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:
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%|
|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
- 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.
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.
- Draft Ordinance - March 22, 2006
- Hearing Notice - July 25, 2006
- Hearing on Amendments to County Code Title 21 (Subdivisions) and Title 22 (Planning and Zoning) Relating to Density Bonuses and Affordable Housing Incentives
- Resolution - March 22, 2006
- Staff Memo to RPC - March 16, 2006
- Staff Memo to RPC - February 9, 2006
- Proposed Density Bonus Ordinance Conceptual Framework
- State Density Bonus Law - Effective January 1, 2006
- Memo From Staff to Board Deputies - November 10, 2005
- Map and Tables with Location of Density Bonus Projects
- Additional Public Comment Letters
- Staff Memo to RPC - October 20, 2005
- Density Bonus Hearing Highlights - June 22, 2005
- RHNA Construction Need and Income Distribution 1998-2005
- Summary Comparison of Parking Rates for Affordable Housing
- Vehicle Ownership in Los Angeles County, 2000 US Census
- Summary of Recent Parking Demand Studies
- Summary of Recent Published Literature on Low Income Housing and Parking Requirements
- SB 435
- Hearing Notice
- Staff Report
- Negative Declaration
- Initial Study
- Memo to RPC