6 July, 2020
2 min read
The granny annexe is becoming a hugely popular way to care for elderly parents as they age. In this guide, we’ll answer all your questions about Granny Annexes. What options you have, the benefits, the costs and the legalities. Keeping your elderly parents independent and safe with a Granny Annexe can be the solution to many of the problems you might be facing as your parents’ age.
A Granny Annexe is an umbrella term for a number of different housing arrangements that allow an elderly relative to live in your house with greater independence. The most common layout of a Granny Annexe is one that is attached to a residential property with its own kitchen and bathroom.
With a traditional Granny Annexe, a portion of the main house is sectioned off from the rest. Within this portion of the house, a self-contained living area which includes a kitchen and bathroom will be present. They might have separate entrances or share the main entrance but they are usually attached to the building and on the ground floor.
A variation of the traditional granny Annexe is a granny flat. Common in more built-up city areas, one floor of the building may be dedicated to being a self-contained flat rather than an extension connected to the house.
This category of annexe can be self-built or pre-built offsite. The idea is that you build a permanent or semi-permanent mobile home in your garden. The building should be connected to the utilities of the main house making it ancillary. There are also many great examples of outhouses being converted for use by an older person.
An intergenerational living arrangement can offer a lot of social and practical benefits for all parties. While they’re not without disadvantages we think the following are the three core advantages.
Making time to visit or take an elderly parent out can be a challenge with already busy lives. By moving them nearer it becomes much easier to spend time with them, whether it’s inviting them round for dinner or just chatting in the garden.
If your loved one has savings greater than £23,250 then generally won’t qualify for council support paying for care. In these situations, creative solutions such as downsizing to an annexe in or adjacent to a child’s house may be a solution. Proceeds from the sale of an existing house can be used to fund care costs. It also makes it much easier for families to take on additional care duties to reduce reliance on professional carers.
When you have control of your loved ones living arrangements it’s much easier to make it feel like home for them and give them a much greater sense of independence than moving into a care home ever could.
While a granny annexe can offer greater independence than a care home, it can be demoralising for a parent to move into the garden of a child’s house and it might not be suitable for them.
Being close to your family can be great, but if you don’t set boundaries for when you both expect to see each other it may cause friction. It’s also possible for differences to be amplified when living close together. It will probably be fine if this is discussed beforehand.
Whether it’s billing your parents for utility usage or renumerating siblings that take on caring responsibilities it can be a minefield of hurt feelings if not managed properly. Make sure you think about the details and discuss this with everyone involved before rushing into a situation. All of your siblings want what is best for your parent so there is plenty of common ground to work with, you just need to hammer out the details.
Let’s take a scenario where a widowed mother with dementia is needing increased care in her home, it’s got to the point where she’s not safe alone in the house. She lives in a £250,000 house, has £40,000 in savings and is able to cover her living expenses with income from her state and private pensions.
There are three options:
We know that live-in care will cost approximately £770/week or £40,040/year. In this scenario, savings will burn down to £23,250 in just under 6 months. This is important because it means that the council will now cover some of the costs of looking after her. It does, however, mean that they may suggest a care home over home care if they feel that will be more financially sensible. If they do suggest this you have a choice between being forced into a care home or releasing equity from the house to continue to fund care at home.
The cost of residential care varies wildly across the UK, given we’ve suggested a house value of £250,000 we’ll assume that this is the south-east of England where costs (according to which) would be around £760/week or £39,520/year. In this scenario, you’ll have access to proceeds from the house sale and income from pensions. You could expect to get 7-10 years of runway. This can be a cost-effective solution but costs will rise if nursing care is required in the future which may reduce your runway.
In our third option, we’ll move our loved one into a granny annexe. The benefits of this are that most of the house equity becomes available to be spent on care. We can subtract £60,000 for the building of the annexe although children might want to chip in or pay for it themselves since it will increase the value of the house. Assuming full-time care from a live-in carer it would still result in five and a half years of care before relying on the council.
The other benefit of living in an annexe is that children can help contribute to the care and may be able to reduce live-in care by one week a month. If this was done it could save £9,240/yr and extend your runway to around 7 years.
When it comes to getting your own Granny Annexe you have a number of options to choose from:
Looking after a parent in your own home throws up a number of issues that you should consider before jumping into this. Here are some things to consider when trying to decide what your best options are.
When weighing up the best option for you, consider the following:
If you lack space in your garden then building an extension to your existing house or converting existing rooms may be the best solution for you. The most common reason for planning refusal is that the annexe is too big for a garden and if your garden is small this will be your primary concern. Instead, look at how you might be able to extend your house footprint or convert currently unused space in an attic.
