Domestic Housing Land Uses and Definitions: Secondary Dwellings, Dwelling Houses, and Dual Occupancies

What is a Secondary Dwelling?

A secondary dwelling is a dwelling used in conjunction with and subordinate to a dwelling house on the same lot. Examples include structures like “granny flat” or “teenage retreat”, where the residential use of the property remains with one household. A secondary dwelling may be free standing or constructed under or attached to a dwelling house. A secondary dwelling is termed a ‘dwelling house (secondary dwelling)’ in the Gold Coast City Plan 2016. 

It must:

  • Be on the same lot as the main house. It cannot be subdivided, or community titled at a later date.
  • Retain a relationship and association with the main house, making common provision for food or other essentials for living (E.g., One letter box with one street number, one water meter, single utility bill).
  • A secondary dwelling is a separate living area which is smaller and subordinate to the main house. Previously called granny flats or family accommodation.
  • A secondary dwelling is required to have 1 car parking space in addition to the 2 parking spaces for the primary dwelling, a total of 3 car parking spaces on the site. A larger secondary dwelling may require 2 car parking spaces. 
  • A secondary dwelling cannot have separate connections or separate metering.
  • To remain accepted development in residential zones the secondary dwelling must have a maximum gross floor area of 80m². If a secondary dwelling is above this, you will need a development application to Council.
  • There are also other requirements and Acceptable Outcomes in terms of design, siting, and location to comply with which may trigger the need for a Development Application to Council. 

Secondary Dwelling – Do I need a Development Application?

Similar to dwelling houses, secondary dwellings are typically accepted development (subject to requirements) under the Gold Coast City Plan 2016 and do not require approval from Council where complying with all planning requirements. It is important to note that all secondary dwellings must obtain a development approval for building work (i.e., a ‘building approval’), even if there is no approval required under the City Plan. In the Gold Coast Region, building approvals are issued by private building certifiers. 

Secondary Dwelling – Will I have to pay infrastructure charges?

Infrastructure charges are not applicable for a secondary dwelling.

Other domestic housing land uses and definitions:

What is a Dwelling House? 

A dwelling house is the residential use of a premises involving one dwelling for a single household and any domestic outbuildings associated with the dwelling. This is a standard detached dwelling or commonly referred to as a house. 

What is a Dual Occupancy?

A dual occupancy is the residential use of a premises for two households involving two dwellings on a single lot or two dwellings on separate lots that share a common property. A dual occupancy can be detached or attached like a duplex.

To determine whether you require a Town Planning Approval or Relaxation for either of the above land uses or if you have any questions, please contact Elevate today!

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