In 2020, California’s ADUs have taken center stage thanks to all of the new laws that have recently passed. As these new bills were passed at the state level, Los Angeles and all other cities have had to go to work, putting them into place at a local level. Enforcing all of these new laws isn’t always easy, but what makes it more problematic is the confusion that surrounds some of the latest laws passed.
Everything is explained reasonably well when it comes to the laws and regulations for garage conversions and ADUs on a single-family property. It seems the cities have put a lot of thought and effort into making sure the rules are clear. Things are confusing with multifamily properties, despite the cities knowing that properties zoned as multifamily are allowed to build ADUs. Our team here at 360Builders would like to help bring some clarity to these new ADU lawas.
Property’s Zoning Comes with Restrictions
The City of Los Angeles does restrict the building of ADUs, but these restrictions are specific regarding the property’s zoning. The zoning of the property affects how many units can be built using the lot size. The zoning also determines the floor to area ratio, also known as the residential floor area. This means for multifamily property owners; if the property you want to build ADUs on already has the maximums allowed, they can restrict an ADU construction.
Limited Number of Multifamily Properties
Along with many other California cities, Los Angeles limits the number of ADUs allowed for each multifamily property. The new laws going into effect only allow multifamily properties to add 25% using the current numbers of property units. To further explain this, a duplex, triplex, and fourplex can add one ADU. For a property with eight units, two ADUs can be built, while with 16 units, you can add four ADUs, etc. The number of ADUs property owners can build will also be limited to guidelines and overlays based on the property’s zoning.
Requirements for Parking
One of the most important things covered within these new laws and regulations is parking. Now the City of Los Angeles is saying the parking requirements for an ADU built on a multifamily property are the same as those built on the single-family property. What this means is on multifamily properties, parking is no longer a requirement for building as long as the property is within ½ mile of public transportation, which includes bus stops.
While things seem to be pretty straight forward for building ADUs on single-family properties, it will take some time for things to be as clear when it comes to multifamily properties. This is because the cities themselves are still trying to figure out what these new laws and guidelines mean. If you want to add an ADU on your multifamily property or are just thinking about it, don’t let the confusion of these new guidelines stop you.
One of the things you can do is get help from an experienced architect. Choose one who specializes or has experience in building ADUs on multifamily properties, as they will have a better understanding of the new guidelines and are helpful in knowing if your property qualifies. You can also do some research yourself. You can look online for answers to questions, but for the best and most concrete answer, talk with somebody at the City. Dialing 311 and talking with the Zoning Staff works, but so does talking to the zoning division at the Building and Safety offices in Los Angeles.
Just remember to be patient, as these guidelines are new to everybody, and there is still some confusion as to what exactly is allowed and what isn’t. You will end up getting different opinions from different staff members, so keep moving up the chain of command until you are receiving consistent information or have reached the top and spoke to someone with the right authority in making those calls. Of course, you’re more than welcome to give our knowledgeable staff a call here at 360Builders with any questions and we will gladly do our best to help.