The Growing Popularity of the Granny Flat or ‘Fonzie’

The importance of the family cannot be overstated and many simply don’t want to see their elderly relatives struggling on their own far from any support. So a granny flat or what is now known as aFonzie (referring to the TV character in Happy Days who lived in a loft) is a wonderful alternative.

Grandparents are close by and if they need support family members are there to help. But granny flats are now much more than that these days and they’re being built in suburbs near and far across the nation.

Increasingly, property owners are turning their backyards into outdoor living spaces incorporating the gardens and the pool. Barbecue areas are now the kitchens and the ‘Fonzie’ is providing extra income.

Experts say in the past five or so years there has been a threefold increase in these outdoor living spaces but some can be unattractive and can affect the value of the family home. The last thing you want is for the ‘Fonzi’ to end up as a storage shed for unused exercise equipment, so care is advised when deciding who builds or supplies your granny flat and considerations on its style is important to ensure it complements your outdoor space.

Having the extended family, grandparents, parents and children in the same location – or even having newlyweds staying at home while they save for a deposit on their own home – used to be the suburban norm, but the trend is returning with the high prices of rental accommodation so a granny flat, even a transportable one, is perfect.  Also, for working parents, having grandparents close by to care for children coming home from school is valuable both financially and socially.

With working parents grateful for the child minding and support of close family members, a granny flat is ideal to give the aged parent some independence and privacy and they are a boon for the middle-aged couples who need space for teenagers. Then, in some cases, once the teens have left home the flat can be rented out for extra income.

However, if you are a retiree with a granny flat in the backyard you are advised to check with Centrelink if you are on a pension and you’re thinking about renting it out to anyone who is not a relative or family member. This could affect your benefit. However, if a granny flat is rented to a grandparent or other relative it is not seen as a commercial undertaking, therefore, the income and expenses are not taxable or tax-deductible.

In NSW granny flats can be rented out but such eligibility should be checked out at the planning departments of local councils. And subject to the approval of your local council, a Fonzie or granny flat can also be erected over a garage in a new development and can sometimes be sold separately.

A granny flat is able to be rented in Tasmania and ACT, also in Western Australia, and the Northern Territory, however, they can’t be used as rental accommodation in South Australia, Queensland or Victoria.

For more information and quotes on your exciting new granny flat, try Fox Transportables, a privately owned West Australian company providing custom-built, transportable buildings. You can select from the company’s wide range of granny flats, portable buildings, homes, offices, toilet blocks and other special-use structures to lease or buy. Phone (08) 6377 8335 or 0449 634 100

Fox Transportables Pty Ltd

12 Beringarra Ave, Malaga WA 6090