A Guest House - Is it Legal?

Reblogger Fred Sweezer Sr.
Home Inspector with Hud Certified 203K Consultant nachi10010504

The guest home maybe there, and refered to as a rumbus room with only a sink and toilet behind a two car garage. But the key question " is it legal?" this is the most important question to the buyer because this question is a deciding purchase decision of being respondsible getting the approriate permits if the seller have not done so. It is also a source of affordable rent for helping with the morgage payment. 

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Original content by Sharon Sanchez DRE#01206592

A Guest House - Is it Legal?   Yes and no.  There are several Los Angeles none Luxury Neighborhoods that have legal guest houses that were built prior to 1950.  These homes were built as an accessory to a Single Family Dwelling on the same lot. They have sleeping rooms, full bathrooms, but NO Kitchens. Somewhat similar to an original  hotel or motel - No Kitchen.  Also they're not designed for long term occupancy.  So using it as a rental property may be illegal, but using it as a Guest House as defined in the City of Los Angeles Zoning Manual and Commentary section 12.03 page 21 is legal.

  Los Angeles Houses


However,  it is quite common in Los Angeles for homeowners to construct a separate dwelling.  The workmanship may be professional, but is it legal.  Their listing agent may refer to it as a guest house, guest quarters or mother-in-law quarters. But the name does not make it legal.  The key word in the definition of a Guest House is No Kitchen.  


Small House in Los Angeles


Before completing the purchase of such a property, you may want to make sure you have a legal Guest House.  This could be accomplished by stopping by the city of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety.  There you could verify the permits and save yourself time, money and frustration in the future. 


So if you happen to have the opportunity to purchase one of these legal hidden gems, enjoy it.  It's like the hard wood floors under the carpet - included in the sale, but not in the price. 




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Sharon Sanchez, Broker-Owner of Ace Home Realty is a Short Sale Agent with the following specialized training designations:

  • Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE)
  • Certified Short Sale Professional (CSP)
  • Accredited Short Sale Designation (ASD)
  • Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR)
  • Graduate REALTOR® Institute (GRI)
  • REO Specialist Designation (RSD)

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Dinah Stallworth-Lewis
Priority Real Estate LLC - 318.332.8281 - Natchitoches, LA


This is a great re-blog.  I need to find out more information in my state about guest houses or mother-in-law suites and how they are viewed  here.  I always thought of them as legal, but after reading your article ...  i need to find out more information.

Dec 09, 2019 09:32 PM #1
Fred Sweezer Sr.
Hud Certified 203K Consultant - Long Beach, CA
Certified Home Inspector

Each State is different local laws that apply, there are ways to make an unpermited unit permitted and you will be in compliance.

Dec 10, 2019 05:06 AM #2
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Fred Sweezer Sr.

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