Granny Flat 101

What are the planning requirements before a granny flat can be built and do these vary by state?

There are planning permissions which are necessary to build a granny flat on your property behind the principal dwelling. Provided your granny flat meets the minimum requirements, it should only take a short amount of time for your build to be approved. All state requirements vary, although in NSW you should receive permission in as little as three weeks if you meet all the provisions listed in Schedule 1 of the AHSEPP.

In NSW, for example, the site area must be a minimum of 450 square metres and the maximum floor area of the granny flat must be 60 square metres. A Complying Development Certificate (CDC) will be issued immediately upon approval. If for some reason your proposed plans are not in accordance with the provisions in the AHSEPP, a Development Application will need to be lodged with your local council.

Always make sure you read through your state guidelines carefully in order that there are no delays in the timeline of your construction.

What is the average cost of building a granny flat?

The cost of a granny flat will vary depending on your specific requirements, but a budget for approximately $160,000 is generally an excellent figure to aim for. Of course, the number may be less or even more depending on how elaborate or straightforward your granny flat design plan is.

Speak to the bank and understand your budget before you begin to plan. That will help you realise how much you have for the build of the exterior, the design of the interior and the landscaping of the outdoor space.

In your experience, what are people tending to use them for?

The great thing about granny flats is that they can be used in a variety of ways. Homeowners are using them to house their ageing parents or adult children or just keeping the space available for guests during the holiday season.

Granny flats can also reduce the home/work commute by providing secondary or even full-time office space. And state depending, they can also be rented out to provide a second income.

Have you observed any granny flat trends of late?

As a company that specialises in beautiful and functional home designs, we are inspired by the uniqueness of contemporary granny flats, and we hope this continues. A granny flat need not be a one-design-fits-all, and you can really create something special to reflect your lifestyle.

More attention is being given to the outdoor area surrounding a secondary dwelling so those who reside in the flat can entertain as well. While space is more limited in a granny flat than say a full-size house, thanks to clever space-saving designs, there is no need to skimp and save on the necessities. We recommend websites such as Arch Daily, Dwell and Design Milk to stay up to date with all the latest in design trends.

How can people make money off them?

Granny flats can provide a rental income in New South Wales, Western Australia, Northern Territory, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. South Australia, Queensland and Victoria are yet to allow the renting out of granny flats to generate an income although this may change in the future. If you plan to build and use your property to earn income, check your state rules to ensure full compliance.

On the plus side, even if you are unable to rent out your granny flat, considerable savings can be made if you choose to house your family members or even use it as a home office.