Granny Flats aren’t just for Grandparents

Have you ever thought about expanding your home, but not sure of the requirements or value in doing so?

Having a secondary dwelling on your property is becoming increasingly popular across Australia. Whether it’s a solution for our growing and ageing population and rising rental prices or an escape to a parents’ retreat, granny flats are an affordable way to expand the living space on your property. Not only do they improve the value of your home, but also accommodate for more private living.

Granny flats as self-contained extensions can be constructed in three ways – within the house, attached to the house, or separate from the house. NSW Government outlines that granny flats must be on the same lot of land as the principal house and not on a separate lot, in a strata plan or in a community title scheme. There is only to be one house and one granny flat existing on the property – not on a subdivision.

There are particular standards and regulations that come into play when designing and building a granny flat. The legal maximum size for granny flats is 60 square metres, and they must be built in line with the Building Code of Australia. Furthermore, the combined total floor space of the two structures needs to comply with local council standards. Planning controls must also be met, including building height and setbacks, floor space ratios, and open space.

Designing a granny flat comes with endless possibilities – from an open-plan studio space to spacious two-bedroom apartment set-ups. The opportunities for different layouts and styles enable home-owners to use the space for a variety of uses, depending on their spatial needs. Some suggestions are a home office, rumpus room, parents’ retreat, design studio or home gym.

The flexibility of and range of functions for granny flats is what drives their attractiveness to home owners. As long as adequate backyard space is maintained, the addition of a granny flat on unused space can successfully improve your property value – particularly as you can rent out the space for some extra income.

So, if your teenagers are driving you crazy, or you need the extra room for another person, a granny flat could be your solution. The diversity in design choices will allow you to create a space that will meet your needs and improve the value of your home.

by Ruth Newman