Granny Flats & Studios



The formal name for a “Granny Flat’’ is an Ancillary Dwelling so if you’ve been googling for requirements and restrictions you might be getting a bit lost… But we’re hoping this blog is exactly what you’re looking for. ?

WHAT IS AN ANCILLARY DWELLING?

As per the Dept of Housing WA an ancillary dwelling is a small, self-contained dwelling located on the same lot as another single house. It can be attached to the main house, integrated with the main house, or a separate building to the main house. Another name could be a “Fonzie flat,” which is a small self-contained dwelling above a garage.

Facilities may include a small kitchen and bathroom, that allow occupants to live in them independently from the main house. Ins some cases council planning approvals will require an additional car space for the ancillary dwelling.

WHAT CAN AN ANCILLARY DWELLING BE USED FOR?

The State Planning Policy 3.1 (SPP 3.1) Residential Design Codes makes it possible to rent ancillary dwellings to non-family members. Providing housing opportunities for private tenants, carers or unrelated seniors and students.

Be aware that the change to occupancy requirements does not automatically apply to existing ancillary dwellings. A new approval from the council is usually required before they can be occupied by a non-family member.

HOW BIG CAN AN ANCILLARY DWELLING BE?

SPP 3.1 limits ancillary dwellings to a maximum floor area of 70m2, although this may differ across local councils. While there are no specific restrictions on how many people can live in an ancillary dwelling, because of their size they are usually only suitable for single people, couples, or a small family

How many ancillary dwelling can be built on one lot?

Only one ancillary dwelling can be built on each lot. Building an ancillary dwelling does not allow you to subdivide your lot, unless it is already allowed under the local planning scheme. In most cases the lot area would need to be at least 450sqm.

WHAT ARE THE PLANNING REQUIREMENTS?

Your local council will need to be contacted to fully understand the planning regulations that apply to your area. The Residential Design Codes set out the key planning regulations for ancillary dwellings, including minimum lot sizes, maximum floor area, and parking requirements. When building with White Building Co we can ensure all building applications and approvals are taken care of.

Will my council rates change?

Most likely, local councils may need to provide additional facilities for this new dwelling e.g. garbage bins, cross over, and as such may increase your rates accordingly.

Will more services be needed?

New meters or sub-meters for electricity, gas or water may be needed. If this is not factored into the planning stages, it could lead to issues with future approvals if the dwelling is to be occupied by a non-family member. When building with White Building Co we make contact will all relevant stakeholders to ensure the most appropriate option is factored in. Please note only licenced electricians and plumbers should be used to ensure correct and safe workmanship and prevent any grievance down the track.

WHAT ARE THE BUILDING REQUIREMENTS?

New ancillary dwellings will need building approval to ensure that it meets the required measures of the Building Code of Australia (BCA) i.e. safety (structural and fire), health, amenity and sustainability.

At White Building Co we take the appropriate steps towards getting certification for your ancillary dwelling. It is crucial that this is done correctly as poor consultation with the local council could lead to issues with future approvals if the dwelling is to be occupied by a non-family member.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR RENTING AN ANCILLARY DWELLING

Ancillary dwelling can be a great invest opportunity. But before acting please consider the following:

Rental income and costs may affect your tax, your mortgage, or your eligibility for government benefits. Like any property investment White Building Co highly advises seeking financial advice prior to commitment.

Don’t forget to check with your home insurance company as changes to your policy will be likely.

Tenancy laws will know apply under the Residential Tenancies Act 1987, contact the Department of Commerce to understand your requirement.