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Everything You Need to Know About the ADU Accelerator Program

Five bills have been passed since January 1, 2020, that have increased the building of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). ADUs are municipal code speak for renovated garages, garage additions, stand-alone units, and conversions within the main house, including basements/attics (for the few who have attics).

Some California cities have historically had restrictions on ADUs. But a state law took effect in January 2017 that relaxed the rules for building these units in hopes of alleviating the housing squeeze. Los Angeles has reported a 1,000% increase in the number of permits requested by homeowners to build ADUs since restrictions were eased.

Here are the rules:

  • ADU's may not be bigger than 1,200 square feet

  • Only one ADU build per property

  • ADUs cannot be built between the primary residence and front street

  • When attached to an existing residence, the ADU may not exceed 50% of the existing living area

  • You must provide one parking spot per ADU

  • A stand-alone structure must be set back 5 feet from property lines and 10 feet from the primary residence. 

To qualify, the ADU must be designated for residential use. All single-family zones qualify, and some multi-family/agricultural tracts, so long as there is only one single-family residence there.

What is the LA ADU Accelerator Program? 

The LA ADU Accelerator Program pairs older adults — who are at risk of lacking shelter as a result of rising housing costs — with homeowners willing to provide a stable home by offering their accessory dwelling units (ADUs) as affordable rentals. In exchange, homeowners receive benefits such as referrals for qualified tenants, landlord support, and reliable rental income. 

This three-year pilot program (started earlier this year) is operated by the City of Los Angeles and has been made possible by a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies and a financial match from the City of Los Angeles.

The LA ADU Accelerator Program handles nearly every step of the rental process, from finding a tenant to ensuring stable rent payments. The program provides participants with the following benefits:

  • Easy application process: The program process will take homeowners approximately three months from application submission to tenant move-in.

  • Qualified tenant applicants undergo a rigorous screening and selection process before they are recommended to homeowners.

  • Tenants are willing to participate in the program for three years, providing homeowners with a secure and long-term tenancy.

  • The program screens tenants to ensure they can afford monthly rent payments and have a track record for paying rent on time.

  • Each homeowner receives a dedicated case manager to provide landlord support throughout the three-year term.

Homeowners receive the following monthly rental payments for their units:

  • Studio ADU — $1,117

  • One-bedroom ADU — $1,255

  • Two-bedroom ADU — $2,094

  • Three-bedroom ADU — $2,933


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