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Council crack down on moveable dwellings

October 27, 2023 5:56 am in by

Bega Valley Shire Council is reminding the community to do their due diligence after seeing an increase in unapproved moveable units popping up around the shire.

Council’s Director of Community, Environment and Planning, Emily Harrison said the community is getting caught out by unscrupulous marketing.

“We’ve seen a number of manufacturers stating their moveable units don’t need Council approval, or that they are ‘caravans’ or ‘manufactured houses’, but they don’t meet the legislated definitions,” Ms Harrison said.

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“This means we’re unable to approve them.

“In NSW, you can have a caravan alongside your house without needing Council approval if it’s for use by a member of your household or is used for no more than two nights in a row and no more than 60 days in a year. However, some manufacturers are selling moveable units as ‘caravans’ which don’t meet the requirements of a caravan – these units are not exempt and do need Council approval.

“Unfortunately, we’ve heard of multiple people who’ve been caught out by the marketing spiel on a manufacturer’s website or social media posts including local community buy, swap and sell pages.

“My advice to anyone looking to buy a moveable unit, including if you’re told it meets the definition of a ‘caravan’, is to check with Council before you buy. Otherwise, you might end up paying a lot of money for a unit you can’t use.

“If it doesn’t look like a caravan, it probably isn’t one.”

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When Council becomes aware of an unapproved dwelling, it is obligated to investigate and will work with the owners to either seek approval for the structure or ensure the structure is not habited.

“We know we are in the midst of a housing crisis, but we can’t have people living in unsafe conditions. Our compliance staff work with property owners to either ensure they apply for the relevant approvals, or if that’s not possible, to ensure people are not living in unapproved units.

“We also need to ensure that any water and sewer connections are adequate and approved, and the fire risk has been considered.

“Separately, we are advocating to the state government for changes to the legislation to better support crisis housing and provide better certainty for the community.”

If you are considering purchasing a moveable or transportable unit, even if it is marketed as a ‘caravan’, email [email protected] to seek advice on whether the particular unit meets the legislated requirements.

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Image: Bega Valley Shire Council

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