Granny Flat Sheds: What You Need to Know

Granny Flat Sheds

Though it varies slightly in purpose (and by building regulations) a granny flat is a cabin-like structure typically built at the rear of an existing house, and serves as either additional accommodation for a resident of the property, as a temporary guest house for visiting relatives, or even as an add-on residence that can then be rented out. With this understanding now in place, let’s have a more in-depth look at the granny flats in Australia.

Granny Flat Sheds Defined

As opposed to a regular granny flat – or even a modular granny flat – a granny flat shed is a form of detached accommodation that is typically smaller and more uniform in purpose. Usually they do not come with occupancy certificates meaning they legally cannot be rented as a habitable building. By virtue of it bearing the ‘shed’ definition, a granny flat shed finds its best use for those who seek to add an extra living space to their existing home, as a spare room, and as a temporary accommodation for family or friends who come to visit and stay for a time.

Can I build a granny flat?

Granny Flat Sheds Differences

The advantage of a granny flat shed over others is, due to their smaller footprint, and the massive lower costs of not having plumbing/electrical connections, the cost of construction is typically less. While a regular granny flat can cost over $100,000, a granny flat shed’s starting price can be closer to $85,000. For those who are new to home renovations and new installations, beginning with a granny flat shed can often be an attractive idea as it is seemingly easy to modify, upgrade, or even deconstruct for a new construction if found unsuitable later on.

The trade-off to saving in costs is most notably the fact that a granny flat shed often does not pass as a ‘habitable structure’ (meaning it does not have an occupancy certificate). Hence it can be very difficult to get these legally approved as rental units or even habitable structures. This means you may be risking your future property sale value when buyers can’t use this as a dual occupancy granny flat & further possibly heavy fines if the council believes it’s being habited.

Other trade-offs are usually in the quality of construction materials, the flexibility of amendments to floor plans (for while you can upgrade a granny flat shed it is hard to seek an upgrade to a markedly different flat like a boutique version without diminishing design), and wider considerations surrounding style, aesthetics, and whether the structure is likely to be seen as an asset or eyesore by a potential buyer of your land in the future.

Just the same as a Victorian-era house was not built for a car garage, a post-War home was not built with computers and internet connection in mind, so too is the construction of a smaller granny flat that is merely sufficient now likely to grow as a problem in future where growing lifestyle and technological needs may require more space or a modified design. Though this is not something to obsess over, it does mean considering a long-term view is vital.

For this reason, you may find a granny flat shed is ideal for your simple needs today but may leave you desiring for more features and great space tomorrow. While customisations, add-ons, and more construction are always possible, getting it right the first time around should ensure that you can avoid encountering a need for further work down the road. So guaranteeing that the space of your granny flat shed meets your needs at the outset is a core consideration.

Granny flat sheds are at their best on a land where the existing home is sizeable, versatile, and able to sufficiently cater to changing needs of the family in the long term. Furthermore, a granny flat shed also serves to complement an existing residence where the needs of those living in the main house only require a slight addition or amenities on the existing land to complete their home.

For those who do aspire to use a granny flat for a larger, ongoing, or distinctive use as a living space on the land then often a granny flat shed can prove a bit limiting. Nonetheless, many granny flat designs begin their first incarnation as a granny flat shed that can then be built outwards or expanded upon thereafter. So if you’re wondering whether a granny flat would work well as a new addition to your land, looking first at a granny flat shed can be a solid starting point.