Do You Need To Legalize an Existing ADU?

Over the years by you, or maybe previous owners, the spaces in your home have transformed into spaces you needed.  Most don’t realize the spaces created were supposed to be brough up to code and permitted.  Basements in older homes were not built to be lived in but over the years many have been remodeled into livable space.

You may have an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) in your basement and not even know it! Did you have a permit for it? Probably not, most people were just remodeling unused space in their home for a guest room, older children or friends to stay.

A sleeping area here, a bathroom over there, slowly finishing a previously uninhabited space usually means adding framing, insulation and flooring. It also means adding a heat source, electrical outlets and plumbing. Once finished you think “that looks great! I should be a designer!”.  Maybe…but there is more to design than making a space look good.

Did you provide the proper insulation for your space? The appropriate flooring for a basement level of a home? And most importantly did you put in an egress window? This gives emergency personnel access to the space in case of an inaccessible doorway. It is essential in an emergency and is required by code. It could be as simple as providing a window with a certain clearance or as complicated as digging out a 3’x3’ area outside the window for a window well.

You do these things to keep people safe and maybe one day rent out your space.

But was it legally built? Did you get a permit? What type of permit do you need? Who issues these permits? And really…how much is it going to cost? Because you know it’s going to cost some money.

One consultation can answer most of these preliminary questions for you. We can take stock of items that are existing and can remain (turns out you did pick the right flooring for the basement!) and then we’ll take stock of what needs to change, be upgraded or added to make your basement apartment a safe, permitted, rentable dwelling unit!

After your consultation, if you decide to legalize your dwelling, call me! We’ll set up a time to meet and start the process by taking measurements and end the process with a full set of plans with all the existing and proposed elements to submit for permitting!

No penalties from the City. No, really.  They need lots more housing and ADU’s are one of the best ways to add to our housing stock. I mean there’s still the permit drawings and permit fees but you would have paid those anyways and in the end, if you need additional income you now have a fully permitted, livable, legal space to rent out.

Learn how to change spaces in your home by starting small.
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