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Contributor
RentVSBuy
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎08-17-2010
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Rumpus Room / Guest House..... legal ramifications for rental

Hey guys, in my search i've come across a few houses that have detached guest houses that are permitted as 'rumpus rooms' but they all have small kitchen spaces and bathrooms.  I understand a rumpus room is not a 'living space' and can't be considered a bedroom for purposes of appraisal but I know some people rent these out to strangers as another way of income and to help pay off their note.  

 

My question is, what are the legal ramifications of this?  Is it legal? If not, is it ever enforced? Are fines involved?  Seen a few cute little houses that have these 'rumpus rooms' in the back that would easy to rent but not sure what kind of trouble i would be getting into if i were to buy a property and do just that.

 

Any advice would be really appreciated or if someone could point me in the right direction....

 

Thank you all.

 

 

Silver Contributor
john72
Posts: 527
Registered: ‎02-19-2011

Re: Rumpus Room / Guest House..... legal ramifications for rental


RentVSBuy wrote:

Hey guys, in my search i've come across a few houses that have detached guest houses that are permitted as 'rumpus rooms' but they all have small kitchen spaces and bathrooms.  I understand a rumpus room is not a 'living space' and can't be considered a bedroom for purposes of appraisal but I know some people rent these out to strangers as another way of income and to help pay off their note.  

 

My question is, what are the legal ramifications of this?  Is it legal? If not, is it ever enforced? Are fines involved?  Seen a few cute little houses that have these 'rumpus rooms' in the back that would easy to rent but not sure what kind of trouble i would be getting into if i were to buy a property and do just that.

 

Any advice would be really appreciated or if someone could point me in the right direction....

 

Thank you all.

 

 


It depends on whose jurisdiction you are under and how much the neighbors despise you.

 

Literally these illegal....and they are illegal.....add ons are all over the SFV. Particularly rampant in Tarzana(at least north of the 101), Reseda, and any of the blue collar areas.

 

If your neighbor(or anyone else) reports it, a City of Los Angeles building inspector will come out verify it's use and if it has the proper permits. If it does not, there will be a hearing, the owner will lose, and the city will fine the owner and order that the unpermitted add on be torn down. I know this because it happened to the guy who lived across the street from me. He had a guest house in the backyard for about 20 years, but had to tear it down and pay a fine after another neighbor filed a complaint.

 

 

Contributor
shrpblnd
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎03-18-2011

Re: Rumpus Room / Guest House..... legal ramifications for rental

For it to be a legal rental, it must have a certificate of occupancy.  If it does not, and you rent it, the renter can actually get back all the rental fees he/she has paid, as legally you you can't rent an uninhabitable space.

 

It's very dangerous, but of course many people are doing it in order to afford their house.

Silver Contributor
hg213
Posts: 365
Registered: ‎07-21-2009

Re: Rumpus Room / Guest House..... legal ramifications for rental


shrpblnd wrote:

For it to be a legal rental, it must have a certificate of occupancy.  If it does not, and you rent it, the renter can actually get back all the rental fees he/she has paid, as legally you you can't rent an uninhabitable space.

 

It's very dangerous, but of course many people are doing it in order to afford their house.


Right.  Plus, if you rent it out, and there is a fire or some other calamity, you (the owner) will certainly be sued, and your insurer may leave you holding the bag because you had people living in an uninhabitable space, etc.

Contributor
RentVSBuy
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎08-17-2010
0

Re: Rumpus Room / Guest House..... legal ramifications for rental

Well i went to the LA building and safety dept today to learn what i can about this whole matter and turned up a few things.  Apparently its city law that an R-1 zoned lot can only have one structure as a living/inhabitable space if the lot is under 10k sq feet.  If there is a detached garage/rumpus room/workshop that is okay but it can't become a living space.  THEN the gentleman told me that under CA law, it is possible to have a second unit on a property as a living space (which totally conflicts with the city law) as long as there is a minimum driveway space for the second unit as well as a certain amount of space between the second unit and the property lines.... 15 and 5 feet i believe.  Apparently then the structure can become a second unit if things are up to code and its made livable, etc.  

 

Its funny to see how the state laws conflict with city in this regard.  The man helping me out said the city HATES the situation but has to abide by the state law. I asked him how that even makes sense and he just shook his head in a defeated manner.  It seems to me so much of all this permitted legal stuff flies under the radar that no one bothers to enfore it.  Even though, i would like a property i purchase to have a legal second unit for insurance purposes and for my own piece of mind.  So more research is needed.  Unfortunately the property i was looking at still would have needed some stuff done to even make it a potential second dwelling but definitely an interesting find.  It suprises me how difficult it is to find all this information online.  One would think it should be easily available and ready for viewing.  Am I just ignorant on where to look for said info??

 

Trusted Contributor
Belmontshorelvr
Posts: 160
Registered: ‎08-18-2010
0

Re: Rumpus Room / Guest House..... legal ramifications for rental

From a city planner herself (not with the city of LA but the rules are fairly similar):

 

John72 is absolutely correct regarding what could happen. In reality I haven't heard of people having to pay a fine as long as you rip out (or permit) the unpermitted items within the given amount of time (although you will be threatened with having to pay the fine since that is what motivates people).  

 

Second, the information you received at the city is correct regarding the State forcing cities to allow second dwelling units or as LA calls them "Accessory Dwelling Units". Surprisingly it looks like LA has yet to adopt their own ordinance regarding these units; check this out: http://cityplanning.lacity.org/code_studies/AccessDwellingUnits/FAQs.pdf. When a city fails to adopt regulations in compliance with state policies then the state's requirements automatically take affect. Here is a link to the Government Code outlining the regulations for second dwelling units: http://law.onecle.com/california/government/65852.2.html. So when you are looking at houses within the single family residential zones in LA that have these units check to see if it meets the state criteria and if it does you can go through the permitting procedure. The number one issue with these units is parking. Most cities require them to have at least one designated space and some require that it be a garage space as well. This designated space cannot be in a driveway or in the front yard! :smileyhappy: 

 

Keep in mind that most cities charge development fees for adding these units. The city I work for runs about $10,000. This does not include any building permit fees nor any penalties that B&S might charge since its an after the fact permit.