From planning requirements to the average cost, unique usage ideas and savvy ways to make money out of them, there’s much to know about the world of the contemporary granny flat. We caught up with Link Teale, the design manager at the Sydney-based Flat Grannys who gave us the in-depth lowdown.
“There are planning permissions which are necessary to build a granny flat on your property behind the principal dwelling. Provided your granny flat meets the minimum requirements, it should only take a short amount of time for your build to be approved,” says Link who warns that requirements are different in every Australian state.
“All state requirements vary, although in NSW, for example, the site area must be a minimum of 450 square metres and the maximum floor area of the granny flat must be 60 square metres. You should always make sure you read through your state guidelines carefully in order that there are no delays in the timeline of your construction,” says Link.
“The cost of a granny flat will vary depending on your specific requirements, but a budget of approximately $160,000 is generally an excellent figure to aim for. Of course, the number may be less or even more depending on how elaborate or straightforward your granny flat design plan is,” says Link.
“Speak to the bank and understand your budget before you begin to plan. That will help you realise how much you have for the build of the exterior, the design of the interior and the landscaping of the outdoor space,” says Link.
There’s no denying the appeal of having an extra, flexible space at home and the fabulous thing about granny flats is that they can be used in so many different ways. “Homeowners are using them to house their ageing parents or adult children or just keeping the space available for guests during the holiday season. But granny flats can also reduce the work commute by providing a secondary or even full-time office space,” says Link who explains that, state depending, they can also be rented out to provide a second income.
“Granny flats can provide a rental income in New South Wales, Western Australia, Northern Territory, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. South Australia, Queensland and Victoria are yet to allow the renting out of granny flats to generate an income although this may change in the future. If you plan to build and use your property to earn income, check your state rules to ensure full compliance,” says Link.
“But on the plus side, even if you are unable to rent out your granny flat, considerable savings can be made if you choose to house your family members or even use it as a home office,” says Link.
The days where a granny flat was a purely utilitarian add-on are long gone with contemporary designs looking more and more sophisticated and really like an extension of the main home. “As a company that specialises in beautiful and functional home designs, we are inspired by the uniqueness of contemporary granny flats, and we hope this continues. A granny flat need not be a one-design-fits-all, and you can really create something special to reflect your lifestyle,” says Link.
And the outdoor entertaining trend has hit the granny flat space too with plenty of focus on landscaping. “More attention is being given to the outdoor area surrounding a secondary dwelling so those who reside in the flat can entertain as well. While space is more limited in a granny flat than say a full-size house, thanks to clever space-saving designs, there is no need to skimp and save on the necessities.”
While you can of course go fully custom, Flat Grannys have a number of pre-designs to choose from, including The Barbara, The Doris, The Ethel and The Pattsi.
- A granny flat is a self-contained living space, designed for one or two people, either detached or attached to the principal dwelling of a family home. It tends to be at the rear of the main house and may also share a backyard and outdoor facilities with the occupants of the home.
- The name granny flat came about due to their popularity of multi-generational living and the need to house aging parents, namely granny and grandpa. The name stuck, but they’re also referred to as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) or a backyard cottages.
- A granny flat usually contains one or two bedrooms, a full kitchen or kitchenette, a bathroom, a living area and a laundry area.
- In most cases, there can only be one granny flat and one house on an individual lot. No subdivision of the lot is allowed.