If you’ve considered buying or building a granny flat, you’re not alone. The soaring housing costs in Australia have led many to find more affordable places to live. Granny flats have also gained popularity for their trendy and artistic lifestyle.
Whatever your reasons may be for going granny flat hunting, here’s our Buyer’s Guide in Melbourne to help you choose a flat as you look at various granny flat plans. But more importantly, our guide includes the legal considerations that you ought to be aware of concerning granny flat construction and rental.
Abiding by the Law
Probably first crucial step you should take before even embarking on buying a granny flat is to ensure its legality, especially if you plan to rent it out. The last thing you want is to have to demolish it because authorities deemed it an illegal building or structure. Ensure the legal status of the granny flat before you buy one.
It’s not that the law wants to rain on your granny flat parade—the laws affecting granny flat rentals aim to protect people from exploitation and ensure safe living conditions. In other words, people can’t just make a quick buck by sticking some box in their backyard and renting it out to just anybody.
Renting out your granny flat for extra income is not allowed at the moment in Melbourne and the rest of Victoria, except to dependents of those residing in the main house. Authorities are reevaluating these regulations. Do note that regulations vary between councils, so it’s always best to find out what your particular council’s are.
Understanding Local Regulations
You can access detailed Victoria movable unit regulations and council listings. These regulations generally require granny flats to be in residential zones on properties with a minimum size of 450 sqm, allowing only one granny flat per premises.
Being the legal owner of both the granny flat and the main house consolidates them under a single title. As a result, the granny flat and the main house share a single electric, internet, and water bill.
All granny flats, regardless of size, must adhere to Australian standards and the Building Code of Australia. Complying with these regulations is essential, as a well-constructed granny flat can increase your property’s value. Non-compliance may necessitate demolition if you intend to maximize your profits upon sale.
If you’re wondering what a good size might be, one rule of thumb would be to not have your granny flat take up too much space in your garden, maintaining sufficient yard space for property value.
Another rule of thumb is to consider how many people will be using the granny flat and for what purpose—is it going to be a one-person home office or accommodate full-time residents like your grandparents?
When it comes choosing a design for your granny flat, you’ll want to make sure it matches the style of the main house to give your entire property a unified, harmonious look. Whether you build a separate standalone or extend the main house, make sure the design includes its own entrance and provides clear pedestrian access to comply with regulations.
If your backyard can connect to a rear street, it meets granny flat access needs. Otherwise, consider adding a side entrance. Verify parking availability for potential renters with cars.
When evaluating granny flat plans with bathrooms and kitchens, consider power and plumbing connections on your property. Ensure privacy for both full-time occupants of the granny flat and the main house when buying
Picking the Perfect Spot
Granny flats offer flexibility in placement; they can go beyond your backyard. When buying or building a granny flat, consider installing it above the garage a la “Fonzie style”, in the attic, or even underground, as long as it has its own entrance.
Also known as an “attached granny flat”, a home extension can seamlessly open into the main house through a lockable link door, allowing complete separation as needed.
Fits Within Your Budget
If you own the land for your granny flat, the rent-to-cost ratio favors you. This means that for as long as you have the funds for construction, building a granny flat is likely to be a good idea in the long run.
When you decide to build your granny flat, remember costs can exceed expectations, especially when considering permits and design/construction expenses. When purchasing, clarify the final, all-inclusive cost.
And while DIY kits and similar transportable modules might seem cheaper at first glance, investing in a customised, high quality granny flat could be better for the value of your property in the long run.
There’s nothing like having someone you can rely on to guide you through every step of buying or building a granny flat in Melbourne—someone with more than 40 years of quality granny flat construction experience.