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Los Angeles ADUs

Everything about building Accessory Dwelling Units in Los Angeles, CA

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Los Angeles ADU Guidelines Last Updated 10/13/20

The city government of Los Angeles has updated its local zoning codes to comply with the State ADU mandate.
The California Building Code (CBC) 2019 is adopted.


City Hint: The city permitted a total of 6747 ADU projects in the past year of 2019, which makes it above average for ADU production compared to other cities statewide.

Number of ADUs allowed:

Except as otherwise permitted by this subdivision, one ADU is permitted per residential lot.

Single family residential lots may be permitted up to one ADU and one JADU according to state AB-68.

Types of ADUs allowed:

Attached, detached and conversions of existing space are permitted in the creation of ACCESSORY DWELLING UNIT (ADU), JUNIOR ACCESSORY DWELLING UNIT (JADU), MOVABLE TINY HOUSE (MTH).

Lot size:

There is no minimum lot size for an ADU so long as a legal Single Family or Multi-Family Residence exists on the property.

ADU size:

ADUs: The Floor Area for a detached ADU shall not exceed 1,200 square feet. If there is an existing primary dwelling, the Floor Area of an attached ADU may not exceed 50 percent of the existing primary dwelling. No other minimum or maximum size for an ADU, including size based upon a percentage of the proposed or existing primary dwelling, or limits on lot coverage, floor area ratio, open space, and minimum lot size, shall apply for either attached or detached dwellings that does not permit at least an 800 square foot ADU that is single story and meets required setbacks.

JADUs: A unit that is no more than 500 square feet in size and contained entirely within a single-family residence.

Movable Tiny Houses: No smaller than 150 and no larger than 430 square feet as measured within the exterior faces of the exterior walls.


No additional setbacks shall be required for an existing living area or accessory structure, or a structure constructed in the same location and to the same dimensions as an existing structure, converted to an ADU or portion of an ADU. New construction ADUs require 4-foot side and rear yard setbacks.

A detached ADU is not permitted on front half of lot, except when located minimum 55-ft from the front line


Parking Requirements:

(i) ADU Parking. One parking space is required for an ADU, except that no parking is required for an ADU that is:
a. Located within one-half mile walking distance of a public transit. For this purpose, public transit means a location, including, but not limited to, a bus stop or train station, where the public may access buses, trains, subways, and other forms of transportation that charge set fares, run on fixed routes, and are available to the public; or
b. Located within one block of a designated pickup and drop-off location of a car share vehicle; or
c. Located in an architecturally and historically significant district listed in or formally determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places or California Register of Historical Resources or located in any City Historic Preservation Overlay Zone; or
d. Part of the proposed or existing primary residence or an accessory structure.
(ii) ADU Parking Location. ADU parking is allowed in any yard area or passageway. When located in a required front yard, the parking must be located on an existing driveway. Parking may be provided through tandem parking where two or more automobiles are parked on a driveway or in any other location on a lot, lined up behind one another. Driveway access areas located in the required front yard shall not be expanded to provide required parking. Other objective parking and driveway standards in the LAMC apply, including those found in Sections 12.21 A.5 and 12.21 A.6. However, Section 12.21 A.6(d) of this Code shall not apply to parking required for an ADU.
(iii) Replacement Parking. No replacement parking shall be required when a garage, carport or covered parking structure is demolished in conjunction with the construction of an ADU or converted to an ADU.

Fire Safety:

The ADU shall not require fire sprinklers unless they are already installed in the primary dwelling or the property is located in a special fire or hillside overlay, in which case, they may be required.

1. Smoke detectors shall be provided in each sleeping room, on the ceiling or wall immediately outside of each sleeping room, and on each story and basement for dwellings with more than one story. (907.2.11.2, R314.3)
3. Carbon monoxide alarm is required per 420.4 & R315.
4. Sprinkler system shall be required for the ADU if the existing dwelling has a sprinkler system.
2. The power source for smoke detectors shall be as follows:
a. In new construction smoke detectors shall receive their primary power from the building wiring and shall be equipped with a battery backup. (907.2.11.4, R314.4)
b. In existing SFD, smoke detectors may be battery operated. (907.2.11.6, R314.4)

An ADU is not permitted on a lot that is located in both a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone (VHFHSZ) and Hillside area 12.22 A.33 (c)(4)

Movable Tiny Houses are not required to have sprinklers, but shall follow the ANSI A119.5 or NFPA 1192 standards relating to health, fire and life-safety.

Shape, materials and style:

The ADU must be visually compatible with the primary home and the surrounding neighborhood. This typically means that the ADU should be designed to have similar exterior colors, materials, roof pitch and massing to the primary home.

