“We’re Building an ADU!”


as told by John M. Thompson to Here in Van Nuys

“Just wanted to share the great news. We’ve finally taken the plunge! We’re building an ADU, a second house in our backyard.

I’m 61, and you know freelance graphic designer and the wife is on disability so we’ve been thinking how can we make money in our so-called golden years?

Looking out at our backyard, it was always on our minds. Sure, we enjoyed our lime, lemon, fig and avocado trees, and the herb garden. But we looked at our water bill, some $800 a month, and we thought we could do better with a backyard of concrete and rocks, driveway planting bed and a new 640 sf ADU.

My gardener Hector and his son Romeo have worked here for years, (expert tree trimmers too) and I struck a deal with them to design and build the house. They know how to negotiate (especially in Spanish) and they got lumber, concrete, electrical, plumbing, roofing, the whole works, and we are doing it for only $210,000.

We have tenants signed up already. Phish and his girlfriend Charmin and their two pre-school sons, Emo and Fly, are going to move in. Phish is from Philly and is a musician and works as a budsman at the dispensary on Oxnard and Kester.  Charmin is cool, very hard working, does adult films too. She wants to run a day care center out of the house and I said that’s fine. I love little kids and it will bring some excitement into our lives. Phish will work during the day and a couple nights a week his band will rehearse in their unit.   They drove out here last month from Philly and are living in their car until the ADU is finished, but they’re young and flexible. 

This ADU thing is one of the best policy changes to come to LA in years. I know the city will regulate it and make sure that renters pay on time, that there is enough parking for everyone, that utility bills aren’t exorbitant, and that the people who are in the ADU pay their rent on time.

I figure after some 20 years, by the time I’m 81, 240 months from now, I’ll want to sell my house and the ADU that I’m building. 240 months of collecting rent will be just fine, an easy way to knock on the door of my back unit and get some $2100 a month handed to me. I’m sure I’ll have no problems collecting rent, and those people who think I’ll be bothered by noise and lack of privacy and the destruction of my garden are just negative naysayers who don’t understand how to make a buck.”

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