I am in California, and I am a tenant with a landlord that decided to build ADUs 4 feet away from my apartment entrance. That is, a 4 feet wide sidewalk is what separates my apartments from a large excavation ditch.

My concern is that the construction fencing is seriously obstructing my ability to enter or exit my home. The entrance from the patio to the passage-way (with fencing and cones) is only 3 feet or 1.5 feet at times, and I am concerned with the safety of myself and elderly parents in cases of emergencies or general access. What does California's Building Codes exactly say about access to passageways for multi-family residential dwellings?

Also, I spoke with my city's building & safety department and showed him pictures. He agreed that this was an access issue. I mentioned the possibility of moving out and he stated that there was a requirement for 5 feet clearance or something to that effect (due to the large, bulky furniture and awkward angles), but couldn't recall the exact section or Code. Is there a section in California's Building Codes (or ADA/OSHA/Fire & Safety) or Tenant Law that discusses a tenant's right to move out with acceptable clearance/access for movers to move furniture?

  • 1
    While this is clearly a legal issue, in practice, usually the people who know the answers to questions like these are general contractors and architects. Also, usually building codes (which are usually controlling) are adopted as local ordinances rather than at a state level.
    – ohwilleke
    Aug 18, 2023 at 19:31


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