Property Law
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Building a Granny Flat

Have you or your family ever thought of building a granny flat on your property?

If so, it is necessary to consider this step from both a building point of view and from a legal rights perspective.

Building Requirements

Recent reforms in state government planning mean that families will generally no longer require a planning permit to build a small secondary residence (often referred to as a “granny flat”) on their property, provided it occupies less than 60 square meters, their property is at least 300square meters, and there are no issues with flooding or environmental overlays.

By eliminating or reducing the planning permit requirement, it is now much simpler for families to build a small second home on their land. This helps family members stay closer to jobs, public transport, education, healthcare services, and existing social networks. This is especially helpful for families who yearn to keep their elderly and young members nearby but find themselves priced out of established neighbourhoods. The reforms also assist in addressing the current housing supply challenges.

Families are also free to choose how to use their small second home. Whether it is used to accommodate family members or provide temporary housing. Whatever you do, make sure you have good construction, legal and accounting advice.

Although the new changes simplify part of the process, there are still several mandatory requirements that apply to constructing a small second home. For example, you will still need to obtain building permits and comply with ResCode (residential design code) setback and siting requirements.

Additionally, a second home cannot be connected to reticulated natural gas and cannot be subdivided or separately sold from the main residence. A small second dwelling must also meet the residential tenancy requirements, such as facilities, room sizes, smoke alarms and planning scheme.

Accordingly, property owners should take the time to understand the requirements for building granny flats. It is also important to consider whether there are any covenants or other restrictions attached to your land to avoid any monetary loss or penalties for breaching the council’s planning scheme.

Legal Rights

A Granny Flat would normally become part of the property on which it is built, however before committing to the payment of funds, consideration should be given to:

- Who will retain the benefit of the Granny Flat?

- Should other family members be compensated either during your lifetime or by way of a gift in your Will?;

- Should financial or other arrangements be recorded in a Deed?

- What will the consequences be if you wish to leave the Granny Flat?

- If you vacate the Granny Flat, how will you be compensated for any funds you have paid?

- How will you pay to move to Aged Care if this is necessary?

 If you would like to discuss the regulatory requirements and how to safeguard your interests, the Property or Wills and Estate team will be happy to assist on 9870 9870.

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