‘Government has Screwed the Councils’: Brisbane, Gold Coast May Follow Logan Granny Flat Fee
By Tony Moore
One of the first responses to the Queensland government’s plans to allow extra granny flats to be rented is a new $22,000 infrastructure charge to owners introduced by a south-east Queensland council.
From March 6, Logan City Council will have the charge in place after the state government opened provisions in September 2022 to let more granny flats be rented.
However, there are complaints the government’s changes have caused a spanner in the works for the construction industry.
Now Gold Coast and Brisbane councils are also considering the new fee to build-to-rent a granny flat.
Brisbane City Council’s Planning Committee chair Adam Allan said: “Council is still reviewing the planning changes and any possible implications that may arise.”
Traditionally granny flats were built to allow family members to live in a secondary dwelling on the house block without paying an infrastructure fee.
However, the Queensland government in September 2022 relaxed provisions to let more granny flats be rented out to ease the tight rental market.
Logan City Council confirmed the new charge for granny flats saying they preferred not to pass on costs to their ratepayers.
“The infrastructure charges are a response to the Queensland government’s decision to allow all self-contained secondary dwellings to be separately rented,” a spokesman said.
“Council had previously been discounting this figure – only asking for 75 per cent – but now is levying the cost in full.”
The $22,000 fee applies to standalone, self-contained granny flats, but not to extensions of existing granny flats.
Now two private companies that build granny flats – speaking on the condition of anonymity – said the move was backfiring and causing chaos in the construction industry.
“The state government has screwed the councils. There used to be two clear lines. A secondary dwelling for families and dual occupancies for those who were investors to rent them out to non-families,” one builder said.
“As the house became too small councils allowed a secondary dwelling, so you could accommodate your ageing parents, or your adult kids.”
That did not attract an infrastructure fee; however, investors building for properties to be rented out attracted an infrastructure fee.
“When the state government opened that all up it caused havoc because investors don’t want to pay infrastructure fees and councils are now missing out on these infrastructure fees,” another builder said.
“And it has just made a real mess of everything.”
The reaction comes as Queensland’s planning minister and deputy premier Steven Miles on Thursday asked developers and real estate industry representatives why there had been no bounce in “granny flat rentals” since the relaxations were announced in September 2022.
“Industry said that would happen if we made those changes, but we haven’t seen it yet,” Miles said.
Real Estate Institute of Queensland chief executive Antonia Mercorella said she was unaware of the moves in Logan.
She said the granny flat amendments had “not made much of a dent” in rental property supplies and said confusion about tax ramifications and additional local government charges “acted as barriers”.
“What we might be seeing is those granny flats that are already there are already being utilised by adult children remaining at home, or used by aged parents.”