United Dwelling-Turn Your Garage Into An ADU

United Dwelling-Turn Your Garage Into An ADU

At No Up Front Cost To You In Los Angeles County

Written By Janet Thome

United Dwelling- Housing Innovation Challenge Winner- partners with homeowners to transform their  garage into an affordable, high-quality home at no cost to you. You’ll receive additional income from monthly rent and an overall increase in your property value. With 236,000 detached two-car garages in LA County, the vision is to convert 3,000 garages to ADUs by 2022.

Winner Of The Los Angeles County Housing Challenge

From among 53 proposals evaluated by a panel of experts, United Dwelling was awarded $1,000,000 for our innovative idea to address the affordable housing crisis.

United Dwelling will use 100% of the award money to offer housing for tenants with lower paying service-oriented careers in fields like public education, healthcare, and social work. They will  achieve this by increasing payments to homeowners up to $500 per month if they accept a tenant with a housing voucher in select neighborhoods.

The New Face A Homelessness

The new face of homelessness are fully employed families and individuals that cannot afford to put a roof over their head. United Dwelling is looking to help the working poor.

How United Dwelling Works

  • Homeowners sign an agreement to lease their garage and receive a portion of the rent United
  • United Dwelling obtains all permits
  • Manages the remodeling process
  • They pay for the conversion
  • They find a vetted tenant
  • Handle all property management


  • No upfront cost, No Hassle
  • Licensed contractor, Modative Build Inc.
  • Reliable source of income
  • Increase your property value from $140,000 to $ 200,000
  • Strengthen your community and be a part of the solution

What Is An ADU?

New California state laws allow homeowners to convert their garage or build a new rental home known as an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU). By transforming your backyard into additional housing, you’re helping making a profound and positive change to your community with the benefits of increasing your property value and building long term equity through rental income.

Governor Gavin Newsom Signs 18 Bills to Boost Housing Production October 9th, 2019

The construction of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) can also help cities meet their housing goals and increase the state’s affordable housing supply. The Governor signed the following bills to eliminate barriers to building ADUs:

  • AB 68 by Assembly member Philip Ting (D-San Francisco) makes major changes to facilitate the development of more ADUs and address barriers to building. The bill reduces barriers to ADU approval and construction, which will increase production of these low-cost, energy-efficient units and add to California’s affordable housing supply
  • AB 881 by Assembly member Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) removes impediments to ADU construction by restricting local jurisdictions’ permitting criteria, clarifying that ADUs must receive streamlined approval if constructed in existing garages, and eliminating local agencies’ ability to require owner-occupancy for five years.

From the office of Governor Gavin Newsom

United Dwelling FAQ

Founder And CEO

Steven Dietz, previously co-founded Upfront Ventures and spent 30 years as a leading VC investor in Southern California financing and counseling some of the best entrepreneurial talent in the country. Mr. Dietz and his team team funded over 220 start-ups that now employ more than 530,000 people in the US, including 30,000 in LA County alone.  Of those 220 companies multiple have become household names including Costco, Starbucks, Petsmart, Ulta Beauty, Bird, Mitu and Office Depot. Many of these companies rank among the most socially conscious and best places to work in the US.

Call For A Free Consultation 310 853 5936

United Dwelling Website

Symbium Build: Plan Your ADU in Seconds

Symbium Build: Plan Your ADU in Seconds

ADU San Francisco Symbium Build Meetup October 9th, 2019

Written By Janet Thome

Symbium Build- a  Computational Law company, has created a portal that makes it easy for anyone to quickly assess if it is feasible to develop an ADU on any parcel and displays the applicable development standards. The service is available in California.

The Symbium Build portal is a service for homeowners, designers, architects, developers,  planners and city staff  that will streamline the ADU process so that relevant laws and regulations are presented in an easy to understand visual format.

Symbium Build Portal

What are ADUs?

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are known by many names: granny flats, in-law units, backyard cottages, secondary units and more. No matter what you call them, ADUs are an innovative, affordable, effective option for adding much-needed housing in California.

Meetup Details

If you love tiny homes and are interested in the accessory dwelling unit ( ADU) movement, join Symbium Build at their inaugural Meetup. Network with tiny home and ADU enthusiasts, homeowners, design professionals. Non alcoholic drinks and snacks will be served.

Address And Time Of Meetup: 5pm to 7pm: October 9th, 2013

149 New Montgomery St.
San Francisco, Ca,

Check in with the lobby attendant. Go to the 4th floor. Check in closes at 6pm.

