New laws have been enacted in California over the past couple of years to help deal with the state’s serious shortage of affordable housing. These laws have eased the restrictions around accessible dwelling units (ADUs).
This has allowed people to turn garages, storage spaces and other structures into ADUs in addition to being able to construct new ADUs. However, they still have to be legally “habitable” if someone is going to live there. You could be fined for even letting someone spend the night in a garage if it doesn’t meet the requirements, let alone rent it out to someone to live in.
Some basic requirements for making a garage habitable
City and county requirements vary throughout the state for spaces that are used as areas to live and sleep. These include requirements for natural ventilation and light, window size, ceiling height and temperature. To be “habitable,” a space must have plumbing, electrical outlets and more.
A garage that’s turned into a living space can no longer be used to park vehicles. That could mean having to close off a driveway. Further, some things, like water heaters and furnaces, may have to be removed.
Whether you’re planning to convert a garage or other space into an ADU to rent or you’re planning to build one on your property, it’s crucial to know and follow all of the appropriate permits, zoning and other legal requirements. Otherwise, you could find yourself hit with substantial fines and potentially even a lawsuit if someone is harmed because they were living in an unsafe place. The best way to avoid all of these issues and have an ADU that will bring you some income is to have experienced legal guidance.