: Maximum 1,200 sq ft and within allowable Residential Floor Area square footage on site.

Setbacks: 5 feet rear property line. Side setbacks adhere to lot's zoning code.  Contact LADBS to learn more.  

Parking: 1 parking space required, unless within 1/2 mile to public transit. 

 

ADU attached to home
Addition to Home

Size: Maximum 1,200 sq ft or 50% of existing living area (whichever is less) and within allowable Residential Floor Area square footage on site.

Setbacks: Side and rear must adhere to lot’s zoning code. Contact LADBS to learn more.  

Parking: 1 parking space required, unless within 1/2 mile to public transit. 

 

ADU attached above garage
Addition Above Garage

Size: Maximum 1,200 sq ft and must be within allowable Residential Floor Area square footage on site.

Setbacks: 5 feet from side and rear property lines.

Parking: 1 parking space required, unless within 1/2 mile to public transit. 

an accessory unit that is attached to the garagw
Attached to Garage

Size: Existing accessory building (i.e. storage shed, office) can be converted to an ADU so as long as it is allowed on site. 

Setbacks: 5 feet rear property line. Side setbacks adhere to lot's zoning code.  Contact LADBS to learn more.  

Parking: No parking required.