granny flats June 13, 2018 5:54 pm

The housing shortage on the Westside continues to raise property values. This is great for those that own property, but difficult for those that want to move into the area. Thankfully, there is a great solution known as granny flats.

Why Granny Flats?

Granny flats, in-law units, or accessory dwelling units (ADU) are separate living spaces attached to or on the property of the main home. Currently, thousands of people in the Los Angeles area live in granny flats. Here’s why:

  • An easy way to add more population to single-family areas
  • Source of income for homeowners
  • Lower costs for renters

With these great advantages, it is no wonder that ADUs are on the rise.

Building an ADU

New laws in 2016 have made it easier to construct granny flats. However, there are still many regulations that can trip up someone thinking about building. Here are a few things you should know.

  • If you own a single-family home, you are most likely allowed to build an ADU as long as you have enough room. The ADU must be 10 feet from your home and five feet from property lines. Keep in mind that each city can create its own rules, so know them before you get started.
  • You do not have to create a parking space for an ADU if you are within ½ mile of a public transit stop.
  • Granny flats can be detached or part of the existing home. To qualify as an ADU, the home must have a kitchen and bathroom, as well as its own entrance.
  • You can convert an existing structure, add to an existing structure, build from scratch or purchase a prefabricated unit.
  • Attached units cannot be more than the smaller of 1200 square feet or half the size of the single-family home. Detached units must be less than 1200 square feet. However, some cities on the Westside have stricter regulations. For instance, Santa Monica requires the ADU to be less than 650 square feet.
  • Be sure to get the right permits when building your granny flat. You may need to hire an architect to get accurate plans for consideration. Be sure to get a certificate of occupancy before renting out your granny flat.
  • Campers and RVs, even if they are hooked up permanently to electricity and water, are not considered ADUs.

Other Advantages of a Granny Flat

In addition to adding space and collecting rents, homeowners who put in granny flats may also see the following advantages:

  • Properties with an ADU may qualify for rent control if the original home was constructed before 1978.
  • You may be able to rent out your ADU using Airbnb and similar services. However, be sure to check with your city and HOA to determine if short-term rentals are allowed.
  • Creation of space for your own hobbies

If you’d like more information on granny flats on the Westside, give me a call. I’d be happy to point you in the right direction for laws governing the area.

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