Do we need planning permission for a granny flat?

Property Clinic: Most local authorities do not allow granny flats to be rented to the public

Local authorities may require granny flats to revert to family use  once the granny flat use isn’t required.

Local authorities may require granny flats to revert to family use once the granny flat use isn’t required.

 

We have a garage attached to the side of our house, which is original to the property. We want to convert this into a studio granny annex with its own separate entrance, by replacing the front garage door with a door and window. The window would be more than 1m from the front boundary. We are hoping to undertake most of the work ourselves, using qualified tradesmen as required for certain tasks. The main property has undergone no other extensions, so am I right in thinking this work would fall under “exempted development” under the 40sq m rule? What other certification would then be required for this project in order to rent this unit out under the rent-a-room scheme? The property is in Dublin.

You have clearly done some research in terms of exempt development. In order to constitute exempt development, the floor area of the conversion must not exceed 40sq m when considered with any previous extensions or conversions to include any porch or the like. No window should be within 1m of the boundary. Your proposed works fall within these parameters. However, you propose to change the use of the converted space to a granny flat and operate this space under the rent-a-room scheme.

The conversion of part of a dwelling to form a granny flat or separate unit is not an exempt development. Planning permission is required. Most local authorities require that the granny flat reverts to use solely by the family in the event that the granny flat use is no longer required, meaning that it could not be rented to the public.

The rent-a-room scheme allowed by Revenue permits the use of part of a dwelling as a self-contained unit. To achieve planning permission for a self-contained unit, which is not classed as a granny flat, the development would need to meet strict planning requirements in terms of private amenity space, parking, and separate connection to services and the like which do not apply to granny flats.

Landlord and tenant law

As well as the need for planning permission, landlord and tenant law applies to self-contained units. You will have to register the tenancy with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) and provide a rent book. There are opt-outs available however under Section 25 of the Act. This relates solely to security of tenure.

In summary, your proposals are not exempt development and planning permission is required. Landlord and tenant law applies. All works would need to meet the requirements of the building regulations.

Your local building surveyor should be able to guide you through the planning process and help in terms of compliance with planning conditions, landlord and tenant law, and building regulations.

The demand for housing and the recent Government publication, Bringing Back Homes, should mean that this type of development will be welcomed by the local authority, once its planning criteria is met.

Noel Larkin, is a chartered building surveyor and member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, www.scsi.ie

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