There are many regulations that surround building a granny flat. However, if you have just purchased a new block of land, there are several rules that may be unclear. Such as, can you build a granny flat before your main house?
No – you cannot build a granny flat on a block without a primary dwelling being there first.
But … I will clear up some confusion as to what is possible with your property. And cover how to build a granny flat at the same time as the main house.
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Plus much more, so lets jump right in.
Can You Build a Granny Flat at the Same Time as the Main House?
Technically, yes – although there are some regulations involved.
Before breaking out the tools be sure to understand the guidelines below
Basically, you can apply for a main dwelling and a granny flat at the same time, but:
- The main house must be the first to get its’ Occupation Certificate.
This is as one of the key requirements of building a granny flat is that it is established in conjunction with another dwelling (the main house).
So, if you are thinking of building a granny flat at the same time as the main house:
- Get your plans drawn up for the main house and granny flat combined.
- Then submit them to your local Council together to be approved.
- The primary dwelling must be deemed ‘Occupiable’ first.
Can You Separate the Title on Your Land Once a Granny Flat is Built?
The short answer is no.
Granny flats are registered with your local Council as a secondary dwelling on a primary property, and they must always remain this way.
That means that the primary dwelling and the granny flat must continue to be in the same block.
So, this means that after a granny flat has been built on your property, you are not allowed to:
- Subdivide the land into two separate titles, or
- Ever sell it as a separate property.
For further information on the regulations, see my article on a Granny Flat vs a Subdivision to find out what is best for you.
I once had a real estate visit my property and mentioned that the land was big enough to subdivide. I said I didn’t have the funds to build a duplex hence the reason to build a granny flat.
And he made an interesting point, and said when you build a granny flat you are not ruling out a subdivision in the future. He mentioned that a granny flat would be entirely paid off within 10 years.
Then if the land had gone up in that time and the figures made sense to knockdown and build a duplex I could always do this in the future.
Can You Live on Your Land Before a House is Built?
This is very precarious territory, as we are talking about living on a vacant block.
By law, your local Council can prevent you from doing so.
Their main concerns include:
- Inadequate Sewerage – You may have inadequate plumbing and sewerage works in the area. This could be an issue for both yourself and your neighbours.
- Inadequate Living Conditions – Things such as no connection to electricity, may cause them to be worried about the conditions in which you are living.
- Illegal Use of Dwellings – They could be concerned about you overstaying on the block of land.
However, do not be afraid to ask your local Council whether you can do it.
You may find that you are given permission to do so for a short period of time, in a movable structure.
You may have to give a good enough reason, such as you are awaiting approval of your building plans, to receive permission.
It really does depend on:
- The Council that your property is located in.
- What their regulations are.
- Even how generous they are feeling on the day that you ask.
For more information on just what you can and cannot do on a block of vacant land, see more information about building a granny flat on empty land.
Since Covid, a lot of councils have loosened rules about living on vacant land in a movable dwelling. And with the cost of living increasing there is a lot of change on the horizon with local councils.
Due to this you may be pleasantly surprised if council allows you a longer stay.
Can You Live in a Caravan on Your Land While Building?
If you are looking for somewhere to live temporarily while building, an on-site caravan would be legal.
However, as suggested, this is a temporary solution only. Your local Council can control how long you can control how long you are able to live in one.
Depending on your area, this ranges anywhere from 6 months to 2-3 years.
As such, I suggest you contact your local Council directly for their regulations.
No, you cannot legally build a granny flat before your main house.
As, one of the key regulations for building a granny flat is that it is set up in conjunction with another dwelling (the primary dwelling).
However, you can build a granny flat at the same time as your main house. And this can certainly make a difference to the cost of construction when both dwellings are built as the same time, you will find this will be cheaper.
You can get your plans drawn up for both combined and submit them to your local Council together for approval.
The only regulation is that the main house must be classified as ‘Occcupiable’ before the granny flat.
Once the granny flat is built, you cannot separate the title on your land. Your local Council has registered the granny flat as a secondary dwelling on a primary property, and they must stay this way.
Meaning, the main home and the granny flat must always be in the same block, they can never be separated. If you are thinking of living on your land before your house is built, you are entering dangerous territory.
As you are thinking about living on a vacant block, your local Council can stop you from doing so. However, do not be afraid to ask them whether or not they will allow it.
You may find that they will give you permission, even if only temporarily and in a movable structure. This really all depends on the rules of your local Council, so I suggest that you ask them directly.
If you are thinking about living in a caravan temporarily while building, this would be allowed. However, as a temporary solution only – your local Council can control how long you can live there.
The time in which they will allow you to live there ranges drastically depending on your area. By drastically, I mean anywhere from six months up to three years.
As such, I recommend that you contact your local Council directly for their specific regulations.