What You Need to Know About a Granny Flat Garage Conversion

Before you start any work on a granny flat garage conversion, make sure you have all the information you need to make sure that your project complies with all of the building codes and planning rules in your area.

In this video, Colin Fragar, our founder and CEO, shares what you need to know about converting your garage into a granny flat.

Click on the “Play” button below to watch now:

Or for those that prefer to read, here is a transcript of the video…

So what do you need to know about a granny flat garage conversion? Or maybe you’ve got a garage and you want to convert it into a granny flat. My name is Colin Fragar from Council Approval Group. This is a really important question that you’ve asked and I hope to be able to answer it today.

Every single day of the week there is somebody probably somewhere in Australia who is converting a garage into a granny flat with a hope of extra rental income. Now, understandably, pressure is on for families and they need an extra bit of financial security by having an extra rental. However, there’s some important considerations to take into account.

Considerations for a Granny Flat Garage Conversion

If you have a garage, it’s not a habitable dwelling. It’s not a habitable space and, likely, there are some Building Code of Australia restrictions which you are not complying with. For example, the ceiling height or what the original approval was for. And what we find is that people, well-meaning trades people or builders say “you don’t need approval for that”. They go in there, maybe install some sort of a kitchen, some sort of a low key studio kitchen, or something like that. And the owner thinks, Okay, great, I’ve now got an extra rental income and it’s hardly cost me anything. The challenge is that you actually have done an illegal development.
If you have a garage, it’s not a habitable dwelling. It’s not a habitable space and, likely, there are some Building Code of Australia restrictions which you are not complying with.
I just wanna run you through that. So council needs to approve any sort of a change of use. And if you’re going from a non habitable garage into a habitable space, which is now a granny flat, it needs to be approved. Every single week, somebody approaches us who has done the wrong thing, usually unintentionally, without prior knowledge of what they’re supposed to do. So they’ve come to us because council is on their back and they have received a letter and a notice from council.

Why Compliance is Important

It’s what they call a notice of intention to issue an order. Now, this is a serious matter, because the fine, depending on the jurisdiction, can be $4,000 to $5,000 per day. They give you a period of time to comply. And if you don’t comply, which typically includes ceasing the use or stop renting out that property and demolishing whatever you’ve done wrong, then they will find you every single day.

As well as that, there’s considerations about insurance. If you had a tragedy at the property, if there are some sort of a fire or an accident, then it’s likely that your insurer will not cover you. Insurance companies, as we know, don’t really want to pay out insurance claims at the best of times, but particularly they will not do it for illegality.

Get the Right Advice

So it’s really, really important if you have converted your garage into a granny flat or you’re thinking about doing it that you get the right advice. So what I recommend you do is to grab a copy of Your Ultimate Guide to Council Approval. There are some thoughts in there for you and you can grab a copy of that complimentary from our website. But what’s probably more important is that you engage us to look at your property. Now we do offer a free consultation. It’s a 30-minute process and it’s confidential. So we will go through what you’re trying to achieve or what your questions are. And then we’ll be able to paint a clear roadmap for you going forward.

It’s really important that you do the right thing. I hope this video has been helpful for you as you’ve contemplated your garage space and that you can pull it off. We are engaged usually once per week to be able to lodge an application to counsel to get garage conversions rectified. So if you’ve done the wrong thing, there are things we can do to fix it. But please get that advice early on.

My name is Colin Fragar from Council Approval Group and we look forward to talking to you soon.