The granny flat has traditionally been used as a means to house relatives at the same property in a secondary dwelling.  In more recent years, it has become a means of generating additional income from a property for property investors and homeowners and provide affordable housing options for renters.

In New South Wales, state planning policy was changed in 2009 to increase affordable housing.  Changes to legislation meant that council approval was not required and this set off a huge wave of granny flat builds across Sydney as investors cashed in on increasing the yields of their properties. 

Queensland, however, has been much slower to follow suit.  Local council planning laws have governed granny flat development and regulation and until recently, investors who wanted to utilise Granny Flats to provide affordable housing and increase cashflow on their property were limited to council areas that did not include the Brisbane City Council where planning regulations stipulated that a secondary dwelling could only be used by parties who were related to the occupants of the main dwelling.

In September 2022, the state government announced an emergency amendment to the planning regulation that removed this restriction, meaning the secondary dwelling could be rented to anyone and the relationship between parties would not be a consideration.  This change has been made as a result of the current rental crisis in South East Queensland and now opens the door for investors and home owners to provide renters with accommodation.  

It is important to note the requirements around council development approval, building approval and fire safety all remain the same so local council planning regulations need to be considered.  In Brisbane City Council, a secondary dwelling may not require council approval if:

  • Up to a maximum of 80 square metres in size
  • Within 20 metres of the main house

This is as long as accepted development requirements are met.  Council approval may be sought if the dwelling is to be outside of these parameters and investors/homeowners should work with their town planner and/or granny flat provider who is familiar with regulations along with local council planners.

At this point in time, this change has been implemented for a period of three years.  Whether it stays in place beyond this we currently don’t know.



  • More housing available for renters
  • More affordable housing options
  • Opportunity for home owners and investors to increase cash flow viability of their properties


  • Implications for income tax
  • Implications for capital gains tax exemptions
  • Uncertainty around what will happen at the end of the three year period

Ministerial Media Statement

QLD State Government changes to secondary dwellings planning regulation

How the changes affect renters in QLD

Brisbane City Council – Granny Flats


    If you are looking for a property with a granny flat or potential to build a granny flat, we at Property Zest would love to assist you!  Feel free to call or email us or get in contact via our contact page!