The short answer is… it depends on what type of ADU you want to build. But the longer, more complete answer is outlined below.
In the City of Los Angeles ADU permit costs are based on the estimated value of the construction being performed, and the number of square feet your project adds to the property. If you convert your existing garage into a bare-bones studio apartment you'll pay less than you would if you want to max out your allowable square footage and build a new, luxurious 1,200 sqft ADU.
I know what you're saying. "Why can't you just give me a ballpark number?" OK, since you asked nicely, below are two examples of what an ADU permit will cost you in Los Angeles.
ADU Example #1 - A 300 sqft garage conversion
In this scenario your not adding any additional square footage to your property. You're simply converting your existing garage into habitable space. The permit cost for a project like this would be as follows…
Project Value - $50,000 (This is the amount you put on the permit application, not the actual cost of the project)
New Square Footage added = 300
In this scenario you'll pay a plan check fee, permit fee, development fee, and a bunch of other development taxes. The total of all fees and taxes will be $1,840.19. In my humble opinion this is a bargain. The City of LA is allowing an extra habitable dwelling on your property, they're going to review you plans and send out inspectors to ensure your contractor is building the ADU per plans and per code, and they are only charging $1,840.19. This low permit cost makes a garage conversion a very attractive way to increase your property value and add extra useable space.
ADU Example #2 - 1,200 sqft detached ADU
In this scenario you are maximizing the amount of new square footage you can add with the City of Los Angeles ADU ordinance. The permit cost for a project like this would be as follows…
Project Value - $175,000 (Again, this is the amount the City of LA assigned to the project for calculating the permit fee, not the actual cost of construction)
New square footage added = 1,200
In this scenario you'll pay all the fees you pay when you perform a garage conversion, but since your new ADU is over 500 sqft you'll also be required to pay a School District Fee and an Energy Surcharge. The addition of those two fees, plus the much larger project valuation, will bring your total fee to $7,921.76.
Pretty simple math and the City of Los Angeles must be commended for making their ADU permits relatively inexpensive when compared to some of the other cities in California. If you are a homeowner in Los Angeles you are encouraged to build an ADU to help with the severe housing shortage and the City of Los Angeles is actually really easy to work with if you know the process and supply them with all the information they need.
Determining what a permit is going to cost you is just one of the many important steps required when performing your due diligence prior to building and ADU. Please call or email us if you're thinking of building an ADU anywhere in the Los Angeles area and let us help. We're helping homeowners just like you provide housing and increase their property value. We can help you, too!
We're ADU experts and know the ADU ordinance inside and out. Give us a call at (213) 423-0470 or fill out the form below and let's chat.