ADU conversion in East LA

7 Replies

Hi BP community,

Not sure if this is the right forum category to post about this topic since it is something only locals in LA could give advice for. 

So my client is buying a home with a garage unit that has been converted into a guest house. We call it ADU here (accessory dwelling unit). The conversion itself is not permitted from the previous seller and my client is looking into getting it permitted with the city. My questions are:

1. Upon closing, is it worth for my client to get the permit through the city? what are the risk and benefit? 

2. If my client is able to get the permit approved with certificate of occupancy, would the extra 400 sq ft (garage size) be applied to the total square footage of the house? would it become official on tax records and we can legally market it with the added 400 sq ft when she wants to sell down the road? this will boost huge value to the property. 

3. How long does it take to obtain the permit? 

This property sits in East Los Angeles and it is very common for properties to have converted guest house in the area without permit. Thanks a lot for your advice in advance.

Answers to your questions:

1 - Worse case is that the city decides it is not permitable and demands it gets returned to its original garage state. Best case is a few dollars in fees results in a permitted ADU.

2 - Many counties require an addition to be "attached" to the main dwelling in order to increase the square footage. Check with your city or county assessors office.

3 - Only the City of LA can answer that question.

Thanks rick. Looking into it with the city now!


Originally posted by @Rick S. :

Answers to your questions:

1 - Worse case is that the city decides it is not permitable and demands it gets returned to its original garage state. Best case is a few dollars in fees results in a permitted ADU.

2 - Many counties require an addition to be "attached" to the main dwelling in order to increase the square footage. Check with your city or county assessors office.

3 - Only the City of LA can answer that question.

Most of the time, making it back to permitted ADU is harder than it seem, it has to satisfy the current ADU requirements, things to look out for in Satisfying that ADU, the required parking for the front and back unit (garage in this case), and most of the time, the sq ft isn’t count toward assessors data, thus to discourage people from doing it.

Thanks Jimmy. I see that you are in San Gabriel... not too far from this property. so what would be the point of getting a permit if the updated sq ft doesn't get recorded?  I assumed it would

Originally posted by @Jimmy Yu :

Most of the time, making it back to permitted ADU is harder than it seem, it has to satisfy the current ADU requirements, things to look out for in Satisfying that ADU, the required parking for the front and back unit (garage in this case), and most of the time, the sq ft isn't count toward assessors data, thus to discourage people from doing it.

Great question, a lot of people can choose to not permit it and rent it out of use it as a granny quarter, getting it permit altho doesn’t add any sq ft in assessor data, but it will bring value as the unit will not encounter problems like demolish from the city, many will refuse to pay any value for non permitted add.

Correction, every city is different, alhambra doesn’t add the ADU into assessor data for sure.

With the sweeping legislation overhaul in Jan 2016 some LA ADU owners are going through the process of getting their illegal units permitted. (It's estimated that there are 50,000+ illegal ADUs in LA alone). The big thing the city cares about is that it's been built to code.

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