Tiny Houses on Wheels are usually considered as Caravans by local governments due to their mobile nature. They are commonly faced with local law restrictions on the period of time a person can ‘live’ in a caravan. The development of local laws governing ‘camping’ or living in a ‘caravan’ is different. As examples local laws may: stipulate the requirement to obtain a permit for occupation for a limited period, where the applicant may be able to apply for an extension; allow living in a caravan where there is no commercial or financial interest; restrict occupation to only 30 or 60 days in a year.
In addition, if there is a neighbour ‘complaint’ the occupant of the tiny house may be asked to either remedy the situation or remove the tiny house within a short timeframe. This lack of security for permanent dwelling is proving a significant barrier to the uptake of the tiny house living.
Local councils with tiny house policies and regulations
There are a small but growing number of LGA’s that are developing tiny house specific policies that support full time living in Tiny Houses (on Wheels and Skids). ATHA are cautiously optimistic that this number will grow as more councils realise the potential of Tiny Houses to be a sustainable housing option and help remedy the housing crisis. Our Planning Policy Template is a useful resource for planners to reference when drafting their own Tiny House Policies.
The Shire of Esperance is a trail blazer, developing the first local planning policy specifically for tiny houses in Australia in 2022.
On the 6th of September, 2023 the Council endorsed the adoption of the Shire’s first ‘Tiny Houses Policy’. This is an innovative policy that will allow residents within the Shire to build alternative housing and short-stay accommodation under certain regulations.
Tuesday 19 December 2023, Council endorsed for public comment two crucial policies aimed at enhancing sustainable development and promoting responsible housing options within the Shire of Ravensthorpe: the Draft Chalet Policy and the Draft Tiny House Policy.
Meanwhile in Victoria, the Surf Coast Shire Council has approved a 2 year trial of tiny houses on wheels occupation.
As of June 22, 2023, permits will not be required for a THOW or caravan on private properties that have an existing dwelling on them.