California State ADU Laws


On January 1, 2020, new laws were passed which promote the addition of Accessory Dwelling Units in Los Angeles.

Along with reduced burdens for single family ADU applicants, for the first time, new laws permit ADUs to be added to multi-family properties. This ability to add ADUs means you can substantially increase your annual rental income at less than 50% of the cost of purchasing comparable residential dwelling units.

As a homeowner, I’m sure you can imaging the many ways you can utilize an ADU on your property – for an AirBnB Rental, the ultimate man cave, or living space for an elderly parent, out-of-town guests, or an adult child living at home.

Well, the City of Los Angeles has made it easier than ever to add ADUs to your single-family or multi-family property.

Old State ADU Law

  • Parking required for ADU Small
  • Size Limits
  • Limited types
  • High Utility Fees

New State ADU Rules

  • ADU parking eliminated if near transit
  • Maximum size limit increased
  • More flexibility allows different types of ADUs
  • Utility fees waived if connected to existing services

Below are some highlights of California’s new Junior, Single & Multi-family ADU laws:

Reduced Costs and Burdens for Developing ADUs and Jr. ADUs

  • Reduced Costs and Burdens for Developing ADUs and Jr. ADUs
  • Cities cannot charge any impact fees for ADUs under 750 sqft; fees for larger ADUs are limited.
  • For ADUs permitted by 2025, cities will not require owner-occupancy.
  • Homeowners associations must allow the construction of ADUs.
  • ADUs can be developed at the same time as a primary unit, under most of the same rules.
  • A city must delay code enforcement against existing unlawful ADUs to allow proper legalization.

Residential Properties | ADUs and JADUs Subject to Automatic Ministerial Approval

  • An ADU converted from existing space in the home or another structure (garage) as long as the ADU can be accessed from the exterior and has setbacks sufficient for fire safety.
  • Building combination of both detached ADU (up to 1200 sqft) and attached Jr. ADU (up to 500 sqft).
  • No replacement parking required when a parking garage is converted into an ADU.
  • No required parking for an ADU created through the conversion of existing space or located within a half-mile walking distance of a bus stop or transit station or car shared pick up location.
  • If the city imposes a floor area ratio limitation or similar rule, the limit must be designed to allow the development of at least one 800 sqft attached or detached ADU on every lot.

Accessory Dwelling Units on Multi-Family Residentially Zoned Properties

  • Multi-family buildings may add ADUs up to 25% of the existing unit space or at least one (1) ADU. These ADUs must meet building code requirements and the existing space must not be currently used for a living (storage units and garages would qualify).
  • Spaces required as part of a condition of approval or zoning requirement (e.g. long-term bike storage room) cannot be converted.
  • Not more than two detached units may be added to a lot with a multi-family building if no more than 16 feet high with 4-foot side and rear setbacks.

Parking Requirements

No parking for an ADU is required if:
  • Within ½ mile walking distance of public transit.
  • Located within an architecturally and historically significant historic district.
  • ADU is part of the proposed or existing primary residence or accessory structure.
  • When on-street parking permits are required but not offered to the ADU occupant.
  • When there is a car share vehicle located within one block of the ADU.
  • No replacement parking for the primary residence is required when a garage, carport or covered parking is converted to an ADU or is demolished to provide an area for an ADU.

ADUs are an


Los Angeles is an extremely viable market for ADUs. It pays to build an ADU because:
  • The land is (basically) free!
  • Financing is available and relatively inexpensive.
  • Rents are high in Los Angeles.
  • ADUs tend to generate cash flow immediately.
  • ADUs provide thousands of dollars of rental income per year.
  • ADUs add enormous resale value to your property.