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Tiny Homes on Rural Allotments

Recent years has seen a significant market develop for the "Tiny Home" movement, with some people seeking to minimise their building or environmental footprint, their burden of debt, or to seek an alternate source of income for their rural property.

Whatever the reason for seeking to utilise a Tiny Home, it is still important to make sure the Tiny Homes are compliant with the Local Planning Scheme and Building Permit regulations.

The Tiny Homes by construction design, are designed to be movable, but the reality is that most once sited will not be moved. Council is likely to treat and assess a Tiny Home as a fixed and permanent feature of the site, and Town Planning assessment treated accordingly. It is the land owners responsibility to ensure the Tiny Home is compliant with the Local council Planning Regulations, should a planning permit be required. A planning pemrit may be triggered by the Construction Works or intended Ue of the Tiny Home under the Zoning, or by

All dwellings in the Green Wedge Zone (GWZ) or Rural Conservation Zone (RCZ) are subject to Planning Permit assessment. The Planning Definition of a "Dwelling" is defined in Clause 73.03 of the Planning Schemes as:

" A Building used as a self-contained residence which must include:

  • a kitchen sink
  • food preparation facilities;
  • a bath or shower; and
  • a toilet and wash basin.

It includes outbuildings and works normal to a dwelling"

The Green Wedge & Rural Conservation Zones are restricted to a single dweling on the land. The addition of a Tiny Home onto a GWZ or RCZ allotment already containing a Dwelling, may be in breach of this single dwelling limitation of the Planning Scheme, unless the Tiny Home is proposed to fall within the planning definitions of:

  • Camping & Caravan Park
  • Host Farm
  • Group Accomodation

Various Planning Overlays applicable to your site may also trigger planning permit due to the siting (proximity to vegetation, etc), environmental risk (Bushfire, floodplain, etc) or excavation works required.

A Tiny Home used as a Dependent Persons Unit still triggers a Planning Permit in the Green Wedge Zone and Rural Conservation Zone. A Dependent Persons Unit by default, needs to be used by a "Dependent Person" so can't just be available to anyone.

The Tiny Home manufacturer should ensure the build of the Tiny Home is compliant with the Building Permit from a construction sense, but a Building Surveyor would likely still need to sign off on the siting and any associated works on the site (Water Tanks, Bushfire requirements, etc). If a planning permit is triggered, the Building Surveyor won't be able to sign off on any Building Permit until the Planning Permit has successfully issued.

A Tiny Home despite its mobility, will need to comply with the planning & building permit rules and regulations as appropriate. The costs of the build for a quality Tiny Home are not insignificant, so before purchasing or entering a contract for a Tiny Home for your property, it is highly recommended you discuss your proposal with your local Council to ensure that you can use a Tiny Home on your property and in the way that you intend to use it or seek the necessary planning permit.

The team at Thomas & George P/L can assist with your discussions or town planning applications with Council, and associated plans should a planning permit be required.

Posted: Mon 06 Nov 2023


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