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The ADU Permit Process in Los Angeles

We’re answering the most frequently asked questions about obtaining an ADU permit in Los Angeles.

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As a homeowner interested in building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU)—whether by conversion or addition, detached or attached—you are likely curious about the ADU permit process in Los Angeles. After all, building an ADU (also called a granny flat) is not exactly a simple endeavor, and abstaining a permit is one of the first hurdles in creating this space-producing structure for your home.

South Land Remodeling is frequently asked several questions about the ADU permit process, such as what an ADU permit includes, why permitting is necessary and the ADU permit cost in Los Angeles. To better assist homeowners in their construction endeavors, we’ve answered these questions and more.

What Structures Need an ADU Permit in Los Angeles?

An ADU building permit in Los Angeles covers the following types of structures:

  • ADUs attached to single-family residences

  • ADUs converted from within single-family residences

  • New construction detached ADU on a single-family residence

  • ADUs converted from an accessory structure on a single-family residence

  • Junior ADUs converted from within single-family residences or detached structures (new construction, conversion of existing home or accessory)

  • Garage conversions (attached or detached)

  • ADUs converted from within multi-family residences

  • Up to two detached ADUs (separate or connected) on multi-family residences

Why Do You Need an ADU Permit in Los Angeles?

Homeowners need to obtain an ADU permit to ensure all construction is legal. Construction of an accessory dwelling unit without a permit is considered illegal. Homeowners who fail to get a permit may face consequences, including additional costs for demolition, insurance claims denials, loss of resale value, safety hazards, and possible civil or criminal prosecution.

How Much Does an ADU Permit Cost in Los Angeles?

The total cost of an ADU permit in Los Angeles varies by city. On average, an ADU permit costs approximately $3,000 in Los Angeles. However, in certain areas, such as Pasadena, costs can reach up to $20,000, depending on the structure. ADU design and square footage may also impact fees.

Who Can Obtain an ADU Permit in Los Angeles?

ADU permits are typically only issued to contractors with the appropriate licenses from the Contractors State License Board. A permit also may be issued to a property owner or an authorized party representing the contractor and/or homeowner.

What is the Process of Obtaining an ADU Permit in Los Angeles?

The process of obtaining a permit for an ADU in Los Angeles is arduous and time-consuming, requiring eight steps:

  1. For homeowners in Unincorporated County areas, determine here which county Building and Safety office or city has jurisdiction over your property’s construction projects.

  2. Homeowners within Los Angeles County jurisdiction should obtain approval from the Department of Regional Planning.

  3. Hire a licensed contractor to apply for the permit and prepare construction plans.

  4. Fill out the Los Angeles Department of Public Work Development Services Building and Safety Division’s ADU checklist with your contractor and review the guidelines.

  5. Apply for the ADU permit through the EPIC-LA website. Applicants must upload architectural and structural plans and Title 24 sheets. They must also include a Land Use Application Checklist. Find an exhaustive list of required documents here.

  6. The Building and Safety Division reviews and approves the plans. The office will also provide instructions on additional agencies that need to approve the plans. These agencies may include regional planning, the fire department or public works.

  7. Obtain agency approvals by submitting to each agency through the EPIC-LA website.

  8. Once all agencies have approved, the Building and Safety Division issues permits. During this time, applicants will be asked to pay the permit fees.

How Long Goes Getting an ADU Permit in Los Angeles Take?

Obtaining an ADU permit in Los Angeles typically takes several months. The timeframe varies based on the city, applicant’s plans and project scope.

Does a Los Angeles ADU Permit Expire?

A Los Angeles ADU permit typically expires one year after the application date. However, applicants may request an extension from the Building and Safety Division.

South Land Remodeling is a licensed general contractor in Los Angeles, who handles for clients the time-consuming and complicated ADU permit process from start to finish. If you’re interested in building an accessory dwelling unit at your address, contact us today for a free estimate.You can also check out our recent ADU projects for inspiration.


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