Mayor Eric Garcetti today signed a new law that will create more affordable housing and protect thousands of Angelenos from eviction by enabling the City to legalize certain unpermitted housing units.
There are currently thousands of occupied units across Los Angeles that were not permitted properly when they were built. This ordinance creates a path to legalization for many of those units, allowing the City to ensure that they are safe and habitable, without displacing families from their homes.
“Too many Angelenos are already struggling to stay ahead of rising rents — and we must take action to protect our communities, and keep families in their homes,” said Mayor Garcetti. “This ordinance will improve the health and safety of our housing stock, add more units to the market, and bring us closer to meeting our affordable housing goals.”
The new ordinance will use existing State Density Bonus provisions to legalize the unapproved units, once they have passed all necessary health, safety, and habitability inspections. The City will permit the units in exchange for long-term commitments from landlords to keep them affordable.
“Passage of the Unapproved Dwelling Units Ordinance is a small but significant step to address affordability in Los Angeles,” said Councilmember Gil Cedillo. “Buildings zoned as multiple family, including apartments and duplexes, will now be be brought to code while ensuring health and safety requirements, adding to our housing stock. We are in a housing crisis and need to use every tool within reach to increase our affordable housing supply.”
“The UDU ordinance is a common-sense solution to increasing the City of Los Angeles’ affordable housing stock and protecting low- and moderate-income Angelenos doing their best to get by living in unapproved units at no fault of their own,” said Councilmember José Huizar, Chair of the City’s Planning Committee. “This ordinance will directly benefit and protect those residents and their families while increasing our available affordable housing stock for others.”
To give property owners time to pursue this new route to legalization, the Housing and Community Investment Department (HCID) is developing a program that would defer certain code enforcement proceedings, while landlords bring their unpermitted units into compliance.
This new policy is just one piece of Mayor Garcetti’s strategy to solve the affordability crisis in Los Angeles. The Mayor has also called on the City Council to pass an Affordable Housing Linkage Fee — a fair, reasonable requirement that market-rate developers build affordable housing or contribute to the City’s affordable housing programs. This could add 1,000 new affordable housing units to the market every year-— about double the current rate of production.
Owners of multifamily buildings who have questions on how to pursue legalization of unapproved dwelling units can contact the Department of City Planning’s Priority Housing Project (PHP) program at (213) 202-5456 or firstname.lastname@example.org.