Perhaps the biggest hurdle Los Angeles homeowners face when building an accessory dwelling unit at their primary residence is the building permits. One of the biggest struggles faced by homeowners is the back, and forth that goes on when trying to obtain these permits from the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety. To help cut down on the headache of obtaining these specialized building permits, the City of Los Angeles just passed a law recognizing a total of 21 Pre-Approved ADU designs. Using one of these pre-approved ADU designs cuts down on the time and hassle involved in obtaining a building permit.
City leaders aren’t the only ones excited about these pre-approved ADU designs; your reputable Los Angeles ADU Contractors like 360 Builders are as well. Construction firms like us at 360 Builders understand that building accessory dwelling units can help California’s housing shortage. Current numbers show that nearly 60% of the state’s housing is made up of single-family homes. Adding ADUs to these residences increases the number of homes available to residents of California. Los Angeles even offers a program known as the ADU Accelerator Program to help homeowners with ADUs find elderly tenants for occupying their ADUs.
How Los Angeles’s ADU Standard Plan Program Works
To get more homeowners on board with building ADUs, the chief design officer for Los Angeles, Christopher Hawthorne, is trying to streamline the ADU permit process to make it an over-the-counter experience. To make the permit process for ADUs as easy as possible, Hawthorne wants to offer several ADU designs through Los Angeles’ ADU Standard Plan Program.
This program offers designs that licensed engineers and architects have submitted for a variety of spaces. Each of the plans submitted is looked over and then approved by the LADBS to ensure they are in full compliance with all Residential, Green, and Building codes.
Homeowners will look over these designs, and if they pick one from the ADU Standard Plan Program, the LADBS will review their property for site-specific factors. Some site-specific factors include foundation requirements and compliance with local zoning codes. If everything is okay, the permit will be issued.
Los Angeles’s ADU Benefits
One of the benefits of constructing more ADUs in Los Angeles is that it helps combat the housing crisis the city is currently facing. The California Department of Housing and Community Development knows that the current housing construction is not able to meet the demand. In fact, studies show in the last ten years that less than half the homes needed to keep up with the population growth were actually built. ADUs allow more homes to be built without additional land, so no buildings or existing homes need to come down to build.
Another perk to ADUs as they are often more affordable than apartments. Homeowners with ADUs are able to legally collect rent, which lowers the risk of them defaulting on their mortgage plus the rental income stimulates the economy. The more the California economy is stimulated, the more stable it becomes. Plus, ADUs increase property values.
Los Angeles’s ADU Standard Plan Program Goals
The ADU Standard Plan Program’s most important goal is to increase how many ADUs are being built in the city of Los Angeles by making their construction as simple as possible. Part of making the construction process simpler is through streamlining the permit process. The easier it is to obtain an ADU building permit, the more likely homeowners will be to build one. By building more ADUs on single-family residences, there are more housing opportunities available to Los Angeles residents who are in the middle of a housing crisis.
With the ADU Standard Plan Program, the city of Los Angeles is hoping they are able to remove any barriers that homeowners face when wanting to build an ADU. The biggest barrier for homeowners and Los Angeles ADU Contractors face is securing the building permits necessary for building. The current process takes up a lot of time and money, but with the 21 pre-approved designs, the city hopes to eliminate that barrier completely. Currently, the city’s permit application site provides a list of all permits needed when building an ADU, but that is a long list. Using a standard plan for building ADUs, the process will now resemble the permit process homeowners go through to add swimming pools and staircases.
Simplifying the permit process for building ADUs is needed in Los Angeles because of how important ADUs have become to Los Angeles and its surrounding area. The State of California passed some legislation in 2017 that changed how the state regulates ADUs. These changes made it possible to build ADUs in cities that previously prevented them. The legislation also made it easier for city planning departments to approve their construction as long as specific conditions were met, including terrain and design.
With nearly 60% of all ADUs being rented below market value, according to a study conducted in 2017, they seem to be a great answer to California’s housing crisis. When using a reputable Los Angeles ADU Contractor, homeowners can custom build their ADU while staying within the state’s regulations. With applications going from 1,980 to close to 6,000 in the last years, Los Angeles’s city knows the building isn’t going to slow down, so with this program, they can support the different approaches to ADUs and help solve their own housing crisis.