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AuArchitecture turns backyards into cash. Pay down your mortgage or live in your new home tax free. Learn to profit from subdivision.

Dual Occupancy is a good way to start a property portfolio
AuArchitecture Founder's first home became a successful  dual occupancy project. It turned a front yard into real cash! He invested that profit  into his next home which got rezoned for apartments....... He later  invested in an ocean front land which was doomed to be zoned -NOT TO BE DEVELOPED! It took two years to get it rezoned and he  increased the land value manyfold. 

What is a dual occupancy property subdivision in  Victoria?

A dual occupancy occurs when a planning permit is granted by your Victorian Council to build two dwellings on a block of land which can also be subdivided to create two individual lots of land.


A triple occupancy would allow three units- like three townhouses- and a three lot property subdivision.


Dual Occupancy development types.


Dual occupancy developments could retain the existing (original) house and build one new house at the backyard or in the front yard depending on size, depth, vehicle access width and how one meets the local council's planning requirements.


Other forms of dual occupancy developments occur when the existing house is demolished to make way for two brand new houses which could be one behind the other called a tandem design or be side by side which is called a duplex style development. In more unusual designs, a duplex could be one dwelling above another!


In both instances access, site frontage, depth and  orientation play a key part in the design.  North facing backyards make the perfect duplex sites.


A corner site has distinctive advantages when creating a sense of address as both the units have a valuable street frontage.


Contact us today to find which form of dual occupancy will suit your land.


Benefits of the typical dual occupancy development


The typical dual occupancy development is the tandem style arrangement. When the existing house is retained in the dual occupancy development, one's capital is preserved because the asset purchased, that is the house on the land, is retained.


The house has value so think twice before you consider demolition!


The only time one should consider demolishing the house in a dual occupancy development is if the house is in very poor order or there has been significant growth in the value of the land.

The worst house on the best street is often a good candidate for a dual occupancy.


A dual occupancy equates to the land value being shared by two dwellings thereby reducing the land cost to half. If one was to succeed in retaining the original home and get planning permission to build two new homes in the backyard the cost of the land component is one third!


A dual occupancy allows one to:


  • Utilise an unused backyard and become maintenance free

  • Sell the newly created lot through the property subdivision and use that cash to pay down the mortgage or use it for any worthwhile purpose or investment

  • If you decided to build the new dual occ home you could move into your brand new home and enjoy the new kitchen and bathrooms

  • You could then sell the original home free of capital gains tax (check with your accountant first) or rent it out for some additional income

  • Or you could sell both the homes or rent them out as investment properties which generate attractive depreciation benefits


In Australia- and in particular Melbourne and Sydney, there are suburbs where the value of the land outstrips the value of the actual house!


In most middle and outer suburbs the houses have great value as it generates rental income and is easier to finance by typical lenders.


For example, if the house is retained in the dual occupancy development, banks could lend 80-95% of the value of the property.


On the other hand, if the house was demolished, banks tend to lend only 65-70% of the value of the land as the house has been removed leaving the lender with land value only.


This preservation of capital- retaining the original home-  in the eyes of the lender reduces the risk because if, for any reason, the development does not go ahead, the asset retains its value.


Even after the redevelopment, the value of the existing dwelling is by and large retained.


The existing dwelling also generates rental cash flow during the planning process and in some cases even when the development is underway. This cash flow cannot usually be generated from a vacant allotment.


Dual Occupancy Profitability


Dual occupancy developments are profitable because it maximises the land value.


One generates twice the value from the original house and land as two houses generate two rental incomes.


Even if you sold the existing house, chances are it will be free of capital gains tax which might pay off your mortgage, any debts or release cash to be used for other worthwhile ventures. Check this out with your accountant.


Very often, after the dual occupancy subdivision is completed, the original home is sold for almost the price one paid for the whole block of land with the house. The second house then becomes the cream.


Will your dual occupancy prove profitable? Ask us today.


Dual Occupancy Sites


There are a myriad of things to consider when finding a suitable dual occupancy development site.


Some of these are listed below.


The cost of the site should result in acceptable development margins


  • The site width should allow for two crossovers in the ideal scenario but many Councils in Melbourne are clamping down on this type of duplex developments

  • The vehicle accessway to the backyard should be a minimum 3m in width and compliant  to meet the now mandatory safety standards

  • The site length and area should allow adequate north facing open space for recreation and landscaping

  • The site should be close to infrastructure, schools, shops and transport

  • The title should be clear of development restrictions and preferably without any easements

  • All the essential services should be available onsite or in close proximity and run in the most advantageous position

  • The site orientation should be perfect so that the amenities of neighbouring properties are not adversely affected

  • The zoning of your land and it's associated Schedule should not be too restrictive

  • The planning overlays on your land should not be too restrictive

  • The site should be fairly level as sloping blocks may cost more to build. However sites with great views benefit from sloping land

  • There should be little or no significant vegetation on the site and on abutting sites within say 5 m of the common boundaries

  • A soil test should demonstrate the foundations will not require additional strengthening

  • There should be no encroachments on your title boundary or by your property on adjoining allotments

  • There should preferably be precedents for similar development in your neighbourhood

  • There should be no planning overlays burden development

  • Your local Council should encourage development to meet their housing stock forecast


Are you considering a dual occupancy development?


