Legalize My Unpermitted Garage Conversion

Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a great way to generate rental income, increase property value, and get affordable housing. Ever since Senate Bill 1069 has been passed to declare these secondary units legal, more and more homeowners in the greater Los Angeles area have been benefiting from it to expand their housing options. Garage conversion has emerged as the most popular type of expansions in the city for being a flexible and relatively low-cost option as compared to other ADUs.

However, many homeowners do not obtain the required approvals and building permit prior to converting their garage into a living space and that unpermitted construction often does not meet city building codes and regulations. Such illegal conversions can create serious health and safety issues for the occupants, increase the risk of significant liability on damages from an accidental fire starting from it, and may lead to disclosure issues upon selling the house. As illegal conversions or additions not considered as part of the existing residence, they offer no added equity to the value of the property. In recent months, city building authorities have launched a crackdown on unpermitted expansions, specifically on those illegally converted garages, to ensure the health and safety of the occupants.


Obtain Permit For Your Unwarranted Space


How to Permit My Illegal Garage Conversion in Los Angeles

As a homeowner, you have two options to choose from with your unpermitted garage conversion or addition.

(1) Demo and restore your house to its original condition (in some cases)
(2) Go through the required process of legalizing your ADU

Since converting a garage into a living space is an expensive endeavor, the probability is high that you will opt to go with the latter option. Legalizing unpermitted units as ADUs can be done in Single Family properties and Multi-Family properties alike. There are a number of factors involved in order to meet the city’s building and safety standards to get your unpermitted construction work legalized. You will need the following steps to obtain a post construction permit for your illegal garage conversion Los Angeles.

Submission of Construction Documents

Submission of Construction Documents

You will be required to submit the floor plan, site plan, electrical plan, and the Title 24 report (energy efficiency) to the city’s building department for Plan Check Review. Depending on the scope of the work done, you may also be required to provide structural engineering drawings that show structural load distribution. Make sure that the drawings of as-builts are optimally accurate. The more precise they will be, the fewer comments the inspector will make during the surveying stage. It is advisable to hire an architect, a draftsman, a structural engineer, or an experienced design-build firm for putting together your documents and drawings.
Check Zoning Laws and Ordinances

Check Zoning Laws and Ordinances

Once the basic drawing of the plot plan and dimensions of the unpermitted structure is available, you will need to hold an over the counter meeting with the city’s building and safety department to see if your illegal work is within the city’s zoning laws and ordinances. The planner will most probably see the drawing of your unpermitted addition or conversion along with dimensions as well as the square footages to determine whether it complies with their zoning laws and ordinances. If it does, you may go-ahead to the next steps; however, if it does not, then legalizing your illegal ADU may not be an option. However, it won’t be the end of the world, and you can still take your chance and apply for a variance, an exception to the rules, if the city approves it.
Plan Check & Permit Issuance

Plan Check & Permit Issuance

Following the completion of drawings and other construction documents, you will need to submit them to the building department for Plan Check. During the process, the authorities will review the drawings to determine whether it meets their minimum requirements for building an ADU. You may have to wait for several weeks before you receive feedback on your drawings. You will be either granted approval of your plan or will be asked to address the corrections sought by the building authorities. The building permit, an inspection card that the city inspector signs during a physical visit to your house, is issued after the approval of the plans.
Initial Inspection & Necessary Repair Work

Initial Inspection & Necessary Repair Work

Following the issuance of permits, the city inspector will conduct an initial inspection to look at the elements approved on the plan, including structural and framing, electrical, plumbing, insulation, and HVAC. Based on his or her findings, the inspector will issue a report that may call for repair work if necessary.
 Final Inspection & Issuance of Certificate of Occupancy

Final Inspection & Issuance of Certificate of Occupancy

After the completion of necessary repair work, a final inspection would be carried out. If everything is fine according to the plans and the initial inspection report, the authorities will sign off on the building permit before issuing you a certificate of occupancy – a document which certifies that the dwelling is built in compliance with the city’s building codes and it is safe and sanitary for the residents.

Help in Legalizing an Unpermitted Garage Conversion / ADU

Legalizing your unpermitted construction work is a comprehensive and exhausting process; therefore, it is advisable to find a professional to help you through it. Being the leading design-build company in Los Angeles, we at Construction Consulting Services have the right knowledge to find the best way to permit and legalize any type of unpermitted expansion. No matter what type of unpermitted dwelling unit you are looking to get up to the code, we will go hand-in-hand with you at each step of the way to make the entire process as hassle-free for you as possible. Reach out to us at (323) 405-8909 to learn more about the process of getting a post-construction ADU permit or schedule an appointment with our ADU experts.

Help in Legalizing an Unpermitted ADU
Garage Conversion Contractor

ADU Amnesty Program

In order to meet the growing crises of affordable housing in the state, California offers an amnesty program to encourage the homeowners to legalize qualifying unpermitted secondary units.

Eligible Properties for ADU Amnesty

Take into account the following eligibility requirements applying for an ADU amnesty.

  • The ADU was constructed or converted before December 31, 2019.
  • An occupant currently lives in the ADU.
  • There is no permit application in progress to legalize the unpermitted unit.