Movable Tiny Houses shall have the following design elements:
(i) Cladding and Trim. Materials used on the exterior of a moveable tiny house shall exclude single piece composite, laminates, or interlocked metal sheathing.
(ii) Windows and Doors. Windows shall be at least double pane glass and labelled for building use, and shall include exterior trim. Windows and doors shall not have radius corners.
(iii) Roofing. Roofs shall have a minimum of a 12:2 pitch for greater than 50 percent of the roof area, and shall not be composed of wooden shingles.
(iv) Extensions. All exterior walls and roof of a moveable any tiny house used as an ADU shall be fixed with no slide-outs, tip-outs, nor other forms of mechanically articulating room area extensions.
+ Is licensed and registered with the California Department of Motor Vehicles;
+ Meets the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) 119.5 requirements or the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1192 standards, and is certified for ANSI or NFPA compliance;
+ Is no larger than allowed by California State Law for movement on public highways; and
+ Cannot move under its own power;
+ When sited on a lot, the undercarriage (wheels, axles, tongue and hitch) shall be hidden from view.


Height. The height of an accessory dwelling unit shall be:
A.) At least 16 feet, except for when:
1.) The height of the zoning district allows for greater height.
2.) For accessory dwelling unit is created entirely within the existing space of an existing, legal accessory structure, the maximum height shall be equal to the maximum height of the accessory structure.
3.) For accessory dwelling unit is created entirely within the existing space of a single-family primary residence, the maximum height shall be equal to the height of the primary residence.

Design review:

State Standards don't require any additional design review.

Number of Bedrooms:

Not specified by State Standards.


According to state law, the owner of the property is not required to occupy the primary home or the ADU.

Utility connections:

ADUs shall not require utility connections that are separate from the primary residence.

ADUs located where a private sewage disposal system is being used, shall require approval by the local health officer.

ADUs are required to comply with all applicable Building and Residential Codes for the proposed use.

Movable Tiny Houses shall be connected to water, sewer and electric utilities in compliance with applicable codes.

Coastal Areas

California Coastal Act. Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to supersede or in any way alter or lessen the effect or application of the California Coastal Act of 1976 [Division 20 (commencing with Section 30000) of the Public Resources Code], except that the Department shall not be required to hold public hearings for coastal development permit applications for ADUs or JADUs.

For coastal areas, please refer to the applicable Local Coastal Program at

Allowed Zones:

ADUs are allowed in all standard residential zoning districts.

No ADU is permitted on any lot that is located in both a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone designated by the City of Los Angeles Fire Department pursuant to Government Code Section 51178 and a Hillside Area as defined by the Hillside Area Map pursuant to Section 12.03 of this Code, unless it meets one of the following exceptions:

(i) The ADU is located within the boundaries of either the Northeast Los Angeles Community Plan Area or the Silver Lake - Echo Park - Elysian Valley Community Plan Area; or

(ii) The ADU complies with all of the following requirements: Notwithstanding Subparagraph (c)(10) below, the ADU is protected throughout with an approved automatic fire sprinkler system, in compliance with the Los Angeles Plumbing Code;

a. Notwithstanding Subparagraph (c)(12) below, one off-street parking space is provided for the ADU; and

b. The ADU is located on a lot fronting on a street that is improved with a roadway width of 20 feet or more in unobstructed width, as measured along the entire frontage of the subject property, after any associated dedication and improvement. In the event the ADU is located on a Through Lot or a Corner Lot, the lot must front on at least one street that is improved with a roadway width of 20 feet or more in unobstructed width after any associated dedication and improvement.

Lot Coverage

An ADU is not counted towards lot coverage, GSA or FAR. However, non-ADU structures shall adhere to the maximum zone or CSD lot coverage requirement.

Emergency Access:

Access. At the time of application submittal, an accessory dwelling unit in a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone shall be located on a lot that fronts a vehicular roadway that is 24 feet in unobstructed width from the property line to the nearest publicly-maintained street.

Minimum Space Requirements

Living/bedroom area: 70 sq. ft.

Bathroom (Must include toilet, lavatory and bathtub or shower): 30 sq. ft.

Kitchen/closets/hallways (Kitchen area with sink, stove, and refrigerator): 50 sq. ft.

Building Code:

Single-Family Residence Standards. An accessory dwelling unit shall comply
with Section 22.140.580 (Single-Family Residences), except Section
22.140.580.B (Minimum Building Width) and Section 22.140.580.C (Minimum
Floor Area) shall be superseded by this Subsection G.

Residential Building Code:

The California Building Code (CBC) 2019 is adopted.

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Size: 500 sqft


Appreciation Estimate = (Base Value: $) / (Home's Living Space: sqft) * (ADU's Living Space: sqft)

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We have our final inspection TODAY and do expect it will go well. We’ve been lucky to have a nice inspector. I’ll send you more pics this weekend!

Fiona K. in Bell Canyon, CA

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