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ADU Zoning in Los Angeles

Updated: Feb 16, 2023

Accessory Dwelling Unit Zoning In Los Angeles

For you're reading this article, we assume you're interested in Accessory Dwelling Units. But even before starting to build, you must understand the different ADU zoning rules, regulations, and guidelines governing the construction of these structures, also known as the granny flats or the in-law units. California state law governs the construction of granny flats in Los Angeles. The bill was challenging for homeowners to interpret. Therefore, it became difficult to understand these local zoning codes and decide whether to build a granny flat or not. Luckily, a new law that clarifies a lot of points came to effect in January 2020. Los Angeles city government updated its local zoning codes to comply with the state law governing in-law unit construction.

Number of Accessory Units Allowed

ADU Zoning in Los Angeles allows you to construct one accessory dwelling unit per residential lot unless authorized otherwise by the subdivision. According to state AB-68, single-family residential lots are allowed to build up to one granny flats and one Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit. Multi-family residents are now allowed to add one more granny flats per every four residential units.

Types of Accessory Units Allowed

The new law permits you to build an attached or detached In-law units, junior granny flats, and Movable Tiny Houses (MTHs). You may create a granny flat a new or convert an existing space, while JADU must be a conversion of an existing space.

Required Lot Size

Single and multi-family residences are not subject to any minimum lot size according to the new legislation.

Accessory Unit Size

The new ADU zoning rules allow you to construct up to 1200 square feet for the detached Accessory Dwelling Units. The floor area should not exceed 50% that of the primary structure for the attached in-law units. Also, zoning in Los Angeles allows you a Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit building of up to 500 square feet. For both granny flats and JADU, the minimum size of your habitable unit is 150 square feet.

Construction Setbacks

Los Angeles ADU zoning requires no setbacks for in-law units resulting from garage conversions. For a detached accessory structure, the new legislation allows 4 feet setbacks from the rear and sidelines.

Required Accessory Unit Parking

The law allows you to provide one parking space per one in-law unit or bedroom. There is no need to provide parking where;

  • The ADU is half-mile away from public transit.

  • The location of the accessory structure is in an architecturally and historically significant district.

  • The in-law unit is part of an existing principal residence or an existing granny structure.

  • The accessory structure is one block away from a car share point.

  • Tandem parking on an existing driveway is possible.

ADU zoning in LA requires no replacement parking during garage conversions into an accessory unit.

Fire Safety

Your accessory structures are not to install fire sprinklers unless it is a requirement for the primary dwelling. Movable tiny houses do not have fire sprinklers but must comply with the standards relating to health, fire, and safety.

Shape, Materials and Style Restrictions

Your structure must be visually compatible with your primary dwelling and neighborhood, according to ADU zoning in LA. The accessory structure must have the same color, materials, and other exterior characteristics as the prime unit.

Maximum Accessory Dwelling Unit Height

The height of your granny flats will be at least 16 feet and a maximum of 25 feet unless;

  • Los Angeles ADU zoning allows greater heights.

  • The granny flat is entirely inside another legal accessory structure.

  • The accessory unit is wholly inside the primary unit.

Design Review

Additional design review is not a requirement in the new legislation.

Number of Bedrooms Allowed

The new state law doesn't provide for the number of bedrooms permitted.


The new legislation ensures that the property owner is not required to occupy the primary unit or the granny flat.

Utility Connections

  • Granny flats will not require a separate utility connection from the prime unit.

  • Accessory structures will require local health officer

  • In-law units are to comply with all Building and Residential Codes.

  • Movable Tiny Houses are to connect water, sewer, and electricity.

Allowed Zones

Construction of granny flats is permitted in all residential zoning districts unless otherwise indicated by the law.

Residential Building Code

The Construction of In-law units in Los Angeles adopts the California Building Code (CBC)




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