Moveable Dwellings

What is a moveable dwelling?

Moveable dwellings are quickly becoming a new, alternate and affordable accommodation option for weekenders, secondary dwellings and downsizers.

Under the Local Government Act, moveable dwelling means—

  1. any tent, or any caravan or other van or other portable device (whether on wheels or not), used for human habitation, or
  2. a manufactured home, or
  3. any conveyance, structure or thing of a class or description prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this definition.

Is Council approval required for a moveable dwelling?

Council requires a Development Application and potentially other related applications to assess and approve any proposal for a fixed moveable dwelling. A fixed moveable dwelling is one connected to services and / or has footings, verandas or similar.

Approval is also required to install a manufactured home, moveable dwelling or associated structure under Section 68 of the Local Government Act 1993. However, approval is not required for the installation of the following moveable dwellings on land other than land in caravan parks or camping grounds:

(a)  2 caravans or tents if they are not occupied for—

(i)  more than 2 consecutive days, and

(ii)  more than 60 days in a 12 month period,

(b)  1 caravan on land occupied by the owner of the caravan in connection with the owner’s dwelling house if the caravan is—

(i)  used for habitation only by the owner or members of the owner’s household, and

(ii)  maintained in a safe and healthy condition,

(c)  a caravan on pastoral or agricultural land if the caravan is merely occupied seasonally by persons employed in pastoral or agricultural operations on the land, or

(d)  a moveable dwelling or associated structure on land to accommodate a person who has been displaced as a result of a natural disaster if the moveable dwelling or associated structure is—

(i)  maintained in a safe and healthy condition, and

(ii)  removed within—

(A)  2 years after it is installed, or

(B)  if the relevant local approvals policy for the moveable dwelling or associated structure specifies a longer period—the longer period.

Relevant Legislation

The installation and use of a moveable dwelling is conditional on the requirements of both the NSW Government and Upper Hunter Shire Council’s local planning controls.

For further information regarding this particular type of residential development, you can refer to Council’s key planning documents:

·       Upper Hunter Local Environmental Plan 2013, and

·       Upper Hunter Development Control Plan 2023.

In addition to these documents, the following NSW Government legislation is relevant to moveable dwellings:

·       Local Government (Manufactured Home Estates, Caravan Parks, Camping Grounds and Moveable Dwellings) Regulation 2021, and

·       Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979


caravan means a moveable dwelling that is designed so as to be capable of being registered (within the meaning of the Road Transport Act 2013) as a trailer, but does not include a camper trailer.

manufactured home means a self-contained dwelling (that is, a dwelling that includes at least one kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living area and that also includes toilet and laundry facilities), being a dwelling:

(a)  that comprises one or more major sections, and

(b)  that is not a motor vehicle, trailer or other registrable vehicle within the meaning of the  Road Transport Act 2013,

and includes any associated structures that form part of the dwelling.

secondary dwelling means a self-contained dwelling that—

(a)  is established in conjunction with another dwelling (the principal dwelling), and

(b)  is on the same lot of land as the principal dwelling, and

(c)  is located within, or is attached to, or is separate from, the principal dwelling.