Density Bonus

Density Bonus serves as a local incentive program, and is designed to encourage the production of on-site affordable housing in neighborhoods where multi-family zoning is allowed. Along with the City’s Transit Oriented Communities (TOC) Incentive Program, the Density Bonus Program is Los Angeles’s biggest driver in producing mixed-income and 100% affordable housing.


Program Incentives

Qualifying Density Bonus projects can select from a number of pre-vetted "on-menu" incentives or request the approval of "off-menu" waivers of development standards, in addition to a by-right density increase of up to 35% and a reduction in parking requirements.

On-Menu Incentives
The ministerial on-menu incentives comprise the most common form of requested incentives, stemming from pre-calculated modifications in the City’s Density Bonus Ordinance, which was adopted in 2008. These incentives apply to projects that seek a limited increase in allowed height, floor area, and lot coverage, along with reductions to yard/setback, open space, and lot width requirements.

Off Menu Incentives and Waivers of Development Standards
Developers can request off-menu incentives and waivers of development standards that extend beyond the incentives enumerated by State Density Bonus Law provided that applicants can demonstrate that their request is necessary to allow for the project's physical construction.

Density Bonus Procedures

LADBS Ministerial Review
A project requesting only a density bonus up to 35%, and/or reduced parking as specified by State Density Bonus law or LAMC§12.22 A.25, is considered by-right and reviewed through a ministerial building permit process. No CEQA review is conducted. These projects are not subject to an appeal.

City Planning Ministerial Review
A project requesting on-menu incentives, as outlined in LAMC§12.22 A.25, is processed by City Planning through a ministerial review process. These projects receive a Letter of Determination describing the approved project and any applicable conditions of approval. No CEQA review is conducted; however, all other LAMC-required processes and procedures, including those for notification and appeals are required.

Discretionary Review
A project that includes an off-menu request, as outlined in LAMC §12.22 A.25, is reviewed by City Planning through a discretionary review process. These projects require CEQA analysis and are reviewed by the City Planning Commission (CPC). These determinations may not be appealed after the CPC acts.

Density Bonus Ordinance No. 179681

Access Los Angeles’s enabling ordinance for the State Density Bonus Program.

Housing Progress Dashboard

Read up on housing activity and trends across the City.

Transit Oriented Communities

Access Los Angeles’s enabling ordinance for the State Density Bonus Program.

Implementation Memos

Department Memorandums
For more information about implementation guidelines and procedures, including how changes to state Density Bonus law are implemented, refer to the Department Memorandums below:

Memorandum of Implementation of State Density Law AB 1287 (2024)
State Density Bonus Law: AB 2334, AB 1551, and AB 682 (2023)
AB 2345 and AB 1763 Revised Memorandum (2022)
On-Menu Density Bonus Ministerial Review Process (2021)
State Density Bonus Law (2021): SB 290, SB 728, AB 634
State Density Bonus Law (2020): SB 35 + AB 2162
Implementation of State Density Bonus Law (2017)
State Density Bonus Law (2017): AB 1934 + AB 2442 + AB 2501+ AB 2556
State Density Bonus Law: AB 2501, AB 2556, AB 2442, AB 1934 (2017)
State Density Bonus Law (2015): AB 744

Affordable Housing Incentive Guidelines (2005)
To assist understanding, a set of Affordable Housing Incentive Guidelines was developed alongside the Density Bonus Ordinance in 2005. These guidelines describe the density bonus provisions and qualifying criteria, the incentives available to qualifying projects, and the procedures whereby projects may apply for a bonus and incentives.