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Want an extra residential unit on your property?

Have you ever thought about adding a minor dwelling (also known as a “granny flat”) to your property for your parents or for a bit of extra income?

Here is the lowdown on the process…

What is a minor dwelling?

A minor dwelling is a small standalone unit that is situated on the same site as a standard household. Minor dwellings have traditionally been used by property owners to provide additional self-contained accommodation for either extended family or as an additional income source. They have often been built on sites where an additional (full) household unit cannot be built.

The introduction of the new Auckland Unitary Plan (Operative in Part) (AUP(OP)), means that minor dwellings can be built only in 3 residential zones.

Where can I build a minor dwelling?

Minor dwellings are specifically provided for within the following zones:

  • Residential - Single House Zone

  • Residential - Large Lot Zone

  • Residential – Rural and Coastal Settlement Zone

If you are within a Residential Single House Zone, provided the minor dwelling complies with all of the standards for the zone, they can be built without the need for a resource consent (they are a permitted activity).

But, if you are within the Residential Large Lot Zone and the Residential Rural and Coastal Settlement Zone, minor dwellings are a restricted discretionary activity and require resource consent approval. It is important to keep in mind that development contributions will still be payable. This is a contribution towards infrastructure and services.

How big can my minor dwelling be?

The size of minor dwellings within all three of these zones is restricted to a maximum of 65m2. Depending on the

number of bedrooms, between 5m2 - 8m2 of private open space (with a minimum depth of 1.8m) is required.

Each of the zones then has slightly different standards in respect to height, height to boundary, yard setbacks and coverage. A single carparking space is also required for minor dwellings within these zones.

Where Minor Dwellings Cannot Be Built

There are 3 residential zones that do allow minor dwellings to be built as they are designed for more intensive development to occur, with 2 or more residential dwellings on each site.

Minor dwellings are not provided for in the following zones:

  • Residential – Mixed Housing Suburban Zone

  • Residential – Mixed Housing Urban Zone

  • Residential – Terrace Housing and Apartment Buildings

Although these zones do not provide for minor dwellings, they do allow for two or more dwellings to be built on sites providing that they comply with the specific zone Standards. Currently within the Mixed Housing Suburban and Urban Zones, 2 dwellings are permitted, but the ability to build three dwellings is under appeal.

Dwellings within these zones have a minimum size of 30m2 for studio dwellings and 45m2 for one or more bedroom dwellings. So, although minor dwellings are not provided for within these zones, a small residential dwelling can still be built within these zones.

Any residential development would need to comply with the applicable standards for the zone, which can vary significantly. In addition, whether or not carparking is required depends on the size of the dwelling and the zone it is located within.

So can I build it?

Overall, small residential dwellings can still be built within the majority of residential zones within Auckland. However, each zone has different standards and therefore different approaches are needed depending on the zone.

Want to know more?

Do you want to know more about what you can build on your site? Maybe a space to relegate the teenagers to, a home office area, or a spot for the in-laws.

If you’re keen to know more about what can be built on your site, give us a call here at Planning Plus today 09 426 9966 or e-mail

Disclaimer As with all our blogs, the information detailed here is general in nature and meant as a preliminary guide only. This should not be substituted for your own investigations or use of your own professional’s. Planning Plus is not liable for any errors or omissions.

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