Why Victoria is lagging on granny flats
Tough planning requirements restrict the Victorian granny flat market.
Consider the granny flat. It’s compact, cosy and close by. Yet even in our notoriously tight rental market, it’s something of a rarity. Why?
In Victoria, the answer could have more implications than anywhere else in the country. The state has some of the toughest regulations on granny flats – and meeting the conditions can be time-consuming and expensive.
Council laws vary, but typically the occupant must be a dependant, and the building must be removed once they die or move out.
Suppliers believe there’s a strong pent-up demand in Victoria for granny flats. “Any changes in planning requirements bringing Victoria in line with other states would see a significant increase in demand,” says Lisa McLeod, sales manager for building company Todd Devine Homes, a specialist in granny flats and relocatable homes.
Victoria is the only remaining state that does not permit leasing out a granny flat, says Jackson Yin, executive director of kit home company iBuild.
He says that if the state government implemented legislation similar to New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia to simplify and speed up the approval process and reduce costs, it could increase the availability of affordable rental housing. He says that his company supplies five times more granny flats to NSW than Victoria, although it is Melbourne-based.
While Victoria might have missed the memo, granny flats have come a long way since the days of the old-fashioned fibro bungalow.
They’ve evolved over the years to become more environmentally sustainable, DIY-friendly and, in the case of Victorian company Nestd, socially progressive. Profits from its range of Australian-made, architect-designed studios (as pictured) go to help young people at risk of homelessness via the charity Kids Under Cover.