Streamlining the process for small second homes

Tiny homes and other small second homes will be easier to build through the Victorian Housing Statement, but further detail is awaited to implement the change. Picture: ON FILE

By Callum Ludwig

As part of last month’s Victorian Housing Statement, the Victorian Government has scrapped the requirement for planning permits to build small second homes, be they small second dwellings, tiny homes or dependent person’s units (DPU).

The rollout of the change is unclear as of yet, with uncertainty on how this will be implemented. Yarra Ranges Council released a statement on 25 September welcoming any more information.

‘Council is still reviewing the changes made by the State Government last week in relation to the Victorian Housing Statement,’ it reads.

‘Until the changes to the planning controls come through from the State, the current planning controls apply, particularly for Dependent Persons Units.’

On properties larger than 300 square metres with an existing dwelling, self-contained small second homes up to 60 square metres in size will now require a building permit instead of a planning permit.

A Department of Transport and Planning (DOTP) spokesperson said small second homes on the same property have become increasingly popular and provide a diverse housing option.

“They can give families the space to grow together, provide additional rental choice, or give people somewhere to stay when they visit for the weekend,” they said.

“The bold reforms recently announced in the Housing Statement will clear the backlog of approvals and make it easier and faster to build the 800,000 new homes this state needs over the next decade.”

A planning permit may still be required if there are applicable planning controls that affect it, such as the existence of an overlay and, particularly in the Yarra Ranges, residing within green wedge land.

Also, the use of the term DPU for land use is being removed from the Victorian Planning Provisions and will fall under all small second homes going forward. All existing DPUs will remain lawful.

“Initially, through our reforms, small second homes that meet conditions such as being 60 square metres or less will not require a planning permit, making it easier to build a second home on your property,” the DOTP spokesperson said.

“Further details on changes will be released in later 2023.”

Implementing the reforms is set to result in legislative changes to the Victorian Planning Provisions and Building Regulations 2018, which are expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

Once the reforms are implemented, the DOTP will publish comprehensive guidance for councils, builders and residents.

The Victorian Housing Statement is also set to provide more permit exemptions for single dwellings such as for extensions to sheds and carports, introduce new ‘Deemed to Comply’ residential standards to focus councils on aspects of permits that aren’t up to standard and speed up the process for single dwellings to get planning permits,

Single dwellings on properties larger than 300 metres and not covered by an overlay won’t require a planning permit and those on lots smaller than 300 square metres with no overlays will be ticked off within 10 days.