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Drafting l Design l Planning l Permits

Fairfax Ave. Home | Los Angeles, CA

Garage Conversion to an ADU.

This was an existing garage that was converted to an accessory dwelling unit with full plumbing located in Los Angeles, California.

We took this existing flat roof garage and converted it to an ADU to give the owners the extra supplemental income they were looking for. Keeping an open floor plan that marries the kitchen, living and sleeping areas will give this space a studio feel to rent out on a contract base, Airbnb, or for any guests to enjoy when visiting.

Converting the detached garage to and DU
Detached garage converted to an accessory dwelling unit "ADU"
ADU Option Description
ADU Options

Helping our Neighborhoods and The Housing Crisis

We are helping homeowners convert their existing garages to Accessory Dwelling Units aka "ADU" which is a liveable dwelling unit. While adding value to the propery and helping out the housing crisis you can potentially create two rentals in a single-family zoned home property and earn income. Thes ADU's can be used as long-term rental spaces, Airbnb just or just use it for family that comes to visit. The new law that allows a second dwelling unit called Jr.ADU has been in effect since 2020. In most cases, jurisdictions will allow separate addresses and utility hookups for the see ADU's and it all lies within the regional master planning of each city.

One-Stop-Shop for ADU's & JrADU's

We will provide measurements of records for your existing home to use as our base drawings to start your schematic design. After the client has approved the design, we will then send it over to our Title 24 energy analysis, and structural engineering departments for calculations and details that may be required. Once we have all construction documentation and engineering finalized we will print and coordinate all plans to submit for plan check to obtain a building permit from the City or County. All revisions from the City or County are addressed as first priority. Everything you need from drafting+design+planning to acquire accurate estimates for your ADU project build.

What Is An ADU or JrADU?






Detached Garage Conversion to an ADU.

Detached Garage Conversion to an ADU.

Basement Conversion to an ADU.

Attached Garage Conversion to an ADU.





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Rentals | Airbnb

Homeowners can now legally build or convert a garage or even that guest house to a second dwelling unit (granny flat) to allow supplemental income after a new State Law was signed by our Governor Brown in January 2017 in an effort to reduce long commutes in the greater Los Angeles areas by renting it out to a nurse who works or student who goes to a college nearby you can even put it up for an Airbnb rental.

Wait, wait that's not all now you can even build or have what is called a Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit "JrADU". That means you can have a total of 2 rentals on your single-family home.

We can assist you to apply for the Accessory Dwelling Unit "ADU" or Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit "JrADU', and obtain a building permit from your local City or County agency for construction to begin.

PDC l Design+Drafting will help you convert an existing

garage or recreation room to an Accessory or Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit.

Call us or read below for more information

• • • • • • • • • •

California Department of
Housing and Community Development

ADU Policy

Accessory Dwelling Unit


New Law Ordinance-

Read below for new law regulations;


Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance;
On September 27th, 2016, Governor Brown signed two accessory dwelling unit bills into State law, Assembly Bill (AB) 2299 and Senate Bill (SB) 1069 that amended the State’s existing second unit law (Government Code Section 65852.2). These amendments to the existing second unit law go into effect on January 1, 2017. The new version of State law makes clear that City ordinances that do not align with state law shall be “null and void” and that, until which time a jurisdiction adopts its own ordinance, in accordance with State law, the state standards specified in section 65852.2 shall be enforced.

In response to these changes in state law, the Department of City Planning has prepared a new ordinance which is expected to be heard by the City Planning Commission (CPC) on December 15, 2016. Due to the time frame imposed by the new State law, the City is moving quickly to discuss this important topic.

In addition to following the regulations established in the City’s new ordinance, any future Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) would also need to conform to the parcel’s zoning regulations including floor area, bulk, and height. The floor area devoted to an ADU is counted against the total floor area permitted on a parcel. The Department of City Planning’s new Baseline Mansionization (BMO) and Baseline Hillside Ordinances (BHO) are currently pending council review and will further regulate the size of ADUs.


Second units, now called accessory dwelling units (ADUs), have been identified by the State as providing an important housing option to both potential renters and homeowners. They typically cost less than other types of housing, provide convenient housing for family members, help ease a severe rental housing deficit, maximize limited land resources and existing infrastructure, and assist homeowners with supplemental income.

California’s second-unit law was first enacted in 1982 to encourage the creation of second units while maintaining local control and flexibility. In 2002, the State enacted AB 1866 that updated the second-unit law to require that local governments must allow second units on both single-family lots and multi-family lots through a by-right process.

In 1985, the City adopted L.A.M.C. 12.23 W.43 and W.44 which permitted second units only in limited circumstances through a conditional use permit process. Due to the 2002 changes in State law the City prepared two memos, one in 2003 and the second one in 2010, that sought to align the City’s practices with the state’s by-right process. The City was recently challenged on the legality of the second of the two memos and in September of this year the City Council directed the City Planning Department to prepare a new Zoning Administrator Interpretation (ZAI) that would supersede the previous memos and provide a by-right pathway for ADUs that adhered to certain standards established in the original LAMC 12.23 W. 43 and W44 ordinance from 1985.

In response to the council request, ZAI 2016-4167 was published on November 2, 2016, and will be in effect until December 31, 2016, at which time the new State law will go into effect. Any new ordinance adopted by the City must be consistent with this new State law. Once the City adopts its own new ordinance the City’s ordinance will be the prevailing local regulations for ADUs. In preparing its own ordinance the City, per State law, may modify certain state standards but must adhere to others.



Accessory Dwelling Units are:
• Not allowed in Hillside areas.
• Not allowed between the front of the primary residence and the street.
• Only allowed in zones that allow residential uses with an existing single-family residence.
• Limited to only one per lot.
• Limited in size, to 50% of the primary residence, and up to a maximum of 1200 sq. ft.
• Required to meet all underlying zoning and land use regulations.


Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit


New Law Ordinance-

Read below for new law regulations;


Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance;

The Legislature further updated ADU and JADU law effective January 1, 2020

What are ADUs?

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) have been known by many names: granny flats, in-law units, backyard cottages, secondary units and more. No matter what you call them, ADUs are an innovative, affordable, effective option for adding much-needed housing in California. HCD is the state’s leader on local ADU ordinances, which — while optional — have grown exponentially in number as more cities, counties, and homeowners become interested in ADUs as one solution to increasing the supply of affordable housing.

What are the benefits of ADUs?

  • ADUs are an affordable type of home to construct in California because they do not require paying for land, major new infrastructure, structured parking, or elevators.

  • ADUs can provide a source of income for homeowners.

  • ADUs are built with cost-effective wood frame construction, which is significantly less costly than homes in new multifamily infill buildings.

  • ADUs allow extended families to be near one another while maintaining privacy.

  • ADUs can provide as much living space as many newly-built apartments and condominiums, and they’re suited well for couples, small families, friends, young people, and seniors.

  • ADUs give homeowners the flexibility to share independent living areas with family members and others, allowing seniors to age in place as they require more care.

What are JADUs?

Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs) are allowed to be created within the walls of a proposed or existing single-family residence and shall contain no more than 500 square feet. JADU's offers additional housing options. They may share central systems, contain a basic kitchen utilizing small plug-in appliances, may share a bathroom with the primary dwelling, all to reduce development costs. JADU's present no additional stress on utility services or infrastructure because they simply repurpose existing space within the residence and do not expand the dwelling's planned occupancy.

New! New laws effective January 1, 2020

The Legislature further updated ADU and JADU law effective January 1, 2020 to clarify and improve various provisions in order to promote the development of ADUs and junior accessory dwelling units (JADUs). These include allowing ADUs and JADUs to be built concurrently with a single-family dwelling, opening areas where ADUs can be created to include all zoning districts that allow single-family and multifamily uses, modifying fees from utilities such as special districts and water corporations, limited exemptions or reductions in impact fees, and reduced parking requirements. Please see the Accessory Dwelling Unit Technical Assistance memo (PDF) for more information.

Other recent updates to state laws for ADUs

Effective January 1, 2019

As of January 1, 2019, homeowners who created accessory dwelling units (ADUs) without the required building permits may have the opportunity to bring their ADUs into compliance. For ADUs that were constructed without building permits, local building officials now have the option to inspect an ADU and apply the building standards that were in effect at the time the unit was constructed. This bill: SB 1226 (Bates), adds Section 17958.12 to the California Health and Safety Code Opens in New Window, and with the application of appropriate building codes, may allow issuance of a building permit for the residential unit.

Technical Assistance Booklet

Information for cities, counties, other local government bodies, and homeowners interested in adding an accessory dwelling unit to their property.

Please note: The ADU Memorandum booklet is currently under construction to reflect recent changes to ADU law which became effective January 1, 2020.

City and county ADU ordinances and HCD review letters

Although cities and counties are mandated to permit ADUs and JADUs, they are not required to adopt ADU and JADU ordinances. However, any city/county that does adopt an ADU ordinance, must submit the ordinance to HCD within 60 days.

Sample Materials from Cities and Counties

Additional Guidance


External websites

You'll find additional resources at the following websites, which are hosted by partners who contributed to HCD's Technical Assistance Booklet.



for Accessory Dwelling Units

The state’s standards include a limitation on the size of an ADU. ADUs that are attached to an existing single-family dwelling cannot be larger than 50% of the existing living areas. Both attached and detached ADUs cannot exceed 1,200 square feet. The State law stipulates that no passageway shall be required in conjunction with the construction of an ADU and that no setbacks shall be required for an existing garage that is converted to an ADU. An ADU that is constructed above a garage will need to provide no more than five feet from the side and rear lot lines. In addition, per state legislation, existing accessory structures, with side and rear setbacks sufficient for fire safety, and with their own exterior entrance shall be permitted to become ADUs.


The state legislation limits the required parking for an ADU to one parking space per unit or per bedroom and permits the parking space to be a tandem space in an existing driveway. When a garage, carport or covered parking structure is demolished in conjunction with the construction of an ADU the replacement spaces may be located in any configuration on the same lot as the ADU, including, but not limited to, covered spaces, uncovered spaces, or tandem spaces, or by the use of mechanical automobile parking lifts. The state legislation further stipulates that parking cannot be required when the ADU is located: within ½ mile of public transportation; in a historic district; is part of an existing primary residence; or, when a car-share vehicle is located within one block.


The City’s ordinance proposes to exclude ADUs in Hillside areas. Furthermore, the ordinance would limit the square footage of a detached ADU to no more than 50% of the square footage of the existing single-family home while allowing at least an ADU of 640 square feet but no more than 1,200 square feet. In addition, detached ADUs shall not be located between the primary dwelling unit and the street. Furthermore, the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (BMO) and Baseline Hillside Ordinance (BHO), currently pending council review, will further regulate the size of ADUs.



Perhaps most importantly, the state explicitly states that an ADU must also adhere to the local jurisdiction’s standards with regards to height, setback, lot coverage, Floor Area Ratio (FAR), building separation, and open space of the zone on which the property is located.


It is estimated that many thousands of units have been illegally established by converting a garage or recreation room into a dwelling unit without proper permits. Such units are not legalized by the new ordinance and are subject to citation. However, some of these existing units may be eligible to pursue permits if they otherwise meet the requirements of the new ordinance and meet all building codes.

ADU Ordinance
JR ADU Ordinance
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