The Removable Granny Flat

February 12, 2016

Granny Flats are also known as Removable Units, but in ‘Council speak’ they are Dependant Persons Units (“DPU”).

According to Knox City Council:
“A dependent persons unit is described as a movable building on the same lot as an existing dwelling and used for a person dependent on a resident of the existing dwelling. If the dependent persons unit is used for this purpose, a planning permit is not required unless located within a Bushfire Management Overlay). The unit must be removed once the dependent relative use no longer exists.”

Other Councils treat DPU’s in differing ways. These treatments range from “removal of the  movable building once the dependent person is no longer a dependent” (Greater Shepparton), to decommissioning of the kitchen and re-classifying the building as an addition (Knox Council), to requiring the owner, as a condition of the Planning Permit (if they have actually applied for it) to agree to remove the building once the dependent person no longer resides there (as they would then be in breach of the Planning Permit) (Yarra Ranges Council).

The concern is that there are a number of building firms advertising their expertise in the construction of DPU’s, but they usually fail to advise prospective owners that they should clarify with the Council as to what will be the situation when the DPU is vacated.

Given the above, a DPU at the back of an existing property may actually devalue the worth of the property. Consider the issue where a buyer of the property is required to have the DPU removed as a result of it no longer being occupied by a dependent person.

If in doubt when building a “granny flat”, ensure that you clarify with the relevant Council what the effect of the dependent person leaving will have on the unit. Further, be sure that you tell us when you are considering purchasing a property with a DPU.

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