Master Builders welcomes upcoming granny flat law changes

27 September 2022

Master Builders welcomes the changes to allow the renting out of secondary dwellings, known as ‘granny flats’, without the need for development approval.

This is exactly the type of urgent action needed to address Queensland’s housing crisis. It's through Queensland-wide consistency of planning for housing that we'll be able to achieve housing affordability.

Master Builders is therefore calling on Government to go on step further and introduce a mandatory state-wide housing code. This code would further streamline and simplify housing requirements across the state, reducing red tape for new homes.

Earlier this year, Master Builders joined QCOSS and other groups in an unprecedented joint call for more state social housing funding. QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh said more than 50,000 Queenslanders did not have a safe home to go to.

“Queensland is simultaneously experiencing a rental crisis, unaffordable house prices, soaring costs of living, reoccurring natural disasters, and a record social housing register, with more than 50,000 people waiting for a home,” Ms McVeigh said.

Advice for homeowners

The changes as to who can rent out your granny flat may lead you to considering building a new secondary dwelling or adding to your home.

Slapping something together, building an illegal structure or using a shonky builder may seem lucrative, but is not an option! You must comply with building laws, codes and regulations, and that means only using a licenced contractor. If you hire a builder or tradesperson to do work that is valued at over $3,300, you must ensure they have a Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) licence.

You must also make sure you have the appropriate approvals before going ahead. A new build or significant changes to an existing building will also need to comply with the latest National Construction Code (NCC).

Good things come to those who wait! There are currently widespread material and trade shortages across Queensland due to a series of unfortunate events including COVID-19 and flooding. This means builders and materials may take longer to line up than anticipated.

When it comes time to rent out your granny flat, there's a few things to note:

  • Ensure the building is compliant with all requirements, in particular fire safety. Renting your space out as a separate dwelling may require fire separation work and the installation of smoke alarms. Check with a building inspector or certifier
  • Be sure your new rental space is adhering to Queensland tenancy laws and changes.
  • Check with your local council as to any requirements and find out if renting this will impact your rates
  • Consider electricity and water usage and whether you need changes to how they are metered
  • Check with your insurer if you need landlord insurance, and if they require anything else before you can rent out the space, and
  • Check the tax implications with any rental income.

The Queensland Government has said that the changes are for a three year period. While there's no firm decision on when, or if, the rules will revert it's something that should be considered before making an investment.

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