What are ADUs? | ADU Los Angeles housing solutions

ADUs are popping up all over Los Angeles and Southern California 

If you’ve been hiding under a rock the past few years ADU might not be a term you know. It’s been a common acronym used by realtors or anyone in the real estate industry. ADU stands for an accessory dwelling unit. They’re coined after any backyard cottages, tiny houses, casitas, garage conversions and more which would act as a separate dwelling.

In a nutshell, ADUs are awesome! They offer a uniquely sustainable solution to California’s projected statewide housing shortage (a McKinsey & Co. study forecasts our state needs to add 3.5 million new housing units over the next seven years); ADUs also represent an increasingly lucrative opportunity for home buyers and sellers. It allows them to maximize the price and long-term value of their property. A homeowner who decides to build an ADU can leverage a second dwelling as income to offset their home mortgage. Another benefit of an ADU is multigenerational living or office space.

ADUs are only getting more popular and it makes sense!

In 2017, a California state law went into effect. It forced cities to relax regulations around ADUs. This included easing restrictions on permitting, parking requirements, setbacks lines, public transportation, and much more.

Well, since then, building permits for ADUs throughout the state have surged dramatically, with Los Angeles leading the way. ADU permits comprise a whopping one-fifth of all permits issued last year.

This year, California state legislators again took up ADU reform. It expands housing choices and helps ease the statewide shortage of homes. Two bills – AB68 in the House and SB13 in the Senate – are currently massaging their way through the molasses legislative process.

Both bills, which are currently before their respective Appropriations Committees, are designed to help to facilitate the development of ADUs. The focus is to remove local restrictions from the permitting and construction process. This should ease the way for un-permitted ADUs to become compliant.

What does that mean for you?

This means the cost to complete your ADU could be significantly less expensive and a heck of a lot quicker.

SB13, which at the time of this blog post appears likely to pass both houses and make it to the Governor’s desk. This bill goes even further, prohibiting restrictive lot sizes, excessive setbacks, and punitive impact fees while shortening the time for planning departments to grant permits to 60 days.

The good news is that both bills are still active and both chambers have amended the other chamber’s bill. Clearly, the state legislature sees Accessory Dwelling Units as one of the easiest ways to ease the state’s housing shortage, and both bills have cleared all committee votes unanimously thus far. Yahoo!

What’s less clear is if we will see further action on these bills in 2019. The legislative session ends in less than two weeks, on September 13th. If the bills aren’t passed we’ll have to wait until next session.

The Shelhamer Group will keep you posted.

ADU Los Angeles housing crisis

A bit about the author:

I’m Glenn Shelhamer, a real estate broker originally from Florida and New Jersey but I’m an Angelino at heart. I own a 1907 craftsman home in Highland Park with my beautiful wife and two young children. People, homes, and architecture are my life. When I get all of them together, that’s when the magic happens.

David Clark - 805.280.1425​

I’m David Clark, a Californian, real estate advisor REALTOR®, and writer for the Shelhamer Real Estate Group located in Northeast Los Angeles California, the fastest growing real estate market in Los Angeles County. Connect with me for further information about this article, and to add and optimize the value in your property. Look for me on Instagram: @sellingnortheastla

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Based on information from the / Association of REALTORS® (alternatively, from the /MLS) as of [date the AOR/MLS data was obtained]. All data, including all measurements and calculations of area, is obtained from various sources and has not been, and will not be, verified by broker or MLS. All information should be independently reviewed and verified for accuracy. Properties may or may not be listed by the office/agent presenting the information


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Glenn Shelhamer is a licensed real estate broker DRE: 01950995 in the state of California and abides by equal housing opportunity laws. All material presented herein is intended for informational purposes only. Information is compiled from sources deemed reliable but subject to errors, omissions, changes in price, condition, sale, or withdrawal without notice. To reach The Shelhamer Real Estate Group’s office manage please call (310) 913-9477.

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