Second small dwelling

Small second dwelling

A small second dwelling is a building with a gross floor area of 60 square metres or less, on the same lot as an existing dwelling, and used as a self-contained residence.

The small second dwelling must include:

  • a kitchen sink
  • food preparation facilities
  • a bath or shower, and
  • a toilet and wash basin.

Planning Scheme Amendment VC253 was approved by the Minister for Planning on 14 December 2023.

The amendment to the Planning Scheme simplifies, and in some cases exempts, the requirement to obtain a Planning Permit to construct a small second dwelling on land where there is already a lawful dwelling.

Small second dwelling brochure(PDF, 417KB)

Do I need a planning permit?

Most small second dwellings will not require a planning permit, however some small second dwellings will require a planning permit because of the zone or overlays that apply to the land.

The requirements for a small second dwelling on a lot vary from zone to zone. To find out which zones and overlays apply to the land, you can obtain a planning property report from Land Victoria.

For example:

In the General Residential Zone, a planning permit is not required for the use and development of a small second dwelling on a lot size greater than 300 square metres when:

  • there is no more than one (1) existing dwelling on the lot
  • there will be only one (1) small second dwelling on the lot, and
  • reticulated natural gas must not be supplied to the building, or part of a building, used for the small second dwelling.

If the three requirements listed above are not met, the use of the land for a small second dwelling is prohibited.

If the lot size is below 300 square metres, a planning permit is always required for a small second dwelling.

In addition, a small second dwelling must comply with any restrictions on the certificate of title for the land, such as Section 173 Agreements, Restrictive Covenants or building envelopes.

A Certificate of Title can be obtained from LANDATA website (fees apply). You can also ask a professional title searcher, conveyancer or solicitor to get you a copy.

It is advised that you submit a request for Written Planning Advice to Council (fees apply) to confirm the zoning of the land and any overlays that may apply, and whether a permit is required for the use and development of a small second dwelling (including any design parameters). Obtaining a written response from Council will also allow you to progress smoothly to the required building permit stage.

Do I need a building permit?

Yes. A building permit is always required to construct a small second dwelling. A building permit is issued under the Building Act 1993. Building permits are documents certifying that a proposed building complies with the relevant building regulations. A building permit will specify that either an occupancy permit or a certificate of final inspection is required on completion of the building work.

Further Information can be found on the Victorian Building Authority (VBA) website - see the Small Second Homes and Planning and Building Permits sections.

Can I subdivide land to create a separate title for a small second dwelling?

No. You cannot obtain a permit which would create a separate lot for the small second dwelling. The second dwelling must always be on the same lot as the existing dwelling.

For more information visit the Department of Transport and Planning (DTP) website.