Help for Illegal L. A. Conversions, Construction & Real Estate Problems

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what's new - adu
Accessory dwelling units

“Want to legalize your garage, guest house, recreation room, granny flat, in-law suite or another part of your home for the new California State ADU Law (Accessory Dwelling Unit Law) in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Long Beach, Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena, Beverly Hills, The San Fernando Valley or the South Bay?”

Read this first…

 If you’re thinking about legalizing your garage, guest house, recreation room, granny flat, or mother-in-law suite to comply with the relatively new (2017) California State ADU law, I’m going to


1.  Explain a little about what the new law says

2. Answer a few basic questions

3. Then, how different cities and counties are working with it in different ways, I’m going to offer you a free 25 minute “The New ADU Law and You Discovery Phone Consultation” so you can get some guidance on how the law can work for you and your specific property, in your specific city.

On September 27, 2016, Governor Brown signed two Accessory Dwelling Unit ("ADU") bills into State law, Assembly Bill (AB) 2299 and Senate Bill (SB) 1069.  These amended the State's existing second unit law (Government Code section 65852.2).  These amendments went into effect on January 1, 2017.  In January 2018, two further modifications were made to the ADU law.

In response to these changes in State law, city and county planning departments across the state have been busy preparing new ordinances to try and counter the effects of the 2017 state law.

The new version of State law makes clear that city ordinances which do not align with State law shall be “null and void” and that, until such time as a jurisdiction adopts its own ordinance in accordance with State law, the state standards specified in section 65852.2 shall be enforced.

 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 which 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.



 What are the State Standards that a city must include in its own ordinance?


As long as there is a Single Family Dwelling on the property …


  • The state’s standards include a limitation on the size of an ADU; those 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.
  • No passageway shall be required in conjunction with the construction of an ADU and 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.
  • Existing accessory structures, with side and rear setbacks sufficient for fire safety [it remains to be determined what this is per city/county], and with their own exterior entrance shall be permitted to become ADU’s.


State parking requirements for an ADU


  • The new state law limits required parking for an ADU to one parking space per unit or per bedroom and
  • It 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, as covered spaces, uncovered spaces, or tandem spaces, or by the use of mechanical automobile parking lifts.
  • Additional parking cannot be required when the ADU is located:
    • Within ½ mile of public transportation or
    • In an historic district or is part of an existing primary residence or
    • When a car-share vehicle is located within one block.


What additional standards are cities considering?

Of course, each city is different.  Based on current law, we can expect the smaller cities to try and adopt more restrictions than larger cities like Los Angeles or San Francisco.

I have seen some cities alter development standards such as parking, height, lot coverage, lot size and maximum unit size modified.  In Long Beach, they have completely outlawed ADU's in different parts of the city!

Local governments may apply development standards and may designate where ADUs are permitted (GC Sections 65852.2(a)(1)(A) and (B)). However, ADUs within existing structures must be allowed in all single family residential zones.


To get a better idea of what you can do to legalize your property or rental unit to comply with the new ADU law in your city and county, and if it’s the best choice for you right now,


Call me, Andy Baker,

 for a free, 25 Minute,

 Discovery Phone Consultation

We'll talk about the new law and its application by local cities and counties to see if it will work for your property and clarify:

  1. What the new law means
  2. How is it applied (per city and per structure – garage conversion, guest house or addition to the main house)
  3. How cities are trying to get around it
  4. Can you trust what city/county personnel say about the new law?
  5. And the best options for you to comply and legalize

I’ll answer all your questions and when we're done, if you want, I can show you a couple of ways I can help.

By the end of the call, you'll:

  1. Know what the truth is
  2. Feel more relaxed about your situation
  3. And have a much better idea of the legal and practical next steps you need to take to resolve your problem.

After working on over 300 code compliance cases in the past 8 years in cities and counties all over Southern California, I’m familiar with how the system works, what the codes actually mean in legal and practical terms, and how they are interpreted by different agencies, inspectors, city attorneys and district attorneys

Something most architects, contractors and builders are clueless about because they don’t have to deal with them every day.

And like I said earlier, this is a Legal Issue, not a construction issue.

Put all this together and it means your Free Phone Consultation is a good place to start.

If you’d like one…


Here are two ways to schedule your

Free, 25-Minute Discovery Phone Consultation


1. Call me, Andy Baker, now at 818-620-6023

I answer my own phone. If you get the voicemail just leave your name number, what city your property is in, and a brief message of what you're calling about, a good time to call you back and I will call you back.


2. You can also reach me by email at:

In your email please tell me your name, a little bit about you situation and I will write back to you.

Here's what a few clients say about my help

"After receiving a letter from the Housing Dept, I was in a panic!  i envisioned all the worst scenarios.  Andy quickly calmed me down and together we worked out solutions.  He was so knowledgeable and calm, he was just a pleasure to work with.  My experience with Andy was excellent."

- Ray B., Duplex Property Owner, Los Angeles, CA (last name withheld by request)

“I have hired Andy Baker twice to help me concerning my Accessory Building.  I am happy to report that I now have a legal ADU [Accessory Dwelling Unit] because of Andy’s help!  Very pleased.  Will use his services again for the lease agreement now that the legal process is completed.  I highly recommend his services.  His information has been completely accurate and helpful to me.”

- Pam Teeguarden, Homeowner, Cheviot Hills, CA 


"Andy handled a construction defect problem for me, avoiding litigation by skillfully negotiating a settlement.  He explained all the details to my wife and I, greatly easing our stress.  Andy wisely included a liquidated damages clause, and we  collected damages that exceeded the actual cost of the repair!  Anyone seeking personalized attention and professional legal representation would do well by Andy Baker."

- Donald Holcombe, Homeowner Sylmar, CA

"Andy provided detailed and personalized attention to our legal matter. With his legal advice and opinion he was able to turn our city government into retracting their initial order to demolish an accessory structure on our property.. We had gotten nowhere in 6 months. It only took Mr. Baker 2 weeks to get our city to respond. We commend Mr. Baker for his professionalism and look forward to recommending him to other residents in our city."

- Sandra Gonzalez, Homeowner, Paramount, CA

Andy provided me with all the legal information to get my guest house in full compliance with Building & Safety [and] legal issues will be avoided in the future.  He also helped me evict a problem tenant from a guest house.  He handed the distribution of relocation assistance funds through his escrow account to the tenant.  He also handled the LA Housing Department.  He kept me informed of my legal rights and accomplished all of his fiduciary duties with the highest level of care throughout the process.  Andy knows the eviction laws and the building codes inside and out.  I highly recommend Andy Baker and his services.”

- Nicholas Martinez, Homeowner, Van Nuys, CA

I look forward to helping you get some clarity and peace of mind about your situation,

Andy Baker
Code Compliance Lawyer
22287 Mulholland Hwy, No. 131
Calabasas, CA 91302
Tel. (818) 620-6023


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