Basements in California aren’t exactly commonplace, especially in Los Angeles. In some parts of the US, having basements is illegal. While this isn’t the case for LA, basements are, in fact legal, you don’t see a lot of them.

Basements are not common in Los Angeles. Older homes in Los Angeles might have basements, although this still isn’t common. Newer homes in Los Angeles proper don’t commonly have basements at all.

If you are someone who has never lived in or visited someone that lives in LA, you might be wondering if houses in LA have basements. For those of you who are curious enough to look this up on the internet, you have come to the right place. If you are interested in finding an answer to your question, you should keep reading the sections below. 

Are There Basements in Los Angeles?

Let’s get straight to the point. Are there or are there no basements in Los Angeles, California? 

The answer is yes… sort of. There are some houses you can find in LA that have basements. These can be often found in older homes that are built using concrete walls. However, newer homes that are built on concrete slabs do not have basements. 

There are several reasons why basements aren’t common in LA and in Southern California. Examples of a couple of reasons can be found in the next section. 

Why Are Basements Uncommon in Los Angeles?

Basements are a great way to add to a home’s square footage. But, under the current zoning laws in LA, a basement doesn’t count towards a house’s total square footage. This is important because there are many areas of LA that have very strict zoning and code limits when it comes to building a house.

So if basements don’t add to a home’s square footage, which is often a restriction in LA, why aren’t there more houses with basements? The most common answer is simply that construction takes longer when building a basement, and that’s just not as profitable. Also, basements aren’t as necessary in LA.

One reason why basements are rare in LA is that they make construction take longer. For companies that are trying to build homes as quickly as possible in order to sell them to the public, taking the time to build a basement isn’t the smartest financial decision on their part. 

First, it takes more time to build a house with a basement than one without. Second, the added bonus of a basement will not add enough value to the home in order for the company that built the house to recuperate the money they spent by taking longer to build the house. 

When you are a company trying to make a profit, you are looking to make things as quickly and efficiently as you can. In most cases, adding a basement is neither quick nor efficient, which is why many people don’t.

In addition, another reason why basements are uncommon in LA has to do with its geographic region and history of earthquakes. The history that the Golden State area and California have with earthquakes is also a major reason why people typically shy away from adding basements to their homes. 

The concern that an earthquake might happen and cause issues with the basement is a major reason why basements are scarce in LA and throughout most of California. Natural disasters play a major role in whether or not a region has basements or not. Take, for example, the midwest region. Due to the fact that they experience tornadoes, they build basements as shelters

Are There Certain Areas of Los Angeles That Have Basements?

Now that you know why basements are scarce in LA, you might be wondering if there are certain areas in LA that have basements anyways. 

The truth is that areas of LA that are on flat surfaces instead of the hills are much more likely to have basements. However, even in these areas, it is very uncommon to find a house with a basement, and it can even be hard to get contractors to build you a basement if you are building a house in LA. 

Building a basement in LA is not really necessary since it can be expensive as opposed to just building a storage unit at ground level. This, in addition to the reasons listed above, is why most houses in LA don’t have basements. 


If you were curious about whether houses in LA have basements or not, then you have now found the answer to your question. Although it is not impossible to find a house with a basement in LA, it is very uncommon due to the fact that there is simply no need to have one. 

Most people just use their basements as storage space which can be built for much cheaper at ground level. That, in addition to the extra time and money that needs to be put into building a basement, is why they are so scarce in LA.