Dual occupancy



From: Michael Mudman

If you buy a property such as a two story house which can be split into separate residences, i.e- bottom floor unit and top floor unit, how do you go about separating the water and electricity meters?

I'm interested in buying a house in this sort of scenario where the plumbing and electricity are still in the original condition for a single residential dwelling, however both levels have been separated with separate kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms etc on each floor.

I'd like to rent out each unit separately as dual occupancy, but don't want to be stuck paying all the water and electricity expenses for the tenants.

What processes and costs are involved (NSW) in this situation, and are there any other less known issues to look out for?

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Reply: 1
From: See Change


First step is to go into local council and get their guidelines for Dual occs.

This will give you a good idea of what is possible and what is no.

We are thinking about splitting a Queensland high set into two flats and the Property manager DOESN'T LIKE IT . Said that many people don't want people living above or below them. Also because the individual rent is cheaper , you tend to get less nice tenants. Don't know if that happens in practice , but that was her perception.

see change

it's better to be guided by your dreams than your fears
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Reply: 1.1
From: Tom Moschitz

Hi Micheal,
I've just let the top and bottom floors of a two storey house. The top let within three days of settlement and the bottom has taken 4 weeks to find a tenant. I was expecting this and hence was prepared for a bit of a wait.

If your serious about carrying out the dual occ you may also want to find out the local council policies on separating the title. Two strata titles units are generally worth more than the original torrens title house. Undertaking this can result in a nice equity windfall assisting with the next IP purchase.

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Reply: 1.1.1
From: Daniel Brazdil


Your water and electricity can be best solved by an electrician and plumber. It is possible to run meters for both however with the plumbing you may have to settle with some exposed pipes on the outside of the house (pending construction type).

However your biggest concern should be fire proofing. All councils are concerned with this and if the upper floor is timber then you will have to put in fire rated ceilings to the ground floor. Given that if your ground floor walls are timber stud you will then have to put in steel beams to support the upper floor timber joists and so on.

To add to this, if you are thinking of avoiding council altogether you may want to consider the insurance and liability aspect. For instance if you do not do the above and the place burns down your insurance company may be able to refuse payment or even worse if an injury occurred your liability would not cover you.

If you intend to go this way do your homework well.
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From: Mark Brokenshire


We have just purchased a dual occupancy in Auckland New Zealand. to get around some of the difficulties the manager we have rents to a family that wants two units and is willing to pay for that. It was rented the day after settlement to a couple with a child up stairs in the 3 bed and one of their parents downstairs in a large one bed. Rents $300 and $200 respectively. Rent of $360 or so would have been recieved if it had been rented as a single dweling.

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