If you know that you will have to move in a few years then a mobile home style pre-built annexe might be a good option. It’s often possible to crane them out of the garden and take them to your new residence.
Building your own extension can be a great option if you want to customise your design or keep the annexe attached to the main residence. There are a few different ways to go with this.
If your house is large enough you can consider blocking off and converting 2 – 3 existing rooms without extending the footprint of the building. The benefits of this are that you can avoid most of the planning permission considerations that a house extension will entail. In general, this method of converting your home won’t do much to improve the value of your home although it may be repurposable for a lodger at some point in the future.
Extending the footprint of your house is one of the cheapest ways to add more space. It can also help to make the annexe feel more separate if only connected through a connector.
If you’re looking for more space from your loved ones then a detached annexe might be a better option. It’s important to consider how many bedrooms you will need. If you need a live-in carer then they will need a bedroom to stay in close to your loved one. You may be able to convert an existing outbuilding.
Tip: Decorate the completed rooms yourself to save money spent on a decorator.
Many companies now offer pre-built garden cabins for your back garden with a few offering Granny Annex specialised ones.
If you’re looking to move house already then buying a house with a pre-built annexe might be a great way to go. Finding those houses is not always easy though. We’ve already discussed how to find properties with a granny annexe in another article that you can find here.
One consideration when purchasing a house with an Annexe already is SDLT (Stamp Duty Land Tax). There is a second house levy of 3% on house purchases. In order to be required to pay the higher rate the annexe must meet the following criteria, which few will:
A structure in your garden with someone living in it full-time will always require planning permission. In general, you will need to apply for planning permission through the usual homeowner’s route. If you do not, you risk being asked to remove the structure. The main things that your local council’s planning department will be looking for are:
The dwelling must be an ancillary or subsidiary dwelling to the main house. This means that it can have it’s own living facilities e.g. kitchen, shower room, toilet but it mustn’t be larger than the main dwelling or be intended for use as a separate dwelling.
Size of an Annexe is the most common reason for an application to be rejected. Your local planning authorities will judge if the annexe is a reasonable size in relation to your garden and neighbouring houses. Most pre-built annexes are a single story in order to minimise the impact on neighbours.
There are a number of suppliers on the market at the moment producing log cabin style annexes. In general, a pre-built annexe will come in the form of a garden annex. Smaller designs might only allow a shower room but larger ones can include a full bathroom. We’ll give a summary of the biggest here with some information on the best ones.
|Price Range||£64,000 – £113,500|
|Free on-site consultation?||Yes|
|Planning Consent Service?||Yes|
|Build Time||5-9 weeks|
|Reviews||4.5/5 (8 reviews)|
|Price Range||£28,518 – £117,000|
|Free on-site consultation?||No|
|Planning Consent Service?||Yes|
|Reviews||4.4/5 (9 reviews)|
|Price Range||Ask for pricing|
|Free on-site consultation?||Yes|
|Planning Consent Service?||Yes|
|Reviews||5/5 (30 reviews)|
It will generally take your local authority 8 to 13 weeks to come to a decision on your planning application.
The answer is yes. Your local council will determine the tax band of every area of living accommodation within your house. If it would be possible for someone to live in an annexe of your house alone then it is subject to separate council tax the band of which will be determined by your council.
The good news though is that most councils offer a 50% discount on this second council tax bill if a relative is living there. From their perspective, it often saves the council money to have more houses available and usually reduces the amount they have to pay for care in the long run.
If you purchased a mobile home style Granny Annexe it’s very possible that it could be craned out of your home and sold to someone else. There are suppliers that can act as a broker of mobiles homes and will buy static mobile homes off you handling all the movement etc. You may also be able to organise a private sale through privatesalecaravans.co.uk or gumtree.
To the right buyer, a granny flat will add as much value as it did to you. Plenty of families have a need for additional living accommodation, whether they plan on using it as a garden office or as a stepping stone for children leaving the house. There are plenty of examples of a granny annexe increasing the value of a house. In general, a physically separate annexe can be more desirable since it could be used as a holiday let. In addition, is no cost to converting it to normal use.
Yes. When you rent your annexe it will generally fall under the category of a lodger rather than an assured shorthold tenancy. An assured shorthold tenancy is the normal way to rent a house and grants the renter more rights in regard to notice periods and evictions. As a landlord, you will have certain responsibilities that the government has outlined but you usually only need to give a notice period of 4 weeks. Other benefits of renting your annexe are that you can collect £7,500/year of rent tax-free under the rent a room scheme.
Find out more about renting a room here: https://www.gov.uk/rent-room-in-your-home