Granny flats seem like a pretty straightforward concept. After all, the name says it all. It’s a little house where a granny can live, isn’t it? The reality is a little different. For one thing, granny flats aren’t technically flats at all. They’re more like bungalows, laid on out a single storey, on the ground floor, somewhere outside the main house.
Granny flats are free standing housing units. They can be used as living quarters, though they are increasingly being used as home offices. The decision to include an ensuite, therefore, depends on the intended use of the flat, as well as local regulations that influence usage.
In certain regions like Adelaide, South Australia and Melbourne, Victoria, granny flats can’t be used for commercial purposes. They are only allowed as housing units for dependent family members, like ageing parents.
Because the resident is considered to be dependent on the main home owner, their flat can have a little less infrastructure. For example, it is assumed that the dependent will have their meals and other activities in the main house. For this reason, their house doesn’t necessarily need bathroom and kitchen facilities.
While they’re not absolutely necessary, having that small kitchenette and bathroom can give this person a measure of independence and dignity, so it’s worth having them just the same. This sense of personhood is key for ageing parents who may feel like a burden or teenagers who want a sense of privacy and responsibility.
In circumstances where the granny flat is used as an office, a bathroom may not be essential either, since the space is largely used for work. However, having WC facilities can save time and improve efficiency, because you don’t have to keep going to the main house, with its joys and distractions.
Your home office doesn’t necessarily need a full ensuite though. You should also think about the space available. Regulation puts granny flats at a minimum 45 square metres and maximum 80 square metres. Given the space you have to work with and your intended plans for the main house, you can decide whether you have room for that ensuite.
Sydney and New South Wales have very specific rules about granny flats. They indicate the boundaries on all sides of the unit, distance from trees, height and width of the building, as well as zoning laws. While the council has made it easier to approve and build a granny flat, its regulations must be complied with.
You can now get your granny installation approved within 20 days.
Your biggest decider will be the comfort and convenience of your resident. If easing their ablution outweighs the effort of inserting an ensuite, and if local laws don’t prohibit that little bit of luxury, then go for it.