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Frequently Asked Questions

Everything You Need to Know About ADU in Los Angeles & Neighborhoods

Public Works – Bureau of Engineering will determine if the JADU requires a new address.

For the purpose of implementing LAMC, dwelling, primary dwelling, or primary residence mean any single-family or multifamily dwelling

A single-family dwelling or use means a Dwelling, One-Family. A multifamily dwelling or use means any Structure with more than one Dwelling Unit or Guest Room, and used for long-term dwelling. Transient short-term rental uses established or used for less than 30 days are not considered dwellings for the purpose of implementing LAMC. Areas zoned for these uses means zones in which these uses are a permitted use in the respective zone classification.

Square footage, square-feet and size are used in the ADU Ordinance to refer to various direct ADU size regulations (such as the 1,200 square foot limitation). These terms refer to the definition of Floor Area in LAMC 12.03, but does not include the definition of Residential Floor Area (RFA), nor does it include any non-conditioned spaces such as porches, patios or breezeways with solid or lattice roofs. Physically connected spaces that are conditioned but do not have an interior connection to the ADU are also not counted as ADU square footage. This definition does not apply to a Movable Tiny House (MTH), which is subject to distinct size provisions as described in the definition of a MTH. Indirect limits on ADU size through other zoning provisions such as Floor Area Ratio (including RFA in the R1, RE, RS and RA zones) or lot coverage may apply separately which may further limit allowable ADU square footage. Refer to LAMC (b) for more information on applicable development standards.

Living area is defined in state ADU law as “the interior habitable area of a dwelling unit, including basements and attics, but does not include a garage or any accessory structure.”

Height of an ADU is generally measured as any other structure would be measured under the LAMC, given the governing height limit standards in the applicable zone, Height District, Hillside Area, Specific Plan area, or other Overlay. For the purposes of applying the 16 feet maximum height standard as required by state law (referenced in LAMC Section, and GC Section , height shall be measured according to the standard Zoning Code definition of Height of Building or Structure in LAMC Section)

Los Angeles County Tax Assessor’s records may be used to establish the square footage of the single-family dwelling for the purpose of calculating the required impact fee for the ADU.

The fee must be proportional to the average size of all dwelling units on the Lot. Floor plans showing the sizes of all units may be required to make this determination. An applicant may  choose to pay the full fee in lieu of providing these plans.

A JADU shall be identified as a JADU on Building Permits, Certificate of Occupancy and other pertinent City records. The addition of a JADU changes the designation of the One-Family  Dwelling to a One-Family Dwelling and JADU. For purposes of any fire or life protection ordinance or regulation, a JADU shall not be considered a separate or new dwelling unit per GC .  However, JADUs may be counted as housing units in reports to the Department of Finance as well as for the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) and other housing unit reporting.

The minimum size of an efficiency unit is 220 square feet, plus a code compliant closet and bathroom; however, the Ordinance does not specify any minimum square footage requirements  for an ADU or JADU, except for Movable Tiny Houses (MTHs). This provision refers to any other current or future zoning ordinances that would prohibit an efficiency unit ADU

Car share means a vehicle rental program designed for people to rent vehicles for short periods of time, such as a few hours, pay only for their usage, and access the car at any hour, not just  during business hours. The vehicles may be commercially or personally owned. Commercial car share companies generally offer a fleet of vehicles which may be picked up and returned to a designated parking spot, or are picked up and returned to non-designated parking spots. Personal vehicle sharing (peer-to-peer car sharing) allows private car owners to make their vehicles available for rental.

Some car share companies operating in Los Angeles include, but are not limited to: BlueLA, Zipcar, Ryde, Waive, Getaround, Transfr, PiTcarz, Maeve, Turo, Envoy, and  Animo. For the purposes of determining the applicability of this parking exemption, pick-up and drop-off locations are provided by the ADU applicant and verified online. If LADBS staff has  questions on information an applicant supplies to demonstrate a car share program or location, they should consult with the Department of Transportation.

Mixed-use zone refers to any zone classification that allows for both residential and nonresidential uses on the same Lot.

Walking distance is measured by the shortest distance that can be traveled by walking on public streets and sidewalks from a transit stop to the closest point on the subject Lot, as determined by  generally available mapping systems, such as Google Maps.

