Alleviating Australia’s rental crisis one granny flat at a time

Between population growth, rising investment demands, skyrocketing property prices and lack of new construction, Australia's housing crisis is real. While the steady growth of the population Down Under has put pressure on housing supply, not enough homes are built to cater to this growing pool of home-buyers. In addition, an increase in investment demand means that supply of available housing is further limited – and unrelenting rental prices keep going up.

According to Domain, the national rental vacancy rate was just 1.0% in September 2023. This means that there is less than one rental property available for every 100 renters. Similarly, CoreLogic’s national index shows the median rents across Australia increased by 11.5% in the year to June 2023 – and that is the fastest annual growth in rents on record. This is compounded by the fact that some of Australia’s biggest cities – such as Sydney or Melbourne – regularly make it to “the most expensive places to live” lists. And, to be fair, the costs of living aren’t that much lower in smaller towns and regional parts of the country either.


However, the recently released report by Archistar, Blackfort and CoreLogic points to accessory dwelling units (ADUs) as one of the potential solutions that could help alleviate the housing crisis. While they don’t remove the need for independent, secure and affordable housing, granny flats might help increase the supply of available dwellings – the report indicates that more than 17.5% of Sydney metro properties, and over 13% in the Victorian capital, have the potential to house an ADU.

Of course, it’s paramount that any accessory dwelling unit is designed and structured in a way that’s compliant and liveable. Ensuring that a space has appropriate plumbing amenities – such as a bathroom, kitchen or laundry – is pivotal for creating a habitable space that promotes wellness, comfort and independence. In fact, while the exact minimum requirements for granny flats will vary from state to state, in all Australian states and territories it is mandatory to have plumbing in place in order to be able to rent an ADU.

Ensuring that an ADU has appropriate plumbing comes with its own challenges, and distance to the main sewerage is certainly one of them – not every plot will enable the owners to position the new unit near an existing sewerage. In these instances, underground pumps and tanks as well as large lifting stations are an excellent solution. They enable the owners to drain all wastewater into a tank or a pump, and when the vessel achieves a certain level, they pump the waste up to 200m horizontally or 20m vertically, depending on the model. That means they can get waste directly into the main sewerage, even if it’s positioned a hundred metres away from the granny flat.

Saniflo SFA, a market leader in the sanitary sector, provides innovative plumbing solutions that make it easy to connect the new granny flat to the sewerage mains. For instance, one of their lifting station ranges, called Sanicubic can be connected to a toilet, shower, sink, bathtub, washing machine, dishwasher and a kitchen sink, making it possible to achieve a complete bathroom, toilet, kitchen and even laundry. This particular product range is perfect for granny flats because they are compact, and don’t need to be buried underground. The Sanicubic range has been designed to be placed on the ground, for ease of installation and maintenance, and it will not disrupt the existing design of the dwelling, nor the garden.


Depending on the Sanicubic model selected, waste can be pumped up to 20m vertically or 200m horizontally, ensuring ample flexibility.

The system can remove water from multiple fixtures and comes with a powerful motors – which can be easily removed for servicing and maintenance – and boast an IP68 waterproof rating. Plus, incorporating this kind of system is more budget-friendly and efficient than digging new drainage and breaking concrete.

Saniflo SFA’s Sanifos range is another excellent option for a granny flats. With 3 tank sizes within the range, the Sanifos 280 and 610 are ideal for granny flats. These pumping stations are installed underground and provide an efficient solution for instances where gravity-reliant sewerage systems are not possible due to limited site access and site constraints such as property sloping away from the sewer infrastructure.

Inground lifting stations provide a tough and reliable solution that are designed for heavy usage, while boasting a compact, space-saving tank design. Sanifos systems have a built in hydraulic system, which includes a shut-off valve and non-return valve. These products are also IP68 rated and engineered to comply with the Australian Standards AS1546.

Depending on the type and size of the property, as well as the individual needs of the owners and inhabitants, Saniflo SFA’s innovative product range can help ensure that any new granny flat is connected to the main sewerage. Whether it's a more robust, Sanifos inground lifting station, or a fuss free Sanicubic, Saniflo SFA have a selection of products for any circumstances, and any budget. By providing a broad, high-quality range of plumbing products for smaller dwellings, Saniflo SFA proudly assists with the creation of comfortable, compliant and habitable accessory dwelling units, helping alleviate the housing crisis in Australia one granny flat at a time.