Could ‘Granny Flats’ Solve LA’s Housing Crisis?

Former Pool House patio where Mrs. Obama adressed guests

Could ‘granny flats’ and ‘guest houses’ (also known as Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs) be the solution to LA’s housing crisis?  Locally, many of us have guesthouses which formerly functioned as household staff quarters. But many are being renovated for family members or “guests” who want to live in our quiet single family neighborhoods. Currently, it’s illegal to rent our your guesthouse if you live in an R-1 single family neighborhood. But now, Governor Jerry Brown and state lawmakers are trying to make it easier for people to do just that.

According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times:

Multiple bills with the endorsement of Brown are moving through the Legislature to make it easier for homeowners to build small units on their properties, whether in their garages, as additions to existing homes or as new, freestanding structures.

The proposals have won the support of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Councilman Gil Cedillo, who wrote a letter supporting measures from Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) and Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), according to the Times.

The bills would force cities to permit these “secondary units” or “granny flats,” eliminate restrictions like additional parking requirements for units near transit stations, and limit fees for hooking up to local infrastructure like sewer and water.

NoMoreMcMansionsInLosAngeles advocate Shelley Wagers told the Buzz that her group hasn’t looked into the bills in detail yet, but she’s a huge fan of multigenerational living. However, she’s concerned that ADUs could become “a trojan horse for rentals.”

Wagers understands why people love the idea of living in safe, small scale residential neighborhoods with single family homes. Bbut she’s worried about how the city would enforce any restrictions, to make sure the units are really being created and rented by the homeowners.

“This could be easily manipulated and dressed up as something else,” worried Wagers.

 

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About Patricia Lombard

Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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