For the purpose of this provision, in conjunction means when a building permit application to remove covered parking and a building permit application for the construction of an ADU on the  same Lot are submitted at the same time, or where one building permit application is submitted while the other building permit application or building permit is still open and valid.

The defined passageway and space between buildings regulation does not apply to the ADU or  any residential building on the same Lot during the approval or construction of an ADU, whether through a zoning review, building permit plan check or inspection.  In the event that new (non-ADU) structures or additions to structures are constructed on the site subsequent to the creation of the ADU, any applicable regulations pertaining to passageways or  space between buildings would apply to the new structure or addition, consistent with the Zoning Code standards in place at the time that the plan check fee for the structure or addition is paid in  accordance with LAMC.

Automobile parking is not required for ADUs created within an existing or proposed main home or an existing accessory structure. ADU parking may be required if the ADU exceeds the existing square footage of an existing main home (primary residence) or accessory structure, as well as for a newly constructed detached ADU. Other parking waivers in LAMC may also apply.

State law allows a local ADU ordinance to establish certain ADU development standards. However, these standards shall not include minimum lot size. Therefore, a minimum Lot size requirement for a given zone classification shall not be the basis of a denial of a new ADU.

LAMC states that a MTH shall be approved if in compliance with all of the provisions in Paragraph (c), except for those provisions that apply solely to buildings and  structures (as well as all of the provisions in Paragraph (f)). This is because MTHs are not considered “structures” under the Zoning Code or Building Code. The following standards in  LAMC do not apply to MTHs, as they apply solely to buildings and structures (LADBS may determine that other standards do not apply to MTHs):

  • Building Code regulations
  • Fire sprinkler requirements

No, this provision applies if either additional dwelling units or guest rooms are added to a lot after the creation of the ADU or JADU.

The proposed conversion will be subject to all zoning code and fire sprinkler regulations in place at the time of the proposed change of use. If the ADU or JADU was constructed within an existing  building, non-conforming rights from the building and use that existed prior to the ADU or JADU may be considered at the discretion of LADBS.

Yes, the Lot may contain any other residential use(s), in addition to the non-residential uses and accessory residential uses

No, the LAMC does not permit deviations from development standards provided in LAMC (Exceptions) because these provisions are already exceptions from the Code; however, an ADU may request the appropriate entitlement(s) to deviate from development standards provided in other sections of the Code that are not specifically defined in LAMC.

No, the LAMC does not permit deviations from development standards provided in LAMC (Exceptions) because these provisions are already exceptions from the Code; however, an ADU may request the appropriate entitlement(s) to deviate from development standards provided in other sections of the Code that are not specifically defined in LAMC.

At this point in time every LA zoned residential in LA County is allowed to have up to three dwellings. One primary dwelling, one ADU and one JADU. The ADU can be up to 1,200 square feet if detatched from the primary unit, or up to 50% of the primary dwelling square footage if it is attached. The JADU can be up to 500 square feet and needs to be built within the framework of either the primary or ADU.

Yes, in all cases a building permit is required. Property owners interested in constructing an Accessory Home on their property are encouraged to speak with our Accessory Home team prior to preparing construction documents, to discuss your concept and verify what permits will be needed

An attached Accessory Home may be up to fifty percent of the existing living area of the primary residence. A detached Accessory Home is limited to a maximum total floor area of 1,200 square feet.

Yes, tiny homes are permitted in LA County.

At this point in time every parcel zoned residential in LA County is allowed to have up to three dwellings. One primary dwelling, one accessory home (ADU) and one Junior ADU (JADU). 

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ADU in Los Angeles

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KN Remodeling is a certified and qualified renovation company that provides renovation services to all people of Los Angeles, Woodland Hills, Simi valley, Thousand oaks, and its environs. As a full time company, we offer a wide range of services and products tailored to make your home beautiful. From replacement of kitchen counter-tops to bathroom flooring, KN Remodeling, does it all. We take pride in what we do and we are always glad to put a smile on your face each time you ask for our services. That is why we have a showroom with certified designers and kitchen remodelers who guide you in deciding what’s best for your bathroom or kitchen. We make our customers feel at home by giving them a wide range of remodeling designs to choose from and we always renovate your home with your needs and wants in mind.