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Understand the Difference Between a New Home vs Granny Flat vs Teenage Retreat Before You Get the Wrong Building Permit!

September 30, 2012

There are so many different companies out there selling new homes, granny flats and teenage retreats that it makes it hard to work out what you are after, as they all have different meanings and a lot of people simply don’t understand the difference between them all.

All you want to do is put your kid in a unit or home that sits in your very own backyard, but when you visit all the different companies you end up walking away confused as they all seem to look the same and half the sales staff don’t even understand the differences! This can be very daunting, because if you don’t get it right during this first stage, you can end up with a building permit with the wrong classification only to find out that when you sell your property you need to remove the unit that you just paid thousands of dollars for. Below I have listed the different meanings in the hope that this might clarify things for you. Read on to understand the Difference Between a New Home vs Granny Flat vs Teenage Retreat Before You Get the Wrong Building Permit!

 New Home

A new house is exactly that; a single dwelling on a block (the only house on your property). If you were to purchase a new home to build on the same property as your current house, then you need to go down the road of subdividing your property. You are then dealing with Town Planning and the Building departments of your council, in order to make sure that you have a driveway for both properties, power and water etc are in and there are separate meters for both, along with plenty of more requirements. Although this process is a great way to raise extra cash, it can take you a year minimum to finalise all the details and there are many aspects involved logistically.

Granny Flat

A Granny Flat is a name that is used for a Dependant Persons Unit (DPU). A DPU is a building that is built on your property (this is not the main dwelling) for a person that is dependent on the person living in the main dwelling. The granny flat unit can consist of a full kitchen, full bathroom, laundry, living room and a couple of bedrooms. They are basically a new home but are classified as a DPU on your building permit, the only issue with this is that once the dependant person finishes using the unit, it then needs to be removed. This will come up when you go to sell your property, however you might be able to reclassify the use of the unit by removing the laundry and cooking facilities, but you will need to check with your council.

Teenage Retreats 

Teenage Retreats are otherwise known as sleepouts and in order to secure a building permit, it will be classified as an extension to the main dwelling. Teenage Retreats are a habitable building so you will still need to go through the same process as a DPU. For example, sleepouts require a 6 star energy rating and depending on the design and layout, some will also need to go through Town Planning (this mainly depends on the overlays on your property). A Teenage Retreat can still have a bedroom, living room and even a bathroom and some can have a sink with a cupboard, but they cannot have full kitchens or laundry facilities. A teenage retreat is the prefect solution for that extra room and you don’t need to remove these if your teenager stops using it or if you were to sell your property.

For more information about granny flats and teenage retreats, along with building and installation, visit Matt’s Homes and Outdoor Designs. Matt’s Homes has competitive prices, along with offering a full start to finish service or will provide granny flats and teenage retreats in kit form for those that are into DIY.


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  1. Terri permalink

    Can you please provide a rough estimate for a single bed granny flat with kitchen and laundry and bath approx 4m x 12m, incl permit costs etc in forest hill, Vic. I understand fittings/ claddings etc will vary in price but I’m just after a range from basic – nicer at this stage to see if it is even financially viable.

    Thanks a bunch


    • Hi Terri,
      I have sent this on to our sales team. In the meantime, you can get prices and more of an idea of our costs for a one bedroom granny flat by visiting this link Hope this helps and will be in touch. If you need answer asap can you call 1300 62 88 77 tomorrow and we can help you further. Donna

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