Houses where many generations live together may seem like a good idea but as each family member vies for their own space there could be problems. An annexe is the answer.

Whether it’s somewhere for a teenager to learn to live on their own without making a break, or somewhere for an older member of the family to retire to without losing touch with the family, an annexe could make life easier all round and solve a lot of problems before they become problems.

Planning to move your parents or other elderly relatives into your existing property can be a stressful experience, but also has significant benefits in terms of being able to care better, potentially reducing the need for a care home in the future.

Advantages of creating a granny annexe include: l Closer proximity and reduced isolation for your loved one l An ability to keep an eye out for signs of poor health l Increasing the value of your property Before you start planning the annexe you need to consider the suitability of your existing property for the needs of your parent. Then you’ll need to consider the design and layout of the annexe so that it meets and continues to meet their needs over time.

If you have a garage space that can be converted, this will usually mean there is easy access from a part of the property and is going to be cheaper than building an annexe in the garden, which will need planning permission. You would need to arrange plumbing, electricity, central heating and other amenities which may be costly.

Additional council tax that had been charged on family occupied annexes has been axed. Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles described the tax as unfair and added that families that take care of their elderly relatives should be encouraged, not charged for the privilege.

On the plus side, you have the peace of mind that your relative is close by and whatever the initial outlay an annexe can add value to the property and make it more saleable.

Peace of mind also comes into the equation if the annexe is for a teenager; they have a certain amount of independence while learning how to look after themselves. They may still depend on parents for support but they can keep their own hours, enjoy their own entertainment (within reason), and have their friends round without getting under the feet of the rest of the family – everyone’s a winner.

When you decide to sell your home a granny flat will add to the value of the property. For a family it is extra accommodation for a relative but an investor may see it as a source of extra income and would be willing to spend more money to acquire the property.

To find out how much value an annexe or self-contained unit within the property would add, speak to a local estate agent who knows the market well.