If you are considering a dual occupancy development, it is important to understand the requirements for developing and subdividing.


For example, there needs to be adequate space to do so, and this is determined by the position, as much as the size, of the existing dwelling. There needs to be adequate access for vehicles to enter and exit, and the proposal should be financially viable. Contact us for an expert opinion








A dual occupancy development is the subdivision of an existing house and land into two or more allotments.


  • In Melbourne, the middle and outer suburban allotments are usually ideal for dual occupancy development.

  • A dual occupancy development can preserve capital, diminish risk, and generate cash flow.

  • A dual occupancy development increases the value of the land

  • A dual occupancy or medium density development can be profitable as long as you do your feasibility analysis with care

  • A dual occupancy releases cash from a backyard you might not be using.


Get the best advice first to achieve the best results and to avoid future disappointment. 


                       " A Dual Occupancy adds value to your home "


Please feel free to request a Free! Desktop Site Assessment or call our Founder on  0448 170 132


Learn the Successful steps on how to do a great dual occupancy subdivision




Typical 2 lot dual occupancy subdivision
Tandem dual occ

Typical two lot dual occupancy subdivision. One dwelling behind another.

Duplex narrow block

2x 4 bedroom side by side Duplex units  approved for a narrow  12m wide block. Two side by side dwellings deliver larger footprints.

Dual occupancy on corner site
Corner site

Dual occupancy on a corner  site yield large units each with a street address.

Dual occ- one above another

A more unusual dual occ - one above another!

2 lot subdivision

Two lot subdivision tandem style

2 Lot subdivision on corner site

Two lot corner site dual occupancy

2 side by side approved subdivision plan

Two lot subdivision duplex style

Secluded Dual Occupancy


If you are thinking of one house behind the existing home or a dua occ on a corner site, let us advise you on the development potential on your land.

Duplex Dual Occ


Duplex or side by side units can work on some properties, They deliver larger homes. North facing backyards and wide frontages are best for a duplex.




Larger sites could yield more than a dual occupancy. Let us advise on the development potential of your land.

A bit about us

Property subdivision advice by expert


We are led by a hands-on Founder, who personally analysed many hundreds of subdivision sites. He predicted their development outcome by applying town planning intelligence with smart architecture. He has interacted with most councils across Melbourne and regional Victoria and managed 250+ planning permits for architects and property developers.

Our design principle.

We don’t approach architecture from a shape making perspective. We don’t have a preconceived solution of what buildings will look like or what materials we’re going to use on a development site.

Every site-specific design -  whether it’s for an exciting home renovation, a multi- lot subdivision, a residential or commercial project -  evolves from  the research into local council's planning requirements, client brief and the land's unique characteristics.

Our practical designs elevate spatial experience and resident comfort through passive design principles, ample day lighting, ventilation & acoustic privacy to produce wellness architecture.

The Whole Building Design practice provides the strategies to achieve a high-performance building: one that is cost-effective over its entire life cycle, safe, secure, accessible, flexible, aesthetic, productive, and sustainable.

Benefit from experience.

Swarup, our Founder, is a Registered Planner with a degree in Architecture. He belongs to the Planning Institute of Australia, the Australian Institute of Architects and the Victorian Planning and Environmental Law Association, which are the peak Institutes of both professions. This collective synergy makes his planning and design skills quite unique.


He is  a successful property developer and designer of hundreds of projects. They include his own profitable dual occupancy, engineering inspired beach house on waterfront land no one wanted, townhouses, multiunit developments, low cost to luxury homes and childcare, medical centre, retail, industrial  and office buildings.

He is supported by a team of Registered Building Practitioners, a Platinum HIA builder with 30 years’ experience and Registered Architect who all use the latest Building Information Modelling software.

Our combined team experience equates to decades of learning and sharing of knowledge with experienced and first-time developers.

Our services.

We deliver end to end property development solutions including:


  • intelligent design and inhouse architecture

  • effective town planning strategy

  • inhouse town planning reports

  • project feasibility

  • land subdivisions

  • manage town planning applications at all councils across Victoria

  • building permit

  • construction documentation

  • co ordinate other consultants services, including engineering, energy report, soil report, traffic, arborist and others to get your project started.  Read about our Specialist Services.

With over 250 planning permits personally managed by our Founder, why trust your project to inexperience?

Benefit from our knowledge.

How can you maximise the value from your land?


Can you subdivide, build a dual occupancy in your backyard or  develop townhouses, a medical or childcare centre?

 Contact Swarup direct  on 0448 170 132  for  an obligation free, high level opinion. 

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