Granny Flats: Your Questions Answered
There are many reasons to consider building a granny flat on your property.
Perhaps you have an elderly parent or adult child you’d like to keep close to home. Or maybe you’re thinking of gaining extra income from renting it out. Here’s what you need to know before you start.
Granny flats are becoming increasingly popular here in the Sunshine State. In fact, in 2018 a total of 2365 were built – that’s second only to New South Wales.
As house prices have increased, so has the interest in granny flats as an option to accommodate extended family members. But there are a few important things to know before you make a start.
What is a granny flat?
A granny flat is a small dwelling built on the same block as your home. It has its own kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living area – in other words, it’s self-contained.
But that doesn’t mean it must be detached from the main house. It could be attached to the back of the house or built above the garage. It might even be a secondary living suite within the main house. But – and here’s the key – it’s secondary to the main house.
Secondary dwelling or dual occupancy: what’s the difference?
The primary home is known as the main dwelling, and a granny flat as a secondary dwelling. Is that the same as dual occupancy? No, and it’s vital you understand the difference.
To be considered a secondary dwelling and not dual occupancy, your granny flat must:
- be on the same block of land as the main dwelling
- be self-contained
- use the same services as the main dwelling e.g. water, gas, electricity, post, telecommunications
- be smaller than the main dwelling
In contrast, dual occupancy is where two dwellings exist on the same block of land but are occupied by different households, have their own services, and are in all respects separate. They can be detached or semi-detached – think duplexes.
Who can use the granny flat? Is it worth it?
As the name suggests, a granny flat offers the perfect solution if you have an older relative who you’d like to keep close while giving them independence. Or if you have an adult child who can’t afford a place of their own, then it may well be worth your time and investment.
But if you want to make extra cash by renting out your granny flat, think again.
In recent years, many Brisbane residents have been found to be breaking the law by renting out their granny flats. Remember: by law, it must be used by the same household as the main dwelling – that doesn’t include renters. So you won’t be able to get that extra income.
Since much of the perceived value of a granny flat comes from rent, this means it’s unlikely to add much monetary value to your property here in Toowoomba. Its value really comes from solving accommodation issues for you and your family.
However, given many families have older relatives, visitors, or a growing family, granny flats can add value to your property if done well.
What else do I need to know?
There are different levels of assessment for any building work you’re considering. Plus, factors such as the size and zoning of your land will determine the regulations around development approval, so it’s best to check with council first. For the most up-to-date information, take a look at the Toowoomba Regional Planning Scheme. You can also head to the “Do I need approval” page on the council’s website for more information.
Looking to buy or sell in Toowoomba? Call our expert team today.