What is a Dual Occupancy?

What is a Dual Occupancy?

What is a Dual Occupancy?

Dual occupancy refers to a lot that contains two dwellings for separate households. These dwellings can be attached or detached and can be separately titled (have two different owners). A dual occupancy doesn’t include multiple dwelling like a set of units. Rather, it describes configurations like a duplex.

Depending on local zoning laws and density requirements, dual occupancy developments can be self-assessable (meaning no permit is needed), code assessable (requiring a development application) or impact assessable (requiring public notification as part of a development application).


Dual Occupancy - Queensland Australia

Types of Dual Occupancy Developments

A dual occupancy arrangement can take a number of forms. To lawfully define the new spaces and create new titles, the property needs to be surveyed, reinstated and subdivided (in building format) and then defined by a licensed surveyor (now referred to as a cadastral surveyor).

Dual occupancy developments can involve retaining an existing house and building a new one in the backyard or front yard depending on size, access, depth and local planning requirements. In other cases, an existing house is demolished in order to build two new houses. The two dwellings could be side by side (duplex style) or have one behind the other (tandem design).


The Benefits of Dual Occupancy

Dual occupancy developments are becoming increasingly popular for a number of reasons. Building two smaller homes has similar costs to building one larger house but you half the land cost for each dwelling. This allows landowners to maximise the financial potential of the land.

By building two homes and selling one to pay for the other, you can substantially reduce an existing mortgage or reinvest the income. In other cases, the second dwelling could be kept as an investment property to generate rental income and build wealth over time. Keeping a loan on the second property also allows you to take advantage of negative gearing to maximise taxation benefits.


Other benefits include:

  • The ability for “empty nesters” to downsize without leaving their home and familiar neighbourhood
  • Supplementing retirement income by renting the second dwelling
  • Living next door to your tenants lowers the chances of damage, missed rent payments and other issues
  • Reduced day-to-day maintenance with a smaller dwelling
  • Investors can rent both sides out to maximise yields as these properties are very likely to be cash flow positive
  • Use the second dwelling as a granny flat or teenage retreat if the kids can’t afford to move out or a grandparent needs looking after.


The Role of Surveyors and Planners

A licensed surveyor or town planner can assess your lot to determine the feasibility of development opportunities. This involves navigating relevant regulations as well as conducting an accurate assessment of the site. It’s crucial that boundaries are calculated correctly. If the dimensions of your block are not in the right position, it can compromise the entire project and lead to costly reconstruction efforts or disputes with neighbours.

To avoid this risk, use the services of a licensed and experienced surveyor (i.e. a cadastral surveyor). For professional surveying all across Queensland, get in touch with Arnold Development Consultants. With more than 50 years of experience in a variety of projects, including dual occupancy developments, we can ensure your project goes smoothly. Contact us today for more information.