Join The ADU Enthusiasts Group

 Symbium Build Allows

  • Anyone to determine whether a ADU is allowed on a particular property
  • Understand the development standards that apply
  • Understand the ensuing processes to build an ADU
  •  Streamline process for planning an ADU in seconds

Symbium Build Works In Cooperation With Municipalities

San Francisco improves permitting process with online portal to help combat housing crisis,  Symbium’s BUILD portal enables city planners, design professionals, developers, and homeowners in San Francisco to understand whether an accessory dwelling unit (“ADU”) (also known as second units and in-law units) is allowed on a particular parcel, what development standards apply, and the ensuing processes.

Symbium’s BUILD portal also supports commercial business zoning so anyone can instantly visualize where in a jurisdiction a specific business type is allowed.

Symbium In Collaboration With The City Of San Fransisco

California State ADU Legislation

State legislation that took effect January 1, 2017 gave California cities more flexibility and latitude for allowing homeowners to build ADUs. Three separate bills were introduced and signed by Governor Brown; SB 1069 Opens a New Window. (Wieckowski), AB 2299 Opens a New Window. (Bloom), and AB 2406 Opens a New Window. (Thurmond). Each of these land use bills make it easier than ever for homeowners to take advantage of this attractive opportunity.

Opportunity To Bring An ADU Into Compliance

As of January 1, 2019, homeowners who created accessory dwelling units (ADUs) without the required building permits may have the opportunity to bring their ADUs into compliance. For ADUs that were constructed without building permits, local building officials now have the option to inspect an ADU and apply the building standards that were in effect at the time the unit was constructed. This bill: SB 1226 (Bates), adds Section 17958.12 to the California Health and Safety Code Opens a New Window. , and with application of appropriate building codes, may allow issuance of a building permit for the residential unit.

Governor Gavin Newsom Signs 18 Bills to Boost Housing Production October 9th, 2019

The construction of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) can also help cities meet their housing goals and increase the state’s affordable housing supply. The Governor signed the following bills to eliminate barriers to building ADUs:

  • AB 68 by Assembly member Philip Ting (D-San Francisco) makes major changes to facilitate the development of more ADUs and address barriers to building. The bill reduces barriers to ADU approval and construction, which will increase production of these low-cost, energy-efficient units and add to California’s affordable housing supply
  • AB 881 by Assembly member Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) removes impediments to ADU construction by restricting local jurisdictions’ permitting criteria, clarifying that ADUs must receive streamlined approval if constructed in existing garages, and eliminating local agencies’ ability to require owner-occupancy for five years

From the office of Governor Gavin News

How Does An ADU Fit With My Home?

ADUs can be behind, attached to, inside of, above, or below an existing home.

Related: Rent The Backyard

Rent the Backyard will put an ADU in your backyard at no up front cost to you. More details.

Mayor La Toya Cantrell  Calls For A Study Of Tiny Homes

Mayor La Toya Cantrell Calls For A Study Of Tiny Homes

The Affordable Housing Crisis In New Orleans

Written By Janet Thome

Mayor La Toya Cantrell- The first female Mayor in the 300 year  history of New Orleans has called for a study of tiny homes and other affordable housing solutions. New Orleans received $28 million in federal tax credits and block grants.

The funding came through the Louisiana Housing Corporation’s 2019 Piggyback Awards. New Orleans developments received nearly $3.4 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and $24.5 million in Community Development Block Grants.

Together, these developments will produce 642 affordable residences.

Article Source New Orleans City Business

Mayor La Toya Cantrell Kicks Off Affordable Housing Tour

On August 7th, 2019  Mayor LaToya Cantrell  kicked off the  Affordable Housing Tour (AHT) in the Lower Ninth Ward.  The AHT is a series of community meetings to engage the public in discussions regarding the future of affordable housing in the City of New Orleans. During the 7-stop tour the Mayor will visit each district (Districts C and E twice) to outline her plan and available resources provided by the City to ensure equitable and affordable housing in New Orleans.

Next Stop Of The Tour Sept 19th, 2019

The next stop with be at 6pm at Stallings St. Claude Recreation Center  at 4300 St. Claude New Orleans , La. 70117  on Sept 19th, 2019.

Tour Schedule

Councilwoman Kristin Palmer is considering tiny homes as a possible solution.

Kristin Gisleson Palmer represents New Orleans City Council District C which includes Algiers, French Quarter, Marigny, Treme, St. Roch and Bywater neighborhoods. She chairs the Transportation and Governmental Affairs Committees, focusing on regionalism within the transportation sector,

As an affordable housing advocate and a neighborhood preservationist, she has tackled the City’s Short Term Rental program, fighting developers to keep homeowners in neighborhoods.

