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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 117358
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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What is the definition of "living space" as it relates to

Customer Question

What is the definition of "living space" as it relates to building code? What requirements have to be met in order for a space to be considered a "living space" ? Does it need heating for instance?
JA: Has any paperwork been prepared or filed?
Customer: no
JA: Because laws vary based on location, where is the property located?
Customer: torrance, ca
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no when will I receive the answer?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Living space or habitable area is defined “space in a structure for living, sleeping, eating, or cooking. Bathrooms, toilets compartments, closets, halls, storage or utility space and similar areas are not considered habitable space”. In order to be considered habitable space, someone must be able to live there year round and eat, cook, sleep etc in the space. It must be protected from the elements, including heated. An unfinished basement or attic is not considered living space, nor is a garage area.
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Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I did not realize how this site worked so I did not get a chance to fully elaborate. I recently bought a triplex. Said triplex has a separate 2 car garage and a really big garage area (approx 1500 square feet). I am currently using it as my home office. I put carpet on about 80% of it and added a few desks. There is no heating or plumbing. A neighbor recently called the city on me and I had an inspector come by yesterday. We did not pull the required permits which is something I am dealing with separately. The problem is, the neighbor lied and told them that I converted my garage to living space and that somebody was living there (which is not true). When looking at the Torrance City code, It states that you cannot convert a garage into "living space" but living space is not defined. Am I safe to assume that adding carpet and desks does not constitute a conversion to "living space"?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
A garage is not designed for nor considered living space under the CA law. the definition I provided above comes from the CA law regarding living space. If you put a desk in the corner of a garage to use as your office work space for hobbies or computer area that is not generally considered living space, but adding carpet and sofa to the garage whereby it cannot be used for the intended purpose of storage or parking cars means you are using it to live in, meaning to use to sit in and perform tasks normally performed in a living area.