accessory dwelling unit (ADU)/ granny flat: small manufactured or custom-built residential structures located on the lot of a larger home. Used for family member residence or rental income. #accessorydwellingunit #ADU #grannyflat @pat_clark @Nbuhayar @nate_berg
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Alexis Rivas opens his Mac laptop and zooms in on a 3D rendering of a house in Echo Park, a hip neighborhood in Los Angeles. Set off from the main house, there’s a small, modern structure that his company, Cover Technologies Inc., hopes to build. “You’ve got the kitchen here, a little stovetop, fridge,” Rivas says as he navigates around the 502-square-foot unit with his cursor. “And then we can take a walk around and go into the bedroom.”
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The housing crunch in many West Coast cities has revived interest in an old idea: the granny flat. Often called “accessory dwelling units,” or ADUs, the free-standing structures can be manufactured off-site and plunked in a backyard for about $150,000, including permits and site work. Some housing experts are promoting ADUs as a small way to address the affordability crisis in high-cost places such as Seattle, the Bay Area, and Los Angeles.
Lawmakers are warming to the concept, approving legislation to make it easier and cheaper to install ADUs. And unlike some other efforts to increase housing density, these measures generally haven’t been met with fierce opposition from antidevelopment groups. Perhaps that’s because ADUs can blend into single-family neighborhoods and let homeowners profit by owning rental units. . . .
In L.A., where a growing population is faced with rising rents and a dearth of affordable homes, backyard houses—known in the urban planning lexicon as accessory dwelling units, or ADUs—are seen as a simple tool to chip away at the problem.
ADUs, sometimes called granny flats, are nothing new to Los Angeles. Citywide, there are an estimated 50,000 secondary units on residential lots, from mother-in-law cottages to converted garages. But many of them lack permits, and many more potential ADUs have never come to fruition because of issues like the cost to build extra parking that outdated city codes required.
A series of state laws enacted in January 2017 lifted many of those barriers. As a result about 2,000 permits were requested in L.A. last year, a 658 percent increase from the average between 2012 and 2016, according to city data. . . .
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