Kristin Palmer  visited Micheal Burnside’s tiny house, one of the smallest homes in New Orleans

Micheal was homeless for eight years before he saved up to build his own 176 square foot home. It cost him $16,500 to build his home and it is now assessed for $87,000. The lot cost Micheal $5110. This puts his assessed value at around $500 a square foot. His neighbor’s homes assessments range from $33 to $196 a square foot.

Article Source WDSU News

Burnside said he finds comedy in his situation, and he hasn’t decided whether or not to contest the assessment or sell the home and build another one. A new assessment to Micheal’s tiny home could make a big difference because he lives on a very small amount monthly.

Article Source WDSU News

Sept 3rd, 2019 Tweet From Councilwoman Kristin Palmer

” I’m  interested in looking at opportunities to build tiny houses for our homeless population. Money and resources would have to come from many sources though. Just a thought. What do you think?”

We Think Yes!!!

Mayor LaToya Cantrelll

Councilwoman Kristin Palmer and Mayor La Toya Cantrell invite  everyone to the Affordable Housing Tour to listen to your concerns and solution strategies.

Tour Schedule


Affordable Housing

From Zack Giffin Facebook Page

A fascinating thing has been happening. Tiny Homes and Moveable Homes, are finally starting to be included in top level conversations about developing solutions to the housing crisis. Advancements in construction techniques have demonstrated how homes can be built more efficiently, with higher quality standards and at far lower cost when they are built at a remote and controlled environment. The same regulatory hurdles that obstruct Tiny Homes on wheels, are limiting all sorts of new construction technologies that are also built modularly and meant for transport. While the country is in a massive affordable housing crisis we need to rethink zoning laws that impede the ability of the private sector to utilize new technologies to solve the problem. We can dump massive amounts of federal funding into building subsidized housing but nothing will have a greater effect on affordable housing than adjusting our outdated building and zoning codes. We have an industry ready to provide solutions, we have a society desperate for answers, all it takes is some common sense reform and amazingly that is an idea with increasing bipartisan support.

I think the current shift in momentum is the result of a movement of people who have been patiently committed to engaging in informative conversations and have maintained motivation despite long years of resistance. Up and down the west coast, tiny home friendly legislation has been passed and all of the recent zoning changes have truly taken years of exhaustive negotiation. As more and more changes happen it feels fantastic to be part of a tribe of people dedicated to advocating for laws that allow intentionally simplistic living. During this journey I have met many inspiring and passionate tiny house people and we have all contributed to the progress. Yet, some people deserve special recognition and few people have dedicated more of their time and done more to open minds than the producers of this video – Tiny House Expedition. I am truly lucky to call these two friends and we are all lucky that they are part of this special community.

If you are interested in following the progress of the tiny home movement or help us gain legal traction, go follow Tiny House Expedition’s YouTube page!

Zack Giffin Has Joined Our Board Of Directors!

Dr. Ben Carson

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Innovative Housing Showcase Opening Remarks
Washington, D.C., National Mall, June 1, 2019

Welcome, everyone, to the inaugural Innovative Housing Showcase!

he Purpose Of The Showcase: Increasing Affordability and Resiliency

What brings this incredible array of pioneers together this week is a joint mission to educate and inform America’s national conversation on housing policy. We believe the best way to galvanize people and policymakers toward a powerful vision of the future is to place that vision right in front of them – and show them what is truly possible.

The Showcase features state-of-the-art building technologies and housing solutions that can make home ownership  more affordable for American families, and homes more resilient during natural disasters. In addition, there will be a wide array of exhibitions, prototype homes, panel discussions, and policy conversations with leaders across the housing industry over this five-day event.

Article Source Hud.Gov

Executive Order Establishing a White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing

These regulatory barriers impede our Nation’s economic growth. Hardworking American families struggle to live in markets where there is an insufficient supply of housing — even in markets generating a significant number of jobs. One recent study suggests that certain regulatory restrictions on housing supply have forced workers to live far away from high-productivity areas with the best available jobs, creating a geographic misallocation of labor between cities that may have decreased the annual economic growth rate in the United States by 36 percent between 1964 and 2009.

Article Source White House. Gov

Affordable Housing Efforts Threaten RV Industry May 23th, 2019

In an effort to increase affordable housing, some policymakers across the country have begun to look to tiny homes as a solution. Unfortunately, these efforts have led some legislators, officials and other interest groups to attempt to co-opt RV and PMRV standards and definitions to use them for permanent-use tiny home standards. Washington state was the most active in this effort this year.

Although both NFPA 1192 and ANSI A119.5 specifically state that these standards are for temporary-use vehicles, bills in Washington would have incorrectly defined all types of RVs and used the RV and PMRV standards to define permanent structures.

