Granny flat in a Front Yard Allowed – Sydney

Think you can’t build a Granny Flat in a Front Yard? Yes, you can!


We’ve just had probably Sydney’s first granny flat approved in a front yard. It is in Sydney’s Northern Beaches – in Dee Why, as shown here.

The NSW Affordable Rental Housing SEPP talks about minimum front setbacks with reference to adjoining neighbours. To clarify, the allowable front setback can be calculated by taking the two nearest neighbouring dwelling’s front setbacks and dividing that measurement by two.

The property we had approved is in Brookvale, Northern Beaches of Sydney, NSW. The adjoining dwellings on either side have front setbacks of 7 metres and 8 metres respectively. The existing dwelling (on our client’s lot) has a front setback of almost 20 metres.


The client asked if she could have a granny flat built in her front yard and, usually, the answer is a resounding no. The unique thing about her property though is that she has the following features:

1. Ample front yard to fit a granny flat and allow a gap of 1.8 m between the existing dwelling and the granny flat. This is a fire-separation regulation as prescribed by the Building Code of Australia (the BCA). Note: Even this rule can be breached if the granny flat is made of brick, masonry or has a special fire-rated-wall fitted.

2. Neighbours dwellings were much further forward than her house.

The two adjoining dwellings were an average of 7.5 metres from their front boundaries, whilst she was at 20 metres. So she can build as close as 7.5 meters. So this is her allowable front setback- the average of the neighbouring two dwellings. The average in this case was 8/2 + 7/2 = 4.0 + 3.5 = 7.5 meters.

Below we show an image of her granny flat which is being built in the front yard.

granny flat in front yard sydney

granny flat in front yard

So if your property is set way back on the block whilst your neighbours are much further forward, you can design and get approval for a new granny flat in your front yard. We hope this helps clarify how it can be done. Whilst this situation is unusual, it is certainly possible as seen in this case,

Granny Flat News

At Granny Flat Approvals, we are always looking for ways to maximise the practical use of the SEPP regulations in our client’s favour. We were the first to report granny flats being allowed on narrower lots and granny flats being allowed at the rear boundary that adjoins a lane-way.

In all cases, we endeavor to make best use of your land. So feel free to ask us about anything you’re not sure of. You may just give you news you’ll be very pleasantly surprised about!

Serge Panayi – Granny Flats (NSW) Pty Ltd


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