Legalizing unpermitted ADU - Los Angeles CA

7 Replies

I recently purchased a 3/1 home in El Monte, CA that came with a 350 square foot 1/1 ADU. Build condition looks pretty good but its old so I'm unsure if it will meet code. Can anyone provide insight or share their experience with this?

Thank you!

@Ben Lue If its older then I doubt that it's a unit that was legalized under the recent "ADU" legislation. However, it's possible that it is still a permitted space. I would go down to the city and check the permit history to see if there is any information o the 350 sqft that you are referring to. If it turns out the that 350 sqft is not permitted as a habitable space, I would check out the El Monte ADU requirements ( to see what you can do to get it permitted as an ADU if you want to rent it out. 

Check out SB13 and what it states about unpermitted ADUs.  

 This bill would authorize the owner of an accessory dwelling unit built before January 1, 2020, or built on or after January 1, 2020, under specified circumstances, that receives a notice to correct violations or abate nuisances to request that the enforcement of the violation be delayed for 5 years if correcting the violation is not necessary to protect health and safety, as determined by the enforcement agency, subject to specified requirements....

Good luck

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@Ben Lue

I would check with the city, Long Beach for example just recently approved the legalizing of non permitted ADU's given it can be shown that the unit it up to code and that the current renters have been there for 2 years and are not being kicked out.

It varies by city but maybe El Monte has something similar

You should be able to do bring it up to code and get it permitted @Ben Lue esp under ADU laws. Will require some patience and elbow grease maybe. Good luck! Lmk after you spoke w/ the City if you need architect and contractor referrals.

Hi, I know this thread is older, but I have this same question. I have a permitted structure that was converted to an ADU and I tried to get it permitted as such last year. I had a non-responsive architect that took over six months to get plans and was not helpful in dealing with the city (Burbank). The online permitting process is confusing and difficult to reach a live person for questions. I gave up on it, so it's sitting there half complete. Now I'm wondering if I should expand the ADU or reconfigure it to include part of the garage, which would make the overall layout of the property much better for both units.

Any advice on this? Anyone have a good architect who is reliable and can help with the permitting?


Nicole Bussard - in situations where I've been unable to find the "right" person to approach the permitting/planning  process on a similar "difficult" project (when I don't have local/personal recommendations to turn to), I've had good luck searching local public records for recent permits (similar projects etc) and working backwards - find the contractor or even landowner who submitted permits, they will/may have an architect / engineer that they perhaps recommend or like to work with.