Article Source RVIA News

Tiny Houses Make BIG Statement at Innovative Housing Showcase

Tiny Houses Make BIG Statement at Innovative Housing Showcase

Written By Alexis Stephens

The National Association of Home Builders and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently co-hosted the inaugural Innovative Housing Showcase. During this free 5-day event, attendees toured new building technologies and housing solutions. Importantly, tiny houses were front and center. The focus of the Showcase: ways to make housing more affordable for American families and homes more resilient during natural disasters.

Inclusion meant tiny houses further legitimized as a quality, affordable housing solution to a wide range of needs— a big step forward for greater acceptance. The Showcase provided an incredible opportunity for advocates to speak directly to elected officials and policymakers to give them a greater understanding of tiny house benefits for community development, and the barriers to legal placement.

The two movable tiny houses on display came showcased the diversity of building materials and construction techniques within the movement. Core Housing Solutions brought their Firefly model, a 200 square foot tiny home weighing with a downstairs bedroom. At 25′ long, it weighs a mere 5,500 lbs. To achieve this and below-average cost, the builders use innovative materials, including metal SIP panels, NASA engineered for high tolerances—stronger pound for pound than reinforced concrete.

The Build Us Hope nonprofit and their for-profit partner, Tiny House Developers, brought their Big Blue model. It is a 32′ three-bedroom tiny home. They build using three framing types: light gauge injected steel panels, SIPs framing, and traditional studs framing. Their exhibit also featured a visuals V13, their first veterans’ micro home village in Phoenix. Their second community is currently in the works.

Other event displays included a reimagined shipping container house and an expandable, stackable building system. For example, exhibitor IndieDwell builds steel modular housing with a high durability, healthy, and sustainability focus. They showcased their largest model, 960 square feet made from three recycled out-of-service containers. Additionally, they offer one and two container models. Their smallest is 320 square feet. To learn more about what modular means, read this.

To my delight, the movable tiny houses were incredibly well-received with bi-partisan support, as demonstrated by in-person feedback and numerous mentions during the event’s talks. Additionally, as a general public crowd-pleaser, they clearly had the longest lines all five days.

On day one, Zack Giffin, Tiny House Nation co-host and THIA board member, led a thought-provoking panel discussion on tiny homes, titled “Many Problems, Mini Solutions.” Participants included me, Core Housing’s Andrew Bennett and Build Us Hope’s Elizabeth Singelton. It provided an excellent overview of the nationwide opportunities and obstacles facing tiny house development.

All tiny house reps enjoyed many brief one-on-one opportunities to discuss outdated restrictive regulations and financing opportunities with HUD representatives, from the Innovation Office to Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Follow-up communications are in the works to discuss lending opportunities, as well as a potential HUD tiny house workgroup.  Something American Tiny House Association chapter leaders, Todd McKellips and Hannah Rose Crabtree helping to promote. Of note, they also head up the Washington Tiny House Association.

They were in attendance, in part, to share the news about the new Washington State Bill addressing tiny house building standards, placement, and anti-discrimination protections. While imperfect like all legislation, it shows how states can help legitimize tiny houses as housing, which in turn, hopefully, will expedite local approvals.

A vital event objective was productive conversation on how to facilitate more acceptance of non-traditional yet practical housing options, regardless of political affiliation. A hot topic was the role of the federal government to apply pressure locally to ease out-of-date, overly restrictive regulations.

To that end, HUD outlined one of their goals as trying to educate  state and local governments on options they should review and ways to work together to overcome obstacles, with help from the private sector.

It was heartwarming to see a mix of policymakers, congress members (on both sides of the aisle), financial regulators, industry professionals, etc., come together over the common ground of providing more Americans with homeownership opportunities. Ultimately the Showcase generated numerous worthwhile exposure for tiny houses, as both a fill-in-the-gaps housing solution and as a flexible emergency housing option.

While I am not naive that this event will directly solve local issues. Inclusion itself gave tiny housing a new level of legitimization. Though talk can be cheap, the national level education and PR opportunities were exceedingly valuable.

Additionally, I am grateful that a diverse group of tiny home dwellers, builders, and grassroots advocates were able to participate in sharing a realistic look at what’s happening around the country within the tiny house movement.

While there, my partner Christian and I asked event attendees, from HUD reps to the general public, “What’s your first impression of the tiny house?” Watch the below video to hear their responses. And no, we did not cut out negative feedback. We received thoughtful responses from all who spoke with us.

-Alexis Stephens, THIA board member and Tiny House Expedition co-founder

Related Affordable Housing