The idea of a granny flat as a bland single room dwelling has changed. They used to be a way to keep grandma close by, with a single burner stove, a toaster and a single bed. But these assumptions are being challenged by the New South Wales granny flat industry boom.
The rules have changed…
Since the legislation change in 2009, building a granny flat has become a far easier process and approval can be granted within ten days. Additionally, the rules around how they can be used have been altered and now enable property owners to make money by renting out their secondary dwelling.
This change has fueled demand for granny flats, with builders creating accommodation that ranges from modest studios to multi-bedroom mini-homes. Homeowners across the state, and in Sydney particularly, can then take advantage of the demand for comfortable, affordable rentals in close proximity to the CBD.
Alongside New South Wales, homeowners in Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory are able to generate income with a secondary dwelling. This opportunity has given architects and designers new challenges as they attempt to create small homes that maximise the available space, remain comfortable and functional and stay within a budget much smaller than that of a standard sized house. This has seen a 240 per cent increase in the number being built and these numbers are similar in Western Australia.
… but not for everyone
The laws differ from the state to state and in Victoria and South Australia, a granny flat must be actually used to house a family member. The tighter laws around secondary dwellings mean that it isn’t possible use one to legally generate additional income. These laws dictate that a granny flat or dependent person’s unit can only be occupied by a dependent of the resident of the main dwelling – generally a family member. Once the person leaves, the structure has to be removed. To build a permanent dwelling requires planning permission and subdividing the land, which is a costly process. Queensland property owners should check with their local council to discuss regulations on whether they are able to rent a granny flat for income-producing purposes.
Add versatility and space to your existing home
Building a granny flat isn’t just about making money though. A granny flat can have a wide range of uses, both allowing homeowners to keep friends or family close to home, or for creative endeavours and activities. The extra indoor space and self-contained freedom a secondary dwelling provides can be used for anything from a place for the kids or grandparents to stay when they visit, or a place to practice yoga, paint, retreat from the world, and more.
The humble granny flat has seen a resurgence in the last five years and continues to add value in a competitive property market. Regardless of the purpose, if you own a home with enough space, then adding a secondary dwelling could be the edge you need when selling or letting your property. It is important to seek expert advice regarding the laws in your state and what is and isn’t permissible.