Granny flats face council inspections

RESIDENTS who have a granny flat on their property could soon be in for a massive increase in their rates payments.

The Fraser Coast Regional Council will undertake a regular inspection program and act on information provided in an endeavour to pick up multi-residential properties which are currently rated simply as "residential".

This could make a huge difference to the amount the property owners pay, with the lowest rate for multi-residentials more than 30% higher than the basic residential rate.

While the council has been charging properties with more than one residence, such as a granny flat, as multi-residentials for years, it is believed there are dozens of homes on the Fraser Coast that have escaped the grasp of the council bean-counters, until now.

Urangan resident Bill Manning has been paying the multi-residential rates since 2006, due to a small cottage he built for his daughter and his grandchildren to stay in for holidays, and he thinks they stink.

"It is putting homeowners in the same category as a resort like Peppers," he said.

Mr Manning has had a long-running correspondence with the council asking how someone can build their home and comply with all the planning regulations for a residential property, but then one day find themselves in a different rating category.

After a meeting with the council chief executive officer Lisa Desmond, however, Mr Manning said he was satisfied the council's planning and rating systems were entirely different, and the council was within its rights to charge the multi-residential rates.

There was one final piece of unfairness he wasn't happy with, however.

As a retired builder, Mr Manning knows firsthand about dozens of properties with similar cottages or granny flats across the region because he had a hand in building them.

He said there were still more which could be seen in real estate ads every week and it was simply unfair for some property owners to be singled out for the higher rate when others were not.

The council advised it would follow-up on the properties.

It also advised that following the meeting between Mr Manning, Ms Desmond and Division 7 councillor Darren Everard, that Mr Manning's concerns had been tabled for consideration in next year's budget.

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