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Accessory Dwelling Units

In Collaboration with United Dwelling

ADU Rules

Learn about the rules and regulations for Accessory Dwelling Units in Los Angeles and surrounding cities.

ADU Rules for California and Los Angeles

The City of Los Angeles is finalizing an Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance in 2020 (estimated). Until then, the following State of California standards will apply:

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ADUs can be legally rented

ADUs can not be sold separate from the primary residence but may be rented.

Qualified nonprofit corporations can sell ADUs separately from the primary residence through a tenancy in common (TIC).

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Types of ADUs

Accessory Dwelling Units can be either: Attached to the existing dwelling, located within an existing dwelling or detached from the existing dwelling and located on the same lot as the existing dwelling.

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Setbacks + Passageways

Setbacks are not required for an existing garage that is converted to an accessory dwelling unit, and a setback of no more than five feet from the side and rear lot lines are not required for an accessory dwelling unit that is constructed above a garage.

Passageways are not required in conjunction with the construction of an accessory dwelling unit.

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A few other rules...

Fire sprinklers shall not be required in an accessory unit if they are not required in the primary residence.

ADUs shall not be considered new residential uses for the purpose of calculating utility connection fees or capacity charges, including water and sewer service. Local agencies are prohibited from requiring an ADU applicant to install a new or separate utility connection or impose a related connection fee or capacity charge for ADUs that are contained within an existing residence or accessory structure. For attached and detached ADUs, this fee or charge must be proportionate to the burden of the unit on the water or sewer system and may not exceed the reasonable cost of providing the service.

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Where ADUs are Permitted
One ADU and one JADU (Junior ADU) can be added to lots zoned for single-family or multifamily use that contain an existing or proposed dwelling.
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Max Size

Total area of floor space for a detached ADU can not exceed 1,200 square feet.

Increased floor area of an attached accessory dwelling unit can not exceed 50 percent of the existing living area, with a maximum increase of 1,200 square feet.


Parking requirements are one parking space per unit or per bedroom. These spaces may be provided as tandem parking on an existing driveway.

ADUs do not need to provide any parking if they are:

  • Within a half mile from public transit. 

  • Within an architecturally and historically significant historic district. 

  • Part of an existing primary residence or an existing accessory structure. 

  • In an area where on-street parking permits are required, but not offered to the occupant of the ADU. 

  • Located within one block of a car share area.

No replacement parking is required for the main residence when a garage, carport, etc, is demolished to create an ADU.

These rules are only the basics.

Learn more about ADU rules and regulations by downloading our free "How To" ADU Guide. 

Download Our Free ADU Guide


See the specific 2020 California ADU bills


ADU Opportunity
ADU's are a huge opportunity for individual home owners to provide new housing units in their own backyard. Homes that can serve as a:
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Granny Flat

Nearby, yet private residence for an elderly relative

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Crash Pad

Home for a young adult working towards affording their own place

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Additional income though long or short term rentals

Get Started