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Meet the family of four who lived in a tiny house on wheels for two years


At the moment there is no uniform law when it comes to tiny houses in Australia.

Each state has different rules and many municipalities have their own guidelines that must be followed.

Some general rules by state are below:


A tiny house can be:

A- a small house of less than 50m2 built on the plot; or

B – a small residential house built on a trailer (similar to a caravan).

Since the tiny house is built on a trailer, it can be registered under the Road Traffic Act. Tiny homes can be designed and built using green principles and provide affordable housing while minimizing the urban footprint.

They appear in a variety of shapes and locations, such as granny flats (or secondary homes) to complement existing homes, groupings of homes in established urban areas, converted barns and beach shacks on larger, isolated properties and in mobile caravan sizes.

In most cases, if a tiny house is RMS registered as a trailer, no DA approval is required to put it in your backyard or on your property, if you meet certain exemptions.

In summary, NSW legislation may allow you to have no more than two caravans, motorhomes or tents if you plan on having someone in there for a short period of time (maximum 48 hours at a time) for no more than 60 days a year. will stay.

Or you may not have more than one caravan, motorhome or tent if you want someone to live in your household for a longer period of time, only if you already have an approved home on the plot. The tiny house must be kept in a safe and healthy condition.

Or you intend to use it on pastoral or agricultural land, as long as it is only seasonally occupied by persons engaged in pastoral or agricultural activities on the land.

Source: Council of Lake Macquarie


Options include:

1) Backyard setup

A tiny house on the same plot as a ‘main residence’ can be classified as a granny flat. Granny flats have their own rules for size and structure (set by the municipality).

While you must have a granny flat approved by a private certifier, you don’t necessarily need to get council approval, which is a huge benefit if you choose this option.

Be careful that the combined number of residents in the small house and the main house does not exceed the limits of the municipality. In Brisbane, for example, only five unrelated people are allowed to live on the same plot.

2) Set up on a vacant lot

If you build your tiny house on a vacant lot, your construction must be approved by the municipality. This means meeting building codes that apply to regular homes, including minimum dimensions, smoke alarm rules, plumbing and electrical standards, and more.

3) On wheels

Once your house has wheels it is no longer a ‘permanent construction’ and is instead classified as a caravan or light truck.

Wherever you are in Australia, you must comply with the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989.

In addition, you must comply with state laws regarding movable housing. In Queensland, these include the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 and the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995.

Source: Phoenix law


There are currently three main options in Victoria for finding a tiny home:

1) In a backyard as a ‘dependent person’. The unit, better known as a ‘grandma flat’, must be portable and provide real dependent housing.

2) As an approved second home on your lot. This option requires a building permit and compliance with Rescode and the building code. This option is difficult, if not impossible, to realize, as current planning policies refer to normal size dwellings rather than small houses and creating small lots would be equally arduous.

3) In a caravan park – caravan parks are rare in urban areas and often have no amenities.

Source: Hansen

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