Granny Flat Requirements Sydney

August 4, 2022
Granny Flat Requirements Sydney

A granny flat is a self-contained, compact house of sixty square metres on the same property as a primary home. It offers many benefits to homeowners. For example, it can serve as additional accommodations for distant relatives, or you can rent it off to earn extra income and to pay off debts.

In 2009, the New South Wales (NSW) government enacted the State Environment Planning Policy (SEPP), allowing investors and homeowners with properties larger than 450 square metres to construct a granny flat in their backyards. This is fantastic news for retirees, homeowners, and savvy investors, because they can now look for houses for sale in Sydney, Australia knowing they can build a two-bedroom secondary dwelling in the backyard without council approval. 

What Are the Site Requirements for Building a Granny Flat in Sydney?

The following are the primary requirements for building granny flats:

  • A granny flat must be in the same block of land as the primary home.
  • The property shouldn’t be less than 450 square metres. However, different rules may apply to bigger block sizes.
  • The property should be a minimum of twelve metres wide. If your property doesn’t meet this condition, you can apply to build an attached granny flat.
  • There must be 0.9 metres distance from the property’s side boundaries and three metres setback from the rear.
  • There must be three metres from existing trees with a height of over four metres.
  • There must also be a maximum of sixty square metres of land for the granny flat.
  • Only one secondary dwelling is allowed per eligible property.

Per the NSW council guideline, the rules are different for properties that are over 900 square metres. Granny flats may be a great option if you are interested in renting an apartment in Sydney.

Can I Construct and Occupy a Granny Flat While My Primary House Is Built?

Granny Flat Requirements Sydney
Source: Tiny House Design

Sydney residents who want to rebuild their house may want to live on their property while the construction of their home is underway. Amendments have been made to allow temporary accommodation options without council approval for such residents, including installing a manufactured dwelling or transportable home. Another option is to construct a granny flat while your main house is under construction; however, this is only possible in areas where granny flats are allowed, such as residential areas. For the best dual living home designs in Sydney, check out this recent post.

What Is the Approval Process for a Granny Flat?

The council will first lodge and approve the Development Application (DA) for both your primary and secondary dwellings, or you can get the Complying Development certificate from the council or private certifier for all construction involved. 

Once you get the approval and construct the granny flat, an Occupation Certificate (OC) must be issued for the granny flat. The OC allows the occupation and use of the new space. For you to get an OC, there shouldn’t be any incomplete work on the building that poses safety and health risks to the occupants. 

Sometimes, requirements of consent are issued with the development approval, which you must meet before you can get an OC. An OC issued for the first stage of a partially completed development is subject to the condition that you must get another OC once the construction is complete; this second OC must be issued within five years of the initial OC. Once all the construction work is done, you must get the final OC.

Can You Construct a Double-Story Secondary Dwelling on Your Property?

Per the Affordable Rental Housing SEPP, you can construct a secondary dwelling above your garage, on top of your existing property, or as a standalone two-storey granny flat. 

However, your property’s height shouldn’t exceed 8.5 metres, and your secondary dwelling configuration should comply with the setbacks stated in the NSW regulations. 

Final Thoughts

According to the Affordable Housing SEPP, residential homeowners and property investors with properties larger than 450 square metres can construct a secondary dwelling on their properties. A granny flat should be on the same block of land as the primary home.

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