LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A new housing law, which makes it easier and cheaper for homeowners to build second dwellings on their properties, is changing the housing landscape in the Los Angeles area.

It doesn’t take long driving through the city to find one address made into two – main house in front, a second in back.

The new law is meant to ease California’s housing crisis by encourage property owners to construct ‘granny flats,’ also known as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).

State Sen. Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, who authored the legislation said it allows people to modify their existing homes, which will boost the rental supply at no cost to taxpayers.

Previous California’s ADU laws were marred by costly obstacles, including water and gas hook-up fees.

Ira Belgrade built his Hancock Park granny flat in 2009 after his first wife died and his life fell apart, he said

“I didn’t want to lose this house, and I had to figure out a way to pay the mortgage,” Belgrade explained.

When he could not get city approval for the unit, he rented out the two-bedroom, two-bath house any way.

“There are approximately something like 50,000 unpermitted units in Los Angeles alone,” Belgrade said. “People need these units whether it’s for to rent out or personal use. We need them now. We need the housing.”

Belgrade runs a website that helps homeowners, who want to build granny flats or convert garages into living units.

Meanwhile, the city of L.A. has its own pending ADU ordinance that could be stricter than state law.

Elizabeth Pollock, President of the Del Rey Residents Association, is counting on it.

“When you add a second tenant, there’s no infrastructure; there’s no control by the city of whether or not the infrastructure is there. The water, the power, the streets, the traffic control to protect the community.”

An L.A. city official told CBS2’s Laurie Perez that the number of requests for permits to build second dwellings has increased since the new state ADU law went into effect.

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