Building Junior Accessory Dwelling Units In Los Angeles – Is It Beneficial?

Building Junior Accessory Dwelling Units In Los Angeles – Is It Beneficial?
8 min read

Your single-family home can be converted into a triplex by adding an ADU and a Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit! So why aren't homeowners rushing to develop JADUs? These units have advantages and disadvantages, and the drawbacks have discouraged many homeowners. However, a junior accessory dwelling unit can be the best option for some property owners in Los Angeles. At ADU Builders, our goal is to inform you of every step involved in building an extra living unit, and if you have been thinking about a JADU, it becomes more crucial.

Benefits of Adding a Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit

A JADU is a means to legally convert a portion of your principal property into an additional living space that you may rent out to generate revenue. It's undoubtedly a plus! The maximum size for a JADU is 500 square feet if you're converting a room like a master bedroom suite or attached garage. The types of areas that can be converted into junior ancillary dwelling units have been amended by the 2020 state laws. They now consist of:

  • Master bedroom
  • Attached garage
  • Basement
  • Recreation room
  • Attic
  • Any extra room in the existing principal dwelling.

The 2020 JADU amendments also reflect the following:

  • The primary residence doesn't need to have an internal door connector.
  • The JADU does not necessarily need to have its own bathroom. It is possible for residents to utilize the bathroom located in the main building. However, they would still have to keep a door leading to the main home entrance if there is a provision of a bathroom with it.

Similar to accessory dwelling units, JADU licenses must be granted or rejected within 60 days of the city authorities receiving your drawings and blue prints. You may construct an ADU on your property in addition to a JADU.

Drawbacks of Adding a Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit

To rent the JADU, the owner must live in the primary dwelling. It's a condition that will always be part of the deed of your LA home and property. Owner-occupancy will no longer be necessary for ADUs, according to the new law, provided that plans are submitted to the local municipality before January 1, 2025.

But that only applies to ADUs. Junior Accessory Dwelling Units are exceptions and are therefore exempt from these conditions. Perhaps you have plans to live in the main building or to rent it out and stay in the JADU (both are permitted). So you won't have an issue. However, what about prospective homeowners? The deed limitation might discourage buyers from renting out both spaces when they buy a property in Los Angeles.

JADUs are unattractive to certain homeowners due to additional restrictions imposed:

  • The maximum permissible limit of 500 square feet might be insufficient.
  • The JADU must be wholly constructed out of already existing space in the main house; no additional structures may be built to reach the required 500 square feet mark.
  • In contrast to an ADU, you cannot increase the entry and exit space by 150 square feet unless your locality has a law that permits it.
  • Unlike an ADU, you might need to substitute that parking space if you are planning to convert a garage to a JADU. Contrary to an ADU garage conversion, the replacement parking location would be at the sole discretion of the local jurisdiction, and you may be advised to adhere to standard parking regulations.

Should You Develop a Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit Rather Than an Attached ADU?

Due to JADU regulations effective in California, some homeowners choose to construct an attached ADU in place of a JADU. They then enjoy all the benefits of ADUs, including the ability to expand and exploit the escape clause of an owner-occupancy limit. But consider this choice carefully. Your property may be your best investment. Therefore, it might not be reasonable to use the legally permitted ADU for an attached unit in the long run.

Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit Work Around: A Rec Room with a Wet Bar

Wet bars and small refrigerators are permitted in recreation rooms. The dwellers can share a bathroom with the main home, like a JADU. Alternatively, they can have a bathroom, which is only accessible from the rec. room. This kind of living area can be designated as "guest quarters" in some places in California, although they may have time restrictions on how long you can retain the room. You will require a permission to renovate the area, but it won't be the same as one for a JADU.

You must adhere to the similar building code requirements as would be demanded by the LA jurisdiction for any garage conversion to a non-ADU area if you have decided to convert your garage into a recreation room. This workaround for the rec room has the benefit of adding more space if you desire it. Since it is a home addition, you must comply with the local building regulations. After your house addition, the "existing space" would be broader and will be beneficial if you ever decide to turn your rec room into a JADU.

Since you are not officially adding more living space to your home, there won't be any need for additional parking for the recreation center. The only exception is if you convert a garage into a recreation room. In this situation, depending on your municipal jurisdiction, you may have to replace the garage with protected and covered parking.

Other rules for wet bars and recreation facilities often consist of:

  • A door from the recreation room to the main house's interior may be necessary.
  • Wall cabinets and counter surfaces must not exceed 10 feet in length (may vary depending on the situation)
  • A sink with a single bowl and a standard 1.5-inch drain ( no garbage disposal)
  • Only a small under-counter refrigerator
  • No gas or 220-volt AC power outlets near the sink
  • No electrical appliances other than a microwave

A JADU will undoubtedly provide you with a more utility kitchen. Because several of our clients are searching for places to put their parents or young adult children, we are bringing up the rec room option. These "tenants" might not be concerned with a fully equipped kitchen but yet desire the seclusion of their living area. They can have their privacy without having to deal with a hefty JADU deed restriction, thanks to the idea of a rec room. The recreation room may contain more living space for the homeowners to search for prospective buyers. And if you decide you want to include a chef's kitchen later; you can easily turn the recreation room into a JADU!

Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit Regulations: Experts’ Views

Many LA homeowners get confused by the rules governing junior auxiliary housing units. They must follow them irrespective of whether they make remarkable sense or logic. Any JADU or, for that matter, an ADU will require a substantial investment, so it's crucial to comprehend the rules and weigh all your options before beginning construction. The interests of your property are the main concern of our ADU professionals both at present and in the future. We'll go over every option with you such that you can be sure you're spending your money sensibly.


Want to look into your alternatives on how to begin your ADU or JADU additions in Los Angeles? For your specific project, our team is available to assist you in getting in touch with the top professionals who have been on our team for a long with their proven experience and unique skills. You are only a phone call away!

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