Secondary dwellings (also known as granny flats) and Rooming accommodation, are becoming increasingly popular across Brisbane and other regions within south-east Queensland. We are often asked what is the difference between the two types of developments and when town planning approval is required. Read on if you would like to find out the answers.
BCC defines a Secondary dwelling as a dwelling, whether attached or detached, that is used in conjunction with, and subordinate to, a dwelling house on the same lot. Secondary dwellings can be in the form of a separate standalone building on the same site as the main house or form an extension or part of a dwelling house (e.g. on lower level). To be considered a Secondary dwelling, it must be self-contained with facilities for food preparation, bathroom, toilet and washing facilities.
In certain circumstances, secondary dwellings do not require a town planning approval. In Brisbane, these include (but are not limited to):
- Maximum size of 80 square metres GFA;
- Must be located within 20 metres of the main dwelling house; and
- Occupied by 1 or more members of the same household as the dwelling house.
Where a Secondary dwelling does not comply with the relevant criteria, then assessment is triggered for town planning approval. A planning scheme overlay, such as biodiversity or flooding, may also trigger a town planning application.
The dwelling must be occupied by 1 or more members of the same household as the dwelling house, otherwise you will need to obtain approval for a different use such as Dual occupancy or Rooming accommodation depending on the circumstances.
Rooming accommodation is a form of residential accommodation and is commonly used for off-site student accommodation or a boarding house where each resident has the right to occupy 1 or more rooms (but not the entire premises) and shares other rooms, furniture and facilities. These include a kitchen, dining, bathroom and laundry. Occupants of Rooming accommodation do not need to form a single household. The use is ideally located within a walkable catchment to public transport, a tertiary education campus or teaching facilities.
Some of the key provisions for Rooming accommodation in low density residential areas in Brisbane include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Development accommodates not more than 5 persons in a dwelling at any time (6 or more maybe possible in higher density zones);
- Sufficient amount of car parking spaces provided (minimum of 2 spaces);
- Maximum of 3 bins, 1 meter box and 1 letter box;
- Provided with essential services such as electricity, sewerage, water, telecommunications and living facilities including a bathroom, kitchen and laundry; and
- Complies with fire safety standards.
The intent of these provisions is to ensure that development for Rooming accommodation minimises impacts on the amenity of adjoining residential dwellings or other neighbouring sensitive uses.
Although the information provided above applies to development within Brisbane, it is important to flag that other local government areas may have their own provisions regarding Secondary dwellings and Rooming accommodation and it is always worth checking.
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