For homeowners in much earlier times, extra space outdoors was merely considered an area for lounging outside the house, or constructing a garden, or for entertaining more guests whenever an occasion to be celebrated comes up. People are glad to have the extra breathing room, especially if they have children or pets that need a little place to play and stretch their legs.
In more recent years, however, Sydney locals have begun looking at the extra yard space in a different light. Having a huge property can be more expensive to keep and maintain, so they began to think about alternative ways to make use of this section in their property. Perhaps they could build a small, simple structure where they can house materials and supplies for a family member’s hobbies, as a workshop of sorts. They could also build a home office or studio.
Or maybe, they could build a secondary dwelling — granny flats, as they are known in Australia.
Granny flats (Sydney and across the country) are gaining greater popularity as a housing option for many people. The idea began when families began using this secondary dwelling — it could be attached to the main house, or a detached unit — as a place for their elderly family members to live. This way, the grandparents can maintain a certain degree of independence as they go about their daily routines, but should they ever need assistance or supervision due to poor health and mobility, a family member would just be one doorstep away.
But with skyrocketing property prices in the country’s top cities, the idea of using granny flats as investment or rental properties began to spread. Instead of branching out on their own, for example, adult children can make the move to the granny flat first, until they can find a more affordable apartment or house to rent in a different location. When the children do depart, empty nesters can rent out the property to other singles, couples and small families who cannot afford the bigger, more strategically located apartments in the city.
It seems that granny flats are proving to be beneficial for both the owners and the tenants. Aside from being an affordable rental option (for tenants) and a lucrative opportunity (for owners/landlords), they also truly provide a suitable living environment — granny flats are self-contained, which means they have their own separate entrance, bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom, and living and laundry areas for greater privacy and convenience.
Interested in converting your property’s extra space into a granny flat? Here are some key general regulations that you need to keep in mind:
- Only Residential Zone properties are allowed to have granny flats constructed
- Only one granny flat can be built on each residential property
- The entire property block must be at least 450 square metres, and the granny flat itself can have no more than 60 square metres of living space (areas such as verandas, patios and carports, however, can be added to that allowed size)
- The owner of the granny flat and the owner of the primary dwelling should be the same person
- Strata titles and subdivided or community title properties, as well as properties on unoccupied lands or those used for commercial purposes, cannot have a granny flat built in them
- There must be a separate and unobstructed pedestrian access to the granny flat
Before you decide to have a granny flat built in your property, you first need to check and consider all the legal and financial issues that are relevant to the matter, so consult your local and state councils to obtain more detailed information about the project. It will also help to approach specialist builders for granny flat designs (like Granny Flat Engineers) who have licensed builders, engineers and design professionals on their team, to help you work out all the other details and help you find a solution to meet your needs.