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

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LA adds unpermitted dwelling unit ("udu") law

On May 17, 2017, LA City Ordinance 184,907 became effective for an Unpermitted Dwelling Unit (“UDU”).   The unit(s) to be legalized had to have been occupied as a residential unit at any time between December 11, 2010, and December 10, 2015.  The ordinance sets up a program which is entirely voluntary and it allows property owners to legalize unpermitted units, assuming all life-safety conditions are met. In exchange for providing at least one low or moderate income affordable housing unit for each legalized unit (such as a Guest Room or Basement unit), the city will waive up to three (3) zoning requirements, (most owners will use this for parking and setbacks plus anything else that is needed.  The biggest drawback is that an owner must covenant (promise) to provide the affordable housing unit for 55 years. The new unit(s) would have to meet all current building codes. the affordable housing rents are much higher than one would expect - usually 3 to 3 times higher!  It would also boost the overall value of the property should an owner ever choose to refinance or sell.

City Council members and the mayor hope that "[b]uildings zoned as multiple family, including apartments and duplexes, will now be be brought to code while ensuring health and safety requirements, adding to our housing stock. We are in a housing crisis and need to use every tool within reach to increase our affordable housing supply" according to city councilman Gil Cedillo.

The Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department (HCID), the agency in charge of multiple units in the city, is currently working to develop a program that would defer some of their code enforcement proceedings, to allow landlord to bring their unpermitted units into compliance.

Unfortunately, the reality is likely to be quite different than the city leaders planned, as the law is so burdensome to an owner that it is unlikely to persuade many to utilize the new law as the new unit(s) on site may never pencil out.

Only time will tell.

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

I help people legalize their homes and apartment investments, and avoid costly consequences.

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