Granny flat FAQs: permits, prices and more

Granny flats have plenty of benefits, including extra income, but building one is a big project with lots of ‘what ifs’. So, here are the answers to all the questions we’re frequently asked as granny flat builders.

DC House Granny Flats

Just like building or buying any house, there are rules and regulations that are often particular to the state or council area you’re in, which makes things even more confusing.

Fortunately, if you’re using a specialist granny flat builder they’ll likely know the answer to the big questions around permits and regulations (but we’ll cover them here just to put your mind at ease). Then, there are prices, renting, who pays for what, sizes, permits and more – so let’s take a look at the granny flat FAQs.

1. Do I need a permit to build a granny flat in Queensland?

Yes, you’ll need a permit known as a Secondary Dwelling Approval which is issued by your local council. It can take a few weeks for the approval process, but typically your builder should look after the submission of permits, so you won’t have to worry.

2. How big can my granny flat be legally?

There are three limitations on the size of the secondary dwelling: your budget, the size of the space on your land, and local council regulations.

Granny flats generally start at around 30m2 for a studio design, all the way up to 3-bedroom homes. The size you choose will depend on the budget you’ve allocated and how much room you have on your property.

If you contact a specialist granny flat builder like our team at DC House Granny Flats, we’ll measure out your property and help you determine which size will fit and suit your intentions (for example, renting it out or using it as extra living space or a home office).

Legally, the maximum size of a granny flat is typically 80m2, but that regulation can vary. For instance, on the Gold Coast granny flats can be up to 80m2 square metres, whereas Logan is capped at 70.

3. Who can rent my granny flat?

This is a great question because this rule was changed at the end of 2022. Previously, granny flats in most parts of Queensland could only be rented to direct relatives. The Palaszczuk government overhauled the rule in a bid to increase available housing.

Today, you can rent your granny to anyone, not just family. You can check local listings for a reasonable price guide. Granny flats are incredibly popular because of their low-maintenance lifestyle and comparatively affordable rent.

4. Can I build a granny flat on a sloping block?

Yes, you can, but remember that sloping blocks can be more challenging and add extra expense. A builder will be able to advise you on the best and most economical way to structure your granny flat.

The bottom line is: don’t let abnormal terrain stop you from asking if a granny flat is an option. Secondary dwellings are much more flexible in size and design than traditional homes, making them more versatile even on challenging landscapes.

5. Can I build a granny flat on a small block?

Absolutely! That’s the beauty of granny flats – they’re incredibly economical and have a tiny footprint if that’s all you can fit.

6. What kind of site restrictions should I look for?

Regulations vary between states and even local councils, but we can give you a general overview. It’s always best to check with an experienced builder who can visit your site and give a more accurate idea. If you choose to proceed with a granny flat, the builder should make sure it complies 100% with any relevant codes and regulations.

Here are some examples of restrictions and regulations. It may need:

  • Its own private entrance separate from your main dwelling (where you live)
  • At least one sleeping area, a bathroom, a kitchen and a living area
  • To comply with relevant building codes, including fire safety and energy efficiency requirements
  • To have a parking space either on your property or somewhere safely nearby
  • Boundary requirements, which can be somewhere between 6 – 9 metres from the main dwelling (this can vary, so it’s best to get expert advice)

7. How much does it cost to build a granny flat in Queensland?

Just like any home, the cost will be determined by the size of the granny flat, the materials and finishes you choose, and the location. You’ll typically find granny flats priced between $80,000 and potentially even $200,000 or more, although that would typically be a 3-bedroom luxury build.

Most of our clients spend approximately $120,000 to $150,000 on a granny flat, which saves them hundreds of thousands on a traditional investment property (which would be $ 1 million or more in South East Queensland these days). The best way to know is to get a custom quote.

8. Can’t I just use a flat-pack granny flat and build it myself?

Kit homes are initially cheaper, but rarely match the quality and durability of a constructed granny flat. Often, people end up spending more money on all the bits and pieces that weren’t included in the kit, hiring a builder to put it together, and then having to contract tradespeople to connect power, sewerage, water and so on. Ultimately, the difference in savings is little, but the difference in quality is clear. Quality affects your rental potential and could cost more long-term in maintenance and repairs.

9. What will my renters pay?

It’s a good idea to get a Tenancy Agreement for your granny flat. The Agreement can stipulate any extra costs that your tenants have to pay; for instance, water or electricity. However, you can only charge for water and power if it’s individually metred, the property is energy efficient, and the charges are stated clearly in the Tenancy Agreement.

One final question we get asked is how the process happens from scratch. This is how we operate:

  • We visit your property, measure it out, ask about how you want to use the granny flat and put together a quote.
  • We’ll take care of the paperwork, and once you’re ready we can break ground.
  • Construction takes between 12 and 16 weeks, and we’ll manage it all while keeping you in the loop.
  • We have a design team that walks you through the process of choosing fixtures and finishes, facades and paint colours.

Granny flats are typically very straightforward builds and we only use quality materials and builders so our clients get the best end result.

If you’re interested in finding out if a granny flat suits your property, you can get in touch with us anytime for a chat and an obligation-free quote. It has never been a better time to capitalise on your property’s space and create more much-needed housing and a bonus side income.

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