Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning

Density Bonus Ordinance

You can build more residential units on your property than what is allowed by code if you use L.A. County’s Density Bonus. Your project may qualify for a density bonus if it has ONE of the following:

  • Affordable units
  • Senior citizen units (55 and older)

The size of your bonus depends on many factors, such as how many units are reserved for affordable housing, or senior housing.

Qualified projects may also be eligible to receive other benefits, such as reduced parking requirements or other development standard modifications. However, the density bonus cannot be applied to uses or building types that are prohibited by zoning (for example, multi-family buildings in a single-family residential or agricultural zone) .

The Department of Regional Planning is updating the Density Bonus Ordinance to further ease and incentivize the development of affordable housing. The update will reflect state law changes, including the incorporation of a “no net loss” policy and parking requirement revisions; establishment of targets for deeper and higher levels of affordability, including a category for extremely low-income households; and other changes to strengthen the effectiveness of the ordinance.

Until the County’s existing density bonus ordinance is updated, the following memo will ensure the County’s compliance with state laws:

Affordability requirements

To be eligible for a density bonus, your project must reserve a minimum number of units for very low, low or moderate-income households. The chart below describes the minimum set-asides. There are limits on the amount of rent that can be charged for income-restricted units. Residents must meet household income thresholds to qualify for affordable housing. There are also limits on the amount of rent that can be charged for income-restricted units.

Qualified Projects Minimum Set-Aside (pick one) Basic bonus Maximum bonus
Affordable housing set-aside* (projects of at least 5 units before bonus) Very low income 5% 20% 35%
Lower income 10% 20% 35%
Moderate income (for-sale only) 10% 5% 35%
Senior citizen housing set-aside (projects of at least 35 units before bonus) A senior citizen housing development 20% 20%
A mobile home park for senior citizens 20% 20%

*Per state law, very low and low-income units must remain affordable for 55 years.

How to apply for a density bonus

Ask us at the front counter, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or call (213) 974-6411 to find out if your project qualifies for the Density Bonus program.

Application forms

  • Supplemental Application for Affordable Housing Project (PDF or Word)
  • Supplemental Application for Senior Citizen Housing Project (PDF or Word)

Frequently asked questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions about the density bonus and the types of incentives (lowered parking requirements, etc.) offered to developers of affordable or senior units.

Housing permit review process

The design of your project and the types of planning permits that are needed could determine the levels of review (staff vs. public hearing) that are required to obtain development permits. Click here to see a comparison of the types of review required for different affordable or senior housing projects.

Additional information

Background Information

On August 8, 2006, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted an ordinance amending the zoning code to allow greater density bonuses and incentives and concessions for affordable and senior citizen housing, in accordance with changes in State-mandated density bonus law effective in 2005 (SB 1818). The ordinance provides for greater density and incentive options based on the level of affordability and percentage of affordable units, as well as incentives for senior housing. The ordinance also allows basic incentives and concessions to be granted through an administrative procedure, regardless of whether or not the project otherwise requires a discretionary review.

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Department of Regional Planning
320 West Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
T: (213) 974-6411 . F: (213) 626-0434
TDD: (213) 617-2292
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