Victorians may soon find it far easier and lucrative to build granny flats - including for investment and downsizing purposes - after the introduction of a new trial planning code across four council areas.
The Victorian Government is currently trialling a granny flat planning code in Greater Bendigo and Murrindindi (regional councils) and Kingston and Moreland councils (metropolitan Melbourne councils).
Under the code, a granny flat (officially known as a secondary dwelling) must meet a range of siting and design requirements, including not exceeding a gross floor area of 60 square metres and not exceeding five metres in height.
Planning requirements relating to overlooking, side and rear setbacks and solar access to open space must be met.
A secondary dwelling will not require a car space, but it cannot be subdivided from the main lot. If all requirements are met, an approval can be obtained in just ten days.
“Secondary dwellings are designed to be small homes with good internal amenity for people who don’t want larger homes,” the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning says about the dwellings on its web page. “The reasons for downsizing include environmental or financial factors.”
The pilot program will run from August 2020 and conclude in March 2021.
After an analysis of the trial, the Victorian Government will consider introducing the code across the State.
Importantly, the trial code will for the first time allow granny flats in Victoria to be both permanent and occupied by the general population - not just family members.
Until now, Victoria has arguably had Australia’s strictest regulations for granny flats and required that these dwellings have to be moveable and occupied by a person dependent on people living in the main family home on the block. This differs to the situation in NSW, where anyone is able to rent a granny flat, making them popular among property investors.
The release of the Victorian trial code comes as the Australian Government moves to ensure family home owners who build granny flats don’t have to pay capital gains tax if they used the flats to accommodate family members.
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