The high demand for rental properties continues to exceed housing supply, forcing people to live in cars and caravans. Until recently, Australian law only allowed family and friends to live in a caravan on your property for up to four weeks when visiting. So what has changed, and how might this benefit individuals and families who are unable to secure a rental property?
How Queensland’s Fraser Coast is addressing housing insecurity
Housing insecurity is affecting more and more people and challenging our perception of what a homeless person looks like. In 2023, the person sitting next to you in a full-time job can find themselves unable to find permanent rental accommodation. Families, single parents, and older Australians are especially vulnerable.
Thankfully, some councils now realise they can temporarily change rules to assist in this crisis. Queensland’s Fraser Coast is leading the way. The rules around living in a backyard caravan for more than 30 days have changed as the Fraser Coast Regional Council attempts to address the ongoing rental crisis. It is now permissible to reside in a caravan on the property of a friend or family member for a period of six to twelve months.
The following requirements apply.
The owner of the property must notify the council within seven days of the caravan being placed on the block.
The permanent residence must be permanently occupied at the same time.
There must be the ability to dispose of any wastewater and sewage from the caravan.
The caravan must be no less than six metres from the front and three metres from any boundary.
The property owner cannot request payment or charge rent.
Living in a caravan in Sydney
After the bushfires in 2020, NSW legislation was amended to allow displaced people to live in caravans for up to 2 years. However, there is currently no legislation that directly addresses the rental crisis. For those looking to reside in a caravan, Sydney may have differing requirements depending on the council the caravan will be located in. For the most up to date advice, contact your local council to find out what is possible for you.
What to look for in a long-term residential caravan
When choosing caravans Sydney residents should consider the amenities necessary to make a long-term stay as comfortable as possible.
Caravans designed for long-term occupation should have internal ensuites with toilets and showers to feel like home and provide privacy.
The ability to safely store food and prepare meals is vital. Look for campers with a fridge/freezer and a gas hot water system for cooking and cleaning.
Comfort is non-negotiable with a long-term stay. Modern caravans offer incredible comfort and luxury. Choose from king or queen-sized beds and innerspring mattresses to ensure restful nights.
Create privacy and space with a full-sized water-resistant canvas annexe with vinyl walls and floors. Keep your personal and guest areas separate.
Look for a caravan equipped with air-conditioning to ensure comfort throughout the summer months in Sydney. Solar panels enable you to generate your own power to minimise imposing on your hosts. Television and LED lighting add to the overall comfort and appeal, providing an all-important feeling of home.
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Having all your precious personal items with you is essential, so adequate storage is necessary. Internal wardrobes and cupboards mean you can bring everything you need with you.