SHERMAN OAKS, Calif. — In 2020, California changed its laws regulating the building of additional dwelling units, or ADUs. The changes now allow homeowners to construct new live-work spaces on their properties, or to convert existing structures like garages. 

What You Need To Know

  • California regulations changed at beginning of 2020, making it easier for homeowners to build ADU's

  • GreatBuildz co-founder Paul Dashevsky said more than 50 percent of ADUs building experiences were "negative" for the homeowner

  • Current ADU regulations allow for up to a 1,200 square feet for units

  • Dashevsky said approximately 15,000 ADUs are currently under construction in L.A. County

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, property owners are looking at ADUs as a viable and flexible option to create home offices, or to house tenants and family members in order to generate additional income in tough economic times.

Paul Dashevsky is the co-founder of GreatBuildz, a free service that pairs homeowners with vetted ADU building professionals. Dashevsky said the industry was seeing a need to improve the building process for homeowners who, according to his research, a majority reported having “negative” experiences while building an ADU.

“We found out that over 50 percent of homeowners surveyed after they remodeled had a bad experience,” said Dashevsky. “And that was just a light bulb that went off.”

As a large percentage of the workforce continues to work from home during the pandemic, home offices are growing in number, but many still want a work space separate from the primary home. A recent client of Dashevsky’s is a family psychologist who is now working from home.

“He wants to build an ADU so he can start taking clients in a safer space at home rather than at some other office,” explained Jon Grishpul, the other co-founder of GreatBuildz.

According to Dashevsky, flexibility is a big draw to undertaking an ADU.

“If you get sick of having a tenant, or maybe you sell your home, the next homeowner might use it as a guest house. The next homeowner might use it as a home office. The bottom line is it's a separate unit separate home on your property that you can use for whatever you want,” he said.

Homeowner Nick Antoni originally wanted a home office space on his property in Sherman Oaks, but decided there was more value in creating a rental ADU right now.

“I was realizing there was a housing shortage here in Los Angeles and it might be an opportunity to turn my unused space into something that's a little bit more meaningful,” said Antoni. 


Before 2020, it was more difficult for homeowners to add another living space on their property, but as the housing crisis worsened across the state, California legislature eased the process of building ADUs.

“There's over 15,000 of these ADU’s in process here. Just in L.A. alone. It's going to make a dent in our housing crisis,” said Dashevsky.

Paul and Jon said they are in no hurry to expand GreatBuildz at the expense of quality, but demand for ADU’s has allowed them to start including contractors from Ventura and Orange County into their network.