Small Second Home


Small Second Homes - Amendment VC253





Small Second Homes – Amendment VC253

The gazettal of Amendment VC253 on December 14 2023 means that for a ‘second small dwelling’, the planning approvals process has been streamlined in residential and rural zones.

Small Second Homes – Amendment VC253

Amendment VC253 is a direct result of Victoria’s much-publicised planning reforms set out in the State Government’s Housing Statement.

A second small dwelling has been defined as a building:

  • With a gross floor area of 60sqm or less
  • On a lot that has an existing residence
  • That must have a kitchen sink, food preparation facilities, a bathroom and toilet, and wash basin.

In all residential zones, a small second dwelling does not require a permit if all the following conditions are met:

  • Must be no more than one dwelling existing on the lot.
  • Must be the only small second dwelling on the lot.
  • Must not be connected to a reticulated natural gas supply – consistent with the State Government’s commitment to ban gas connections in new homes and government buildings from January 2024 as part of its plan to reach net zero emissions by 2045.

The second dwelling must not be subdivided from the main home and the minimum garden area still applies.

On lots less than 300sqm a permit is required for a small second dwelling, however, you can use the VicSmart process to fast-track applications if the development meets the requirements of Clause 54 which, for a VicSmart application, are mandatory.

Other notable changes for a small second dwelling include:

  • An exemption under the Heritage Overlay at Clause 43.01 if specified requirements are met.
  • An exemption from car parking requirements for a small second dwelling under Clause 52.06
  • New requirements at Clause 54.03-7 (building setback) and Clause 54.03-8 (safety and accessibility) which apply specifically to small second dwellings.

Overall, private open space requirements set out in Clause 54.05-2 are reduced for the primary residence if a small second dwelling is located on the lot, meaning that only the secluded private open space requirements apply.

Accordingly, whilst the primary dwelling should have secluded private open space comprising 25sqm and a minimum dimension of 3 metres at the side or rear of the dwelling with convenient access from a living room, the area of secluded private open space for the second small dwelling should comprise of 8sqm with a minimum dimension of 1.6 metres and convenient access from a living room.

When preparing new applications, any impacts on the second small dwelling on an adjoining lot also need to be considered alongside the primary residence.

These proposed changes seek to help alleviate the housing crisis and address housing affordability, with Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan expressly stating, ‘that there will be no restrictions on how a small second home can be used – they can be used flexibly, whether it’s keeping family members closer, providing temporary housing or being rented out for additional income.’

Whether this change will result in more housing for those who need it or free up the planning approvals process for more complex matters, remains to be seen, however, it is a step in the right direction and provides a clear path for those seeking to construct a small second dwelling.