Reader Question from the ACT:
I am considering converting an existing block to dual occupancy.
I own the block (and house on it) outright.
The block is 1100 square meters in area.
The existing house is at one end of the block, and dividing the block in half would still leave a meter between the existing house and a dividing fence.
The block is a corner block, and there is provision for a second driveway in the other street.
The zoning in ACT almost precludes sub-division from most blocks. On the ACT Land map it actually has an address for both halves of the block, so my guess is that it was originally proposed and two blocks.
I have verbal approval to commence “the journey” from the ACT authorities.
But I have a question: Where to from here?
Have you had experience in dual occupancies in Canberra, or can you recommend someone?
It is interesting that there are already two driveways and street addresses, you may find there was a DA approved to subdivide at one stage and was not registered and lapsed? if so, then there may also be service connections? It is worth making enquiries with council on this as it will save you money if some of the works have already been completed.
If you were allowed to complete the subdivision of the land including having it registered this may save you paying a Section 94 Contribution that may be payable on a dual occupancy project. You can then build a new dwelling on the newly created lot without it impacting on the original house lot.
The best way forward for you is to use a local surveyor to manage the subdivision of your land for you. They will understand your local council's requirements.
You will need to allow for adequate private outdoor living space for the existing house and the surveyor can advise you on this and setbacks.
The surveyor will be able to quote to manage the entire process, including getting quotes to extend the sewer and other service connections (if they are not already in place). It's important you understand the costs of subdividing. To give you an idea, Property Bloom usually allows around $30,000 for a Torrens title subdivision of a large corner lot like you have described. The cost will of course vary based on service connection works required, how far the sewer needs to extended and any upgrades to services that may be needed (if it is in a really old suburb).
Is the land kerbed and guttered on both sides? If not, then one thing to look out for having council request you do these works. It's something you can check with the council town planner. You will also need to provide drainage for the newly created lot, so the slope of your block is important. The surveyor will advise you on this.
If you are going to lodge a DA for a dual occupancy and subdivision then a good builder may include the subdivision as part of their works and Contract. This will mean you can finance works by way of a construction loan. This is also a faster process than subdividing up front (which you cannot do anyway based on zoning) and you can lodge one DA for the building and the subdivision works. Again, check this with your local council as they all have different requirements.
I would also look at building a duplex (two attached dwellings) on the new lot rather than a single house as this will add more value and should create some good equity using this strategy.
Good luck, hope all goes well, Jo