Posted on August 5, 2021

Two Storey Dual Occupancy Properties – Pros and Cons

Are there any disadvantages in owning a two-storey dual occupancy investment property? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

The reason for this move into two-storey dwellings has been the high demands on available land. Land sells so quickly putting a strain on councils to release new developments. This extra creates costs on councils that pass these on to land developers.

Land developers wishing to cover these costs and to maximize returns in turn produce smaller blocks which are harder to build low- set dual occupancy properties on. So, we have been forced to build more two storey properties.

Due to the constraints in having to fit two dwellings under one roof for dual occupancy properties, and with client demands to maximise the size of the dwellings, it is hard to achieve maximum square meterage and fit this into a single level dual occupancy.

When confronted with these constraints we must build a two-storey property.  For example, if a client wants a dual occupancy with 4 bedrooms/2bathrooms/single garage on the main side and 2 bedrooms/1bathroom/single garage on the other side then it’s very difficult to squeeze this into a floor plan under 220 square metres.

If the size of the block is 400m2 and site coverage allows for a maximum of 50%, then the maximum coverage will be 200m2. This means that you have to build a two-storey dual occupancy; there’s no other way around it.

With the roll out of new development estates, this has become a common scenario. In recent times, especially when developers don’t apply for 60% site coverage in small lot developments it is very difficult to draft low-set dual occupancy designs.

So, the obvious advantage of a two-story property is that they maximise the meterage of design on smaller blocks of land where single level properties aren’t able to fit.


  • Ability to fit on small blocks of land: As mentioned above, this is an obvious point and it enables smaller blocks of land to be used for dual occupancy properties sometimes as small as 300m2. This can lead to a saving in the cost of land, and enables larger back and front yards to be achieved.
  • Attractive Facades: I think that two-storey dual occupancy properties look fantastic, they have great street presence and can look very aesthetically pleasing when designed and drafted well.


  • Cost: The first and most obvious disadvantage is that two storey dual occupancy properties cost more to build.
  • Build Time: It is also generally best to allow for a longer build time frame, usually only a few weeks, but it’s worth being aware of this and factoring it into your considerations.
  • Stairs: Stairs are not always an attractive feature for older people, who can be potential tenants particularly for the smaller auxiliary side of the property. Whilst there are generally enough tenants and we have never had problems renting out properties with stairs, it is worth being aware that it may inhibit the ability to rent to older tenants.

Given the above-mentioned pros and cons of building a two-storey dual occupancy, while they are slightly more expensive to build they do allow the use of smaller (and normally cheaper) blocks of land, so this extra construction cost generally evens out.  You would want to bear in mind that given the number of new estates with small and hard to build on blocks, the choice of whether to choose a two-storey or single-storey dual occupancy may be made up for you if you choose to go with one of these blocks of land.

We have extensive experience building two-storey dual occupancy properties for clients wishing to get into new estates.  Our draft engineers have done a lot of work in refining and redrafting designs to maximize coverage to get the best use of the individual blocks.  Contact us about our great two-storey options which we have developed for use in a number of City Council areas. These range from an option for both 3 and 4 bedrooms in the main dwelling and a two-bedroom auxiliary.

Don’t forget our FREE Report on Dual Occupancy Homes.