Ancillary dwelling (granny flats) – approval requirements

The Residential Design Codes (R-Codes) define an ancillary dwelling, also known as a granny flat, as a:

“Self contained dwelling on the same lot as a single house which may be attached to, integrated with or detached from the single house.”

Ancillary dwellings cannot be constructed on the same lot as a grouped dwelling where there is common property.

Planning requirements

Ancillary dwellings must:

  • Be located on the same lot as a single house. The lot area must not be less than 450m² (the City’s Online Maps can be used to determine a lot area);
  • Have a maximum floor area of 70m²;
  • Provide an additional car bay (in addition to car parking provided for the main dwelling) where the property is not within 800m of a train station, or 250m from a high frequency bus route;
  • Comply with all other R-Code provisions and requirements of the City’s Residential Development Local Planning Policy and/or structure plan as they apply to single houses, with the exception of site area, street surveillance and outdoor living areas; and
  • Where visible from the street, complement the existing house by way of scale, roof design, detailing, window size, material and colours in accordance with the City’s Residential Development Local Planning Policy.

Where the Ancillary Dwelling does not satisfy these requirements (with the exception of being located on the same lot as a single house, which cannot be varied) the applicant may apply for an assessment against the relevant Design Principles of the R-Codes. The City will then review the proposal to determine if it is able to be supported or not.

Please note that it is generally considered by the City that an ancillary dwelling with a plot ratio area of more than 70m² does not meet the Design Principles of the R-Codes.

An ancillary dwelling can be rented out separately to the main house, subject to meeting the definition of dwelling under the Residential Design Codes.

Approval requirements

An Application for Development Approval is required for ancillary dwellings which do not meet the above requirements.

A building permit application is required for all ancillary dwellings.