With parents that are entering those twilight years it is natural that we all consider how best to take care of them. Most of us don’t want to go down the aged care centre path and so the discussion centres around how to maintain their independence whilst keeping the options affordable. Hence the discussion of the Granny flat.
The Granny flat is a self contained unit that is added to your land as a separate dwelling. Homeowners with backyards are using granny flats to keep adult kids at home, build man-caves and “she-sheds’ and to generate income by renting it to travellers.
Research by Gateway Credit Union has found that one-third of homeowners are considering a granny flat, and another 22 per cent are open to the idea. The main reasons are to provide extra recreation space for family or as a home office, while ageing parents rank down the list. Women were more likely to take in a family member, the research found.
No longer humble converted shed out back, granny flats have evolved into modern and stylish retreats. These secondary dwellings also give families the chance to use a Granny Flat as a source of additional income as weekender, a beauty studio or massage therapy office.
These granny flats fetch tidy rentals prices, often just below the going rate for a one-bedroom apartment in the same suburb, but it would be a mistake to think that the rent reduction is good value. Many of the unapproved apartments are uninsulated, requiring almost constant heating or cooling to make them habitable, often resulting in high energy bills.
So before your heart on building a granny flat here are some facts you should be aware of:
You need to get council approval -if the residence is not approved, the Council can issue a penalty notice in the amount of $1,500, or commence criminal proceedings in the Land & Environment Court for breaching section 76A of the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act 1979
If the construction of the illegal dwelling was intentional, or if it causes serious environmental or personal harm or injury the penalties could be more severe. The maximum penalty ranges from $250,000 to $1M depending on the circumstances of the individual.
So can I build a granny flat? The short answer in most cases is yes, provided you can comply with your council’s Planning Policy. This is where it can get complicated. Most councils will ask that you comply with the Residential Design Codes and some have a few extra guidelines they will ask you to comply with as well.
Decide on your budget. It’s important to have a realistic budget, this will allow you to consider which options on your wishlist are goers and which ones you can live without. It’s important to remember though, you’re building a serious asset which will last a lifetime so it may be worth spending a little extra on a few creature comforts.
Types of Granny Flats. These can range from prefab, relocated homes to newly built structures. To get exactly what you want a custom built Granny Flat is often the desired choice.
The Cost of a Granny Flat. You might see everything from $40k to $250K. It really depends on the type of granny flat location, the size of the building and its inclusions.
If you are considering a granny flat, talk to us today and see how we can save you some of the legwork by informing you of the options and regulations you need to consider.