Essential Guide to Granny Flats Auckland



The housing market in New Zealand has always been a contentious issue, with discussions frequently focusing on availability and cost. Recently, the emphasis has switched to building or sitting pre-built granny flats, which is gaining popularity.

Whatever good things we build end up building us.


Table of Contents

What are 'Granny flats'

A granny flats are typically permanent secondary residences with a kitchen and plumbing connected to city utilities, acting as smaller, independent homes.

These are referred to as “minor dwellings” in the Auckland Unitary Plan, and their maximum size is 65 square metres – excluding garaging and decks. There are additional prerequisites as well, which differ by zone.

Other names include:

  • secondary or ancillary dwellings 
  • family flats 
  • self-contained small dwellings
  • minor residential units.
Granny Flats

Building GRANNY FLATS in Auckland - Current Consent Requirements

If the minor dwelling/granny flat structure is meant to be a permanent, immovable residence equipped with a bathroom or kitchen, you will likely require building consent.

Also, resource consent might still be necessary. This is so because a minor dwelling in Auckland is considered a “use” of land. It doesn’t matter if it is housed in a structure or not. The zone and whether the minor dwelling’s location and size satisfy any applicable requirements will determine what happens.

Building consent may be required for your project, depending on the following:

  • The size of the floor area.
  • The building’s height and its proximity to adjacent dwellings or section boundaries.
  • Whether or not it will have cooking and toilet facilities.

You can use the Auckland Unitary Plan to search for your address and determine your zone – here. And verify the requirements for the zone that applies to your property for your minor dwelling/granny flat project.

For Auckland’s rural areas, resource consent is generally required.  The following lists typical criteria to be met;

  • Each site may only contain one small home.
  • The primary dwelling’s driveway access must be shared by the granny flat/ minor dwelling.
  • The granny flat structure needs to adhere to the zone’s applicable height restrictions and yards setback requirements.
  • The intended granny flat/minor dwelling must be situated on a plot of land larger than one hectare.
  • The floor area of the proposed minor residence, excluding decks and garaging, must not exceed 65 m³.

What type of Granny flats can i build?

When it comes to adding a granny flat to your house, you have a few alternatives;


You can make unused big bedrooms, rumpus rooms, or basement spaces self-contained. Building consent will undoubtedly be needed for these changes.


If you don’t have enough room within your house to turn an existing space into a granny flat, you can add an independent room to the existing house by extending outside (house extension). Once more, you will need building consent and ensure that entry and parking are taken care of.


These (garage conversions) might be an affordable method to add extra space if you don’t need the garage for your cars. It will be less expensive than starting from scratch with the existing building structure, but adjustments will still need to be made. Separate access and building consent are needed to make the conversion self-contained.


While minor dwellings/granny flats can be constructed traditionally (timber framed), many of them are also excellent candidates for prefabrication, commonly known as off-site manufactured buildings or pre-built houses. Depending on access, they can either be trucked in and deposited whole or constructed in modules and erected on site.

Granny flats build costs

Building a minor dwelling/granny flat costs roughly $3,000 to $5,000 per square metre. To build a 60m2 granny flat, a cost of around $180,000 to $300,000 would be a good starting point.

You should keep in mind other expenses that aren’t directly related to the construction of the granny flat. Costs associated with excavation, roadways, landscaping, fences, power and water supplies, and drainage are a few examples. We advise adding a contingency of 10–15% to your budget to account for unanticipated expenses.

As you will probably need resource consent, there are costs associated with preparing an application and for the Council to assess it.

Payment of development contributions will also be necessary if your resource consent is granted. This is a one-time payment to support infrastructure when more homes are added, increasing demand. To get an idea of what these will be, use the following online calculator provided by Auckland Council.

SO WHAT ARE THE proposed NEW RULES for granny flats?

While nothing is finalised just yet, the government is putting up two proposed legislative amendments.

The first modification that is being considered is the creation of a National Environmental Standard that mandates that all councils approve the construction of modest homes without resource consent on properties located in residential and rural zones.

The second suggested modification would create a new schedule to the Building Act that would permit independent, single-story homes up to 60 m².

Nonetheless, the structures must adhere to a set of approved standards, including;

  • covering the maximum amount of building coverage,
  • meeting minimum requirements for permeable surfaces,
  • and staying a certain distance from the boundary.

These are for risk management related to stormwater runoff and flooding.

Cooking and plumbing facilities are permitted, but they must have interconnected smoke alarms, and there will be additional requirements regarding possible hazards.


For a lot of Auckland homeowners, minor dwellings/granny flats are a perfect answer. They have a wide range of applications and can significantly raise the functioning and market value of your home.

The coalition government announced the new policy on Monday 17th June 2024, it was pitched as a way to make it easier to build granny flats and increase the supply of affordable homes. The proposed law changes would remove the need for building consents on homes under 60 square metres in certain areas.

Granny Flats/Minor Dwelling FAQS

  • Do I need consent to build a minor dwelling/granny flat?
    The zone your property is in, the location and size of your minor home, and other regulations will determine whether you need permission to build one. In rare situations, you might not require a building approval if your structure satisfies specific requirements. A resource consent, nevertheless, might still be necessary.
  • What are the 'setbacks' for granny flats?
    The minimum setback requirements are: 3 meters from the rear boundary. 900mm from the side boundary.
  • What Are The Five Steps To Construct A Quality Minor Dwelling/Granny Flat?
    • Make cost-effective design and material selections;
    • understand your budget and minimise risks;
    • maintain excellent communication among all parties of the project;
    • comprehend and efficiently handle the consent procedure;
    • and employ expert project management to finish on schedule and under budget.
  • Can I place a minor dwelling/granny flat on my property in NZ?
    In principle, you are allowed to build a minor residence/granny flat on your land in New Zealand; however, the exact regulations and specifications may change based on the zone in which your property is located. Verifying the specifications listed in the applicable district plan is crucial. A planning consultancy should be consulted as well to fully comprehend the details of any applicable regulations.

At Style Plus Renovations, we understand that the custom renovation or new home build can be long and involved, but with the right design & build builder, it can become a rewarding and enjoyable experience. At Style Plus Renovations, we prioritise listening to your goals and placing your needs at the forefront.

Whether you have specific design preferences, or unique requirements, or simply want to explore the possibilities of building a custom granny flat or new minor dwelling build, we are here to guide you. Our goal is to create a home that reflects your individual style, meets your functional needs, provides a space where you can thrive and reduces your carbon footprint.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We look forward to hearing from you and discussing how we can bring your dream home to reality.

Whilst all information is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact the accuracy of the information.

The information may change without notice and Style Plus Renovations is not in any way liable for the accuracy of any information printed and stored or in any way interpreted and used by a user.


As an Auckland North Shore family-owned and run business, Style Plus Renovations cares about what we do and we take the time to fully understand your renovation needs. We are also proud to receive some exceptional compliments from our Auckland clients.

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