Years ago, it was quite common for grandparents to live in the same home with a young family (cue The Waltons, where three generations lived in the same household during the Great Depression).

Today, many families are looking to build an inexpensive rental property on their own existing lot for added income—and a granny flat might be the perfect solution.

 

So what exactly is a granny flat and how can it help? Read on to take a look.

What Is a Granny Flat?

A granny flat is a self-contained living space designed for only one or two people, typically located on the grounds of another single-family dwelling. These spaces can be attached to the other home directly via interior or exterior walkways, or they can be completely detached as a standalone dwelling.

The name granny flat is derived from its historical use: It is a popular means of accommodating aging parents. In the real estate and construction world, such a living unit is most often called an accessory apartment or an accessory dwelling unit (ADU).

Other common names for these homes are mother-in-law apartment, in-law apartment, bonus unit, or carriage apartment or unit. Regardless of what you call it, these units can provide extra living space—but they can also provide a convenient rental space that will offer additional income for the owners.  

What Amenities Are Found in a Granny Flat?

The short answer: Whatever you’d like to include!

A granny flat can include any comfort or safety amenity you desire, considering the available space. ADUs for rental purposes are often miniatures of a typical full-sized home, complete with full kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and entertainment spaces.

In fact, when building a granny flat for rental purposes in San Diego County, certain amenities and allowances must be provided, including a full kitchen and bathroom.

 

Advantages of Adding a Granny Flat

The addition of a granny flat on your property for rental can effectively pay for your home over time.

Such was the experience of one family in Portland, Oregon. The family purchased a home with a sizable lot, built an ADU on the property, and rented it out.  

In 2017, the state of California relaxed ADU codes to increase the number of granny flats throughout the state, although the owner occupancy provision is still in place.

Los Angeles’ code already didn’t require owner occupancy, so the reduction in other regulations has been especially effective. L.A. went from having 142 ADU permits issued in 2016 to roughly 2,000 in 2017. San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Barbara, and numerous other California cities have also experienced a significant uptick in ADU permits.

San Diego also took steps toward adding more granny flats in the area by reducing the fees associated with constructing such additions.

While the additional living space is a bonus, there are other advantages. Another person living on the same property affords greater security. Another set of eyes and more exterior lighting can provide a detriment for prowlers.

Tenants can sometimes share transportation or other amenities with those occupying the main home. Lawn care, child care, and other maintenance tasks can be shared.

A granny flat doesn’t pose a significant impact on city infrastructure the way a large apartment block would. ADUs organically introduce more housing to an area without the need for the city to provide new accommodating infrastructure.

Let Remcon Design Your Granny Flat

At Remcon, we have the resources to design and build your custom granny flat, and we can even help with financing. Call us at (858) 874-8779 or fill out the online contact form to arrange a free consultation.