City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez is seeking to create an amnesty program for legalizing unpermitted accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in Los Angeles, according to a motion filed Tuesday.

Citing the need to remove barriers and create more affordable housing in Los Angeles, Rodriguez’s motion said that the city’s current requirement for an unpermitted structure to first be permitted before being converted into an ADU “may deter many property owners from pursuing legalization.”

“In other words, a garage illegally converted into a residential unit must be first be fully permitted as, and returned to, a garage before the applicant can then apply to legalize and convert their unit into an ADU,” the motion states.

That process can be costly, time consuming and might not affect the safety of the final permitted ADU, according to Rodriguez.

“What I’m proposing that we do is cut the red tape in order to make it easier for residents to come forward and convert an unpermitted unit into a legal ADU, bringing it up to code for the health and safety of its inhabitants,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “In turn, an affordable housing requirement would be placed on their legal ADUs, which would ensure that Angelenos have access to more affordable rents. It’s a win-win.”

The motion, seconded by Councilman Bob Blumenfield, sought to waive the requirement of a certificate of occupancy “as the basis for ADU conversion and instead only require permit issuance.”

Over 25,000 ADUs have been permitted in Los Angeles since 2017, and the number of permits issued more than doubled from 2017 to 2021, according to Crosstown LA, a nonprofit news organization based at the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism.

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