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What are the NSW council requirements for granny flats?

by May 27, 2020

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No council approval needed to build a granny flat on your property!

That’s right, Central Coast home owners don’t need council approval to build a granny flat but their property should meet minimum requirements.

In 2009, the NSW Government released the Affordable Housing State Environment Planning Policy (SEPP) which allows all residential home owners (and property investors) with a property larger than 450m2  (that also has a minimum 12m street frontage) to build a granny flat on their property.

This is exceptional news for savvy investors, homeowners and retirees and actually means that you are able to have a 2 bedroom granny flat built in your backyard, with no council approval (and no unjustified neighbour objections) approved in just 4 weeks.

In this guide you’ll learn:

Minimum Site Requirements for a granny flat:

A granny flat is a self-contained small home of 60m² built in the backyard of an already existing house. Below are the main council requirements for granny flats:

  • Property must be a minimum of 450m2 in area (different rules apply for larger block sizes, go to section: Granny flat setback requirements).
  • Property must have residential zoning (go to section: Residential Zoning requirements)
  • Property must have a minimum 12 metre width at the building line of the existing dwelling. If your property does not meet this requirement you are able to apply for an attached granny flat.
  • Maintain a 3m setback from the rear, 0.9m setback from the side boundaries.
  • Maintain a distance of 3m from any existing trees over 4m in height.
  • Maximum 60m2 external area for the granny flat.
  • Maximum of 1 granny flat is permissible per eligible block.

Alternatively if your property doesn’t meet the above NSW requirements for CDC Approval, our team can assess your property to see if Development Assessment through your local Council can be completed to approve your project, contact us today to discuss the DA Approval process.

The diagram below shows the council requirements for a block size that is between 450m2 & 900m2 in size.

Granny Flat Council Requirements NSW

These site requirement rules for granny flats are still current in NSW as of today.

According to council regulations in NSW, the rules change for properties that are larger than 900m2. Refer to the table below which shows NSW council requirements for lot sizes that are between 900m2  & 1,500m2  and more than 1,500m2. Alternatively download our NSW granny flat fact sheet to learn more.

Granny flat setback requirements for any block size:

Lot size (sqm) Minimum frontage (lineal meters) Min side setback height <=3.8M Min rear setback height <=3.8M
450-900 12m 0.9m 3m
900-1,500 15m 1.5m 5m
1,500+ 18m 2.5m 10m

Scenario 1: Can I build a double storey granny flat on my property?

Yes, according to the Affordable Rental Housing SEPP, it is possible to build a granny flat on top of your existing property, above a garage or simply as a standalone 2 storey granny flat. Note that the total height of your property must not exceed 8.5m and your granny flat configuration must comply with the front and rear setback requirements of the NSW legislation. Contact Acrow to find out if you can build a 2 storey granny flat.

Scenario 2: Can I alter my house to contain a granny flat?

Yes, it is possible to convert part of your current house into a granny flat. Again this configuration must comply with specific requirements according to NSW granny flat rules. Contact Acrow to find out if you can build a granny flat.

Residential zoning requirements

As mentioned above, your property must be zoned residential to be allowed to build a granny flat. More specifically, residential zones R1, R2, R3, R4 and RU5 are approved for complying developments.

  • Zone R1 General Residential 
  • Zone R2 Low Density Residential 
  • Zone R3 Medium Density Residential 
  • Zone R4 High Density Residential 
  • Zone R5 Large Lot Residential (via DA only) 
  • Or equivalent zones for the local council area. 

How to check the zoning and  find the land size of your property?

You can search for planning information about your property by visiting the NSW Planning Portal’s Spatial Viewer website. This mapping service provides you with information-rich maps for every address and lot in NSW.

This article should only be used as an indicative tool to help you understand current NSW requirements to build a secondary dwelling on your block. Other key points are to be considered and a site inspection will be required in order to determine the appropriateness of building a granny flat on your property. Get in touch with Acrow to arrange a free site inspection.

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