7 -Ancillary dwellings

An ancillary dwelling is a small, self-contained dwelling located on the same lot as another single dwelling. It can be attached to the main house, integrated with the main house, or form a separate building to the main dwelling.

Ancillary dwellings are also known as granny flats, studios and sleep-outs. The Huon Valley Interim Planning Scheme 2015 defines an ‘Ancillary dwelling’ as:

Means an additional dwelling:

  • With a floor area not greater than 60 square metres
  • That is appurtenant to a single dwelling; and
  • That shared with that single dwelling access and parking, and water, sewerage, gas, electricity and telecommunications connections and metres.

The Huon Valley Interim Planning Scheme 2015 contains a unique provision within some of the residential based zones (Low Density Residential Zone, Rural Living Zone, Environmental Living Zone and Village Zone) which requires at least one external wall of an ancillary dwelling to be within 15 metres of a wall of the primary dwelling (excluding an outbuilding).  The ancillary relationship with the single dwelling can also be reinforced through orientation and landscaping measures.

In terms of determining the status of an ‘Ancillary dwelling’ within the respective zone, the term ‘Ancillary dwelling’ falls under the ‘Residential’ use classification. The status of such a use is found within the Use Table within the respective zoning. Generally, within residential based zones, an ‘Ancillary dwelling’ will either be a permitted or discretionary use. No ‘No Permit Required’ status is given to an ‘Ancillary dwelling’ within any zone.

The differing types of ancillary dwelling. Image courtesy of the Department of Housing (Western Australia)

The differing types of ancillary dwelling.
Image courtesy of the Department of Housing (Western Australia)

Application requirements

At a minimum, a planning application will need to provide the following:

  • A site plan showing the dwelling, proposed ancillary dwelling, any other structures and all vehicular access and car parking.

The site plan must be scaled (1: 100, 1: 200 or 1: 500), and must include dimensioned setbacks from all buildings to the nearest boundaries and must include a dimension between the dwelling and the proposed ancillary apartment.

  • Scaled and dimensioned floor plans of the dwelling and ancillary dwelling.
  • Elevations of the ancillary dwelling showing maximum height and any cut and fill.
  • A completed application form.
  • The application fees
  • A current copy of the Certificate of Title to the land containing the Search Page, Plan, Sealed Plan or Diagram, any Schedule of Easements, any Part 5 Agreement or other restrictions for the land.

Other considerations


An ancillary dwelling development may have an effect on your rates charges. Your rates are calculated based on the value of your property, which is determined by the Office of the Valuer General. You will need to be aware of any additional charges ahead of time so that you can budget for them and factor these ongoing costs into your decision.


You may need to install new meters for electricity, gas or water, depending on how you plan to use the ancillary dwelling. You should contact relevant gas and electricity distributors and TasWater to understand the different options available, and which one suits you best. You are also likely to need a licensed electrician or plumber to install any new services.