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  • Writer's pictureJhayem

Planners Back Queensland Granny Flat Rules Relaxation

Queensland has made emergency planning changes to unlock housing supply and enable secondary dwellings to be rented out amid the ongoing rental crisis.

The three-year change was suggested at the Queensland Housing Roundtable recently, according to Deputy Premier Steven Miles.

The planning minister said tapping underutilised housing would provide a quick solution, rather than building new houses.

“Right now, most homeowners can’t rent secondary dwellings, such as granny flats, to anyone other than their immediate family,” Miles said.

“At the same time some Queenslanders are sleeping in their cars or in tents.

“It just makes sense to allow existing accommodation to be occupied by someone other than a relative to provide more affordable accommodation for Queenslanders.”

Peak housing body Q Shelter executive director Fiona Caniglia said they had been calling for the change for some time and it was “an immediate idea that will create some housing options”.

“This approach will also provide a greater focus for many enterprises working on modular, small dwellings which are quick to build and which can be sited within existing properties,” Caniglia said.

“This approach to infill development has little impact on urban environments yet can create quality small homes at very low cost.

“It will be important to ensure standards for these dwellings so that people are safe. There will be some things to work through but Q Shelter is confident that this measure will help housing supply.”

Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) president Shannon Batch said the changes would help address Queensland’s housing challenges.

“The Planning Institute of Australia supports more housing diversity, and this change will help deliver additional housing types that can meet Queenslanders’ needs,” Batch said. “This change highlights how good planning can help address our housing challenge and reduce the barriers to more diverse housing forms.”

A recent Property Investment Professionals of Australia report showed nearly 30 per cent of rental properties had been stripped out of the Queensland market in two years. About 45 per cent of investors had sold at least one of their rental properties, and nearly two-thirds of those investment properties were bought by owner-occupiers over the two-year period, representing a loss of more than 160,000 rental properties in Queensland’s stressed market.

“We had an inkling that investors had been selling their holdings over the past year or two, but these results show that even we had under-estimated the volume of rental properties that have been jettisoned from the market,” PIPA chair Nicola McDougall said.

Planners have supported the move with Zone Planning Group saying it encouraged the relaxation to extend “beyond the three-year commitment”. “This is a clear step forward in the right direction and immediately opens up additional housing opportunities during a period of critical housing shortages,” it said in a statement.

Urbis director Michael Cattoni said it was a positve change that would ease Queensland’s rental crisis.

“Emergency planning changes will make it easier for anyone wanting to rent a granny flat or secondary dwelling,” he said.

“Fantastic to see small changes like this that will have a significant and immediate impact on the availability of rentals in our established suburbs.”

AUTHOR Taryn Paris

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