Queensland homeowners who own granny flats will be allowed to rent them out for the next three years under emergency planning changes designed to alleviate the state’s housing crisis.
The move makes it possible to make second homes available to people other than immediate family members and to expand housing options for smaller households, such as students, singles, the elderly and couples.
Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said the change would mean that “cheaper housing will enter the rental market and help thousands of people”.
Currently, secondary homes can only be used by family, said Deputy Prime Minister Steven Miles.
“At the same time, some Queensland residents are sleeping in their cars or in tents,” he said.
Miles said using underutilized granny flats was faster than building new accommodation.
“It also allows homeowners to earn rent, helping them meet the higher cost of living,” he said.
“They will still have to comply with all council regulations, building codes and fire safety regulations, so they may need to have them inspected for safety.”
Shannon Batch, chair of the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA), said the changes could meet some of Queensland’s diverse housing needs.
“This change shows how good planning can help address our housing challenge and reduce barriers to more diverse forms of living,” she said.
Mr Miles said the changes would be reviewed after three years to ensure there were no unintended consequences and to consider future housing stock.
Deputy opposition leader Jarrod Bleijie said he supported the changes to the granny flat.
“We support anything that gets a roof over a Queenslander’s head,” he said.
Housing Minister Leeanne Enoch said the latest data for the social housing registry would be released later today and show “some stabilization”.
“It also indicates that singles, including those over 55, now make up the majority of those on the social housing registry,” she said.