What Is A Dual Occupancy? Factors to Consider for Dual Occupancy

What Is A Dual Occupancy?

What Is Dual Occupancy?

A dual occupancy property is a different sort of property in which a plot of land has one title yet two residences are built on it. A dual occupancy property is also known as a multi-dwelling, a duplex, or a ‘side-by-side’ development since it has two features on the same land.

These living arrangements provide investors with flexibility and freedom while maximizing prospective earnings from a single lot. These properties are merged under the same title and generate a higher return on investment than two individual dwellings.

Therefore, dual occupancy is the use of two different dwelling units on the same property. The term usually applies to multi-family buildings where each unit is occupied by more than one person, but it can also apply to single-family dwellings used as temporary residences for guests.

Types Of Dual Occupancy Properties

They include:

  • Dual-key property: This is a home with a shared front door and maybe an additional living space, such as a living room or kitchen. A piece of the property is locked and rented out to a different tenant.
  • Dual occupancy: A double occupancy is comparable to a duplex in that it shares shared land but not common walls.
  • Duplex: A duplex is two properties that share common walls or are adjoined. It is a house that has been separated into two different properties that can be sold separately.

What Factors To Consider For Dual Occupancy

The following principles may help you decide whether your property is a good candidate for a dual occupancy project:

  • Does the design accommodate two separate living units?
  • Can the property be purchased in one piece or must it be divided into two separate properties?
  • Is the property well located and accessible across public transport lines?
  • Can you split the cost of associated taxes and insurance?
  • Is there enough common land to allow access between the dwellings without passing through another dwelling unit?

Therefore, the following are some important things to consider while developing a dual occupancy home:

Block dimensions: The average measurements required for a dual occupancy design are 15.24m wide x 43.5m deep (approx. 635sqm)

Frontage width of a block: You’ll require more than 12m of street frontage (ideally around 15m)

Footprint of the house: In general, the house footprint cannot encompass more than half of the block (approx. 62 squares)

Feasibility: Determine whether or not there will be a financial gain from doing this. If you hire an experienced builder, such as Integrity New Homes, we can provide you with more advice and assist you with the math. We want to see you get the most out of your asset and can assist you in doing so.

Driveway crossovers: Two driveway crossovers are not permitted within a 12m frontage. You should also consider whether street trees or power poles will have an impact on where you site your drives.

Upgrade costs: When comparing the basic prices of available designs, keep in mind that each new inclusion must be multiplied by two (because there are two properties). This can soon pile up!

Council approvals: It takes 3-6 months on average to get dual occupancy plans approved by council. You should choose a builder who will handle this process for you, as it might be more complicated than a single dwelling approval.

Dual occupancy in a greenfield estate: If you live in a greenfield estate, check to see if there is a single residence covenant (meaning you cannot build a dual occupancy dwelling).

Because it is generally not worth the expenditure for the lower resale value in these areas, dual occupancy home designs are more commonly used for knock-down rebuilds.

Dual Occupancy Subdivision and or Property: Meaning

Dual Occupancy Property

When you build two or more different properties on the same piece of land, you have a dual occupancy property. Alternatively, it could include constructing a completely new house adjacent to or behind your old home.

It essentially means that you have two or more dwellings on a single title of land that will be subdivided in the future.

This is ideal for accommodating family members, such as elderly relatives, or if you wish to enter the rental market and rent out one or more of the properties while living in another.

Dual Occupancy Subdivision

A dual occupancy subdivision is when you build two or more residences on an existing single title and then subdivide the lot to establish two independent titles.

Why you should consider a dual occupancy

You can’t go wrong with a duplex if you already have a knock-down rebuild and want to build two new houses, or if you want to build a new dwelling behind an existing one or two new dwellings on a vacant piece of land.

Dual occupancy home designs are gaining popularity among homeowners who wish to maximize their income, reduce their current home, or raise the value of their land.

There are numerous advantages to having a dual occupancy, including:

Increasing the value of the property

Creating a duplex, for example, has the potential to raise the value of your property by up to 40%, and if a Dual Occupancy Subdivision can be attained, properties have the potential to double in value.

Reduce the cost of development

This can be done by selling one side of a dual occupancy property.

An additional source of income

In addition to normal incomes, the rental income of a 4-bedroom duplex in some Sydney areas can amount to up to $1400 per week.

Reduce risk

Hazards will be reduced with dual occupancy because the risk of both buildings being vacant is minimal.


Duplexes are an excellent place to start and save money. If you can’t afford to buy a luxury property right away, duplexes are a terrific option to set yourself up financially for a future upgrade.


With a duplex, you have the option of renting or selling both sides, or living in one and renting or selling the other.

Land Size

Land is still the most important factor in property investing. A dual occupancy residence necessitates a large plot of land. Because land appreciates with time, it adds value to the duplex investment.

Stamp duty

When purchasing a home, the buyer must pay a significant sum in stamp duty. When purchasing a dual dwelling house, the stamp duty is imposed on the land rather than the building, resulting in a large savings.

How can I Build a Dual Occupancy?

You have a couple of alternatives here.

The first option is to construct a separate residence in your backyard that shares a driveway if you have adequate room. The lot would then be subdivided so that each residence had its own title. The driveway would subsequently be considered public property.

You can then sell both, sell one and rent the other, or rent both! You’re spoiled for choice in this town. In either case, you’ll have some money in the bank or more equity in your investment at the end of the project.

The second option is for people who have a large enough property to demolish their present home and create two or more new units. The land would subsequently be subdivided, and each dwelling would have its own land title.

These residences could be semi-detached or totally detached, depending on the size of the original land and your aspirations.

Is it possible to sell a dual occupancy?

