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in Business Law by Anthea Digiaris on 22 March 2016

Australian houses may be some of the largest in the world, yet the rising
cost of living and rising house prices mean that many are beginning to
trade in their master suites and rumpus rooms in exchange for
something smaller, cosier and more affordable.

Tiny houses can range anywhere from 120 500 square feet in size. Choosing the right size for
you may depend on your particular lifestyle and needs. The size of your tiny house may also
depend on the regulatory framework under which your tiny house is captured. The relative
novelty of the tiny houses movement has meant that in many respects the law is yet to catch up
and adapt to the wants and needs of tiny house owners.

Below are some important issues you should consider before you commence construction of
your tiny house:

1. Planning Requirements

Council Planning Schemes regulate how a property can be used including the type of building
that can be constructed on the land, its size and the materials to be used.

Zoning regulations may also require a minimum size for residential dwellings and variances may
be permitted on application.

You should always review your planning scheme and consult your local councils planning
department about the regulations that apply to you.

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2. Ancillary Dwellings vs Tiny House

An ancillary dwelling or granny at may be a preferred alternative instead of a tiny house as the
construction of a granny at may not be restricted by minimum size restraints. Ancillary
Dwellings may however be subject to maximum size restrictions.

Ancillary dwellings generally need to be located on the same lot as a main dwelling, that is, it
must be subordinate to another residential dwelling. This means you will not be able to build
your tiny house on an empty lot if you classify it as an ancillary dwelling.

3. Tiny House on Wheels

Restrictive zoning regulations may mean that many tiny house enthusiasts decide to build their
tiny house on wheels, which allow them to escape the jurisdiction of municipal planning law.

A tiny house on wheels will no longer be regulated as a permanent structure and will rather be
classied as a light truck or caravan.

The standards governing construction of a light truck or caravan are set out in the Motor Vehicle
Standards Act 1989 (Cth).

The Act sets up standards, known as Australian Design Rules that specify the shape, size, weight
and safety requirements of construction e.g. the tiny house on wheels must not exceed 2.5
meters in overall width and its height must not exceed 4.3 meters. Further, it must be tted with
a re extinguisher.

4. Ongoing Regulation for a Tiny House on Wheels

Once a tiny house on wheels has been constructed, state and territory governments are
responsible for its continued regulation, for example, its roadworthiness, registration, and the
approval of modications.

Many local laws prohibit camping for an open-ended period of time on a piece of property,
even if you own the property. You should always review your planning scheme and consult your
local councils planning department about the regulations that would apply for residing in your
tiny house on wheels.

If the need for advice arises, our experienced team of property lawyers is here to assist
and guide you in the right direction. Get in touch today.

Anthea Digiaris
Associate, Commercial and
project Litigation
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Comments (2)
Sophia - 31 March 2016
Thank you Agatha!! This is priceless!

Reply

Danielle - 01 April 2016


Hi Slater and Gordon,

this post is very helpful.As a tiny homes preferred future home owner,these regulations will be
so helpful when we are ready to build.

Thankyou,Danielle

Reply

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