2021 Los Angeles Multifamily ADU Law

By

Zia

|Last Updated: 27 Jan 2021

As we enter 2021, there have been new ADU law changes for both single-family and multi-family properties.

We are well aware that these rules will take effect for the next five years or until 2025. For Los Angeles homeowners who currently have multi-family properties, here’s an overview of what to expect regarding the 2021 ADU law.

 


1. Faster Review Process

The first major change is there will be a faster review process, just like single-family properties. This year, homeowners can expect a 60-day review of their plans. With this shorter time-frame, the turnaround time will be quicker and applicants will be able to see what needs to be done as soon as the plan gets approved.

 

2. New 25% rule

Homeowners can now convert up to 25% of the existing multi-family unit count in existing space such as:

  • Storage Rooms
  • Boiler Rooms
  • Passageways
  • Attics
  • Basements
  • Garages


You may be wondering what the 25% existing count means? Before we dig deeper into this, keep in mind that each city has its own laws and some are actually a little bit more lenient than what the actual state law allows. So what they mean by the 25% existing multi-family unit count is, for an eight-unit building, you can convert up to two garages or you can make up to two freestanding ADU units. We are talking about the actual raw spaces you could convert and turn into a new living space following the 25% portion of your multi-family unit. But again, always check with your city to find out more information about this new law.

 

3. Freestanding ADUs

With the latest ADU rules, you can now build up to two freestanding ADUs. So if you had a multi-family lot where you had some open space or an area where you could build, as long as you met the setbacks which are four feet from the side and rear, you can build up to two extra ADU units. This update will still be coherent with the aforementioned 25% rule or whatever the city law requires of you.

 

4. No minimum lot size

Unlike before, there was a minimum lot size whenever a homeowner decided to build an ADU. For the next five years, the law will not mandate a minimum size of your multi-family ADU so you need not worry about this.


5. Reduced parking requirements

If you're converting an existing space or having an ADU conversion, there will be no parking required but if you will be building an ADU from the ground up, you will be required to have some replacement parking depending on your property. Make sure to always check with your local city for more details about this rule.


6. Eliminated or reduced impact fees

So if you’ll be having a multi-family ADU that’s under 750 square feet, there will be no more impact fees. However, if your ADU unit goes 750 square feet, the city will be charging you still with an impact fee but it’ll be way cheaper than it used to be.

 


 

What Makes a Multi-family Property Good for an ADU?

  • Lot size

Because the larger the lot, the better. If you can build two freestanding ADUs on your property without taking away parking or storage space, that is much better because you can still have some room to work with as far as layout and design are concerned.

 

  • Parking

Parking is still valuable especially in some areas in Los Angeles like Downtown LA, Long Beach, or Hollywood. Parking is always something to look at, if you have excess parking that means you can take those garages or carports away for an ADU and that could mean extra living space for you or a new source of income.

 

  • Open Area to Build

Like what we mentioned about larger lot size, multi-family properties have way more area for the home designers to work on. Anytime, you can maximize your space and design it the way you want without the fear of compromising an existing space of your lot.

 

  • More grass

Multi-family properties have a lot more grass than concrete or asphalt. Homebuilders prefer this because they don’t need to dredge up or dig through a lot of concrete whenever they start breaking ground.

 

  • Access to plumbing, power, and sewer

For most remodeling professionals, easy access to plumbing, power, and sewer are crucial. With multi-family properties, they can now plan out their construction workflow as they can easily determine how far they can get to pull those and do their work.

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