To begin, you must either own or purchase land suitable for dual occupancy. Then you start the planning process for the dual occupancy development.

As you progress through the building process and construction begins, you will begin the process of subdividing the lot.

You have the option of marketing and selling the plan’s subdivided properties. Your buyers will be able to settle as soon as construction is completed and the subdivision approval has been obtained. As a result, you will profit sooner.

If you wait until the properties are finished and then run a real estate auction or private sale campaign, you’ll have to wait for the property to be listed for sale, have it on the market for several weeks (at the very least!), and then wait for the agreed settlement period, which is typically 60-90 days.

You may get more for your properties if you run a sale campaign after the new properties are finished, as we just discussed, but each project and situation is unique.

It’s critical that you understand the various options and understand that each will have an impact on when you’ll receive payment.

Dual Occupancy Vs Secondary Dwelling

A secondary dwelling is a separate structure from your main house that is built on a single lot. These dwellings can be detached, semi-detached or attached. Secondary dwellings are distinct from dual occupancies.

The main distinction is the fact that, with a dual occupancy, the units are all under the same title and building permit, where secondary dwellings require their own title and building permit going forward.

The differences between a Dual occupancy and a Secondary dwelling have been outline below.

  1. Dual occupancy is a legal division of space (the property itself) whereas secondary dwellings are additional dwelling units to an existing property only legally.
  2. Secondary dwelling will require planning permission whereas Dual Occupancy requires building consent and you need an occupancy certificate.
  3. A secondary dwelling is generally smaller (less than 35sqm) whereas a dual occupancy can be any size.
  4. A secondary dwelling does not necessarily need consent from the Council whereas a dual occupancy will require it if there is more than one title of ownership on the land. Therefore, a dual occupancy has to be subdivided into two separate titles for two individuals, both with their own individual building consent and occupation certificate
  5. Secondary dwellings are generally less expensive than an identical size dual occupancy.
  6. A Dual Occupancy can be a small extension to your existing house.
  7. You can have dual occupancy on your property if you have only one title of ownership on the property but not a secondary dwelling unless it is attached to your home or in the backyard of your existing home.

Dual Occupancy FAQs

What is a dual occupancy?

Dual occupancy is a legal division of property, where two owners have the right to live in one property. When you own a duplex, you can either rent to the occupants of both units, or rent one and sell the other.

Renting out both sides of your house will allow you to cover your mortgage costs while making cash flow available on the rest of your properties.

What is the difference between a duplex and a dual occupancy?

A duplex is a single residential building with two dwellings under one roof separated by a separating wall. Each side, also known as a dual occupancy, is a completely independent residence with its own entrance, facilities, and yard.

Each residence in a duplex can be sold independently if it is separated into two separates titles.

How does dual occupancy work?

When you build two or more different properties on the same plot of land, you have a dual occupancy property. It could also entail constructing a completely new house adjacent to or behind your present property.

It simply means that you have two or more residences on the same title of land, which will eventually be subdivided.

What does dual living mean?

A dual living residence is essentially two fully independent dwellings built under one roof and owned by the same person. Each ‘dwelling area’ has its own street entrance, unique address, distinct front doors, kitchen, bathroom, living areas, and yard.

What is a duplex?

A duplex is an individual home with two separate titles of ownership often under one roof, but each part of the property has its own entrance and kitchen.

Duplexes can be used as main residences or as investments, while dual occupancies are usually used as investment properties.

What is a dual occupancy zoning?

A zoning where you can build a duplex or dual occupancy. This type of zoning has less traffic and allows for more privacy than single-family zoning, which usually doesn’t allow for more than one residence per lot.

Are dual occupancy homes a good investment?

They are if you are looking for something other than a primary residence.

If you have one of the larger lots and want to provide more space for your family, or look to invest in a property where you can rent both units out and then move into just one of them when the other is rented out, dual occupancy is the right choice.

Am I permitted to build a dual occupancy on my property?

You can build a dual occupancy on any land as long as you follow local zoning regulations. Always check with your city management office to ensure that you aren’t exceeding the zoning restrictions.

What are zoning regulations?

Zoning laws or regulations define which type of building activities may be carried out in certain areas of a community. You cannot build your duplex, for example, if it is prohibited by the zoning law.

If your property is zoned for single family use only, then you will not be allowed to build any multi-family units.

What is free dual occupancy?

Only 1-bed flats and studios are eligible for free dual-occupancy. Each client who wants to live with their partner must notify the landlord of their partner’s personal information before to arrival.

The landlord will want proof of identification and the partner’s signature on an occupancy form.

Can duplex be sold separately?

Duplexes can be sold as two separate units. However, as they are legally tied to one property/title, they may not be sold or swapped.

What does secondary dwelling mean?

Secondary dwellings are additional dwelling units to an existing property only legally. Secondary dwellings do not require planning permission or a building permit.

An occupancy certificate is the only document required in order for the construction work to be followed by the building of a secondary dwelling.

Can I build a second house on my property NSW?

On the lot, there will only be one house and one secondary residence. The property must have a minimum width of 12 meters at the building line of the current residence. If your property does not match these criteria, you may apply for an attached secondary residence.

Can I build a house next to my house?

You might be able to build the second home on the existing lot rather than separating it into two lots. With the parcel divided, each homeowner is free to sell their home and property without the approval of the other.

Must I be married to have a secondary residence?

No. It is not necessary to be married to have a secondary dwelling. Anyone can live in a secondary dwelling as long as they have the owner’s permission and have the occupancy permit.

What if my partner doesn’t live with me?

Your partner will still be considered your “domestic partner” of living with you if he/she has been living with you for at least six months and you share certain factors (e.g., household, financial partnership, children born of their relationship).

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