Small Second Homes 

The Victorian Government has made it easier to build a small second home in residential and rural areas across Victoria – giving families more housing choice and boosting housing supply.

To make it easier to build a small second home, otherwise known as a small second dwelling, the Victoria Planning Provisions, all planning schemes and the Building Regulations have changed. These changes occurred on 14 December 2023. 

What is a small second dwelling?

The Building Regulations 2018 state that:

A small second dwelling or home is a Class 1a building that is self-contained and has a gross floor area that is equal to or less than 60 m2 on the same allotment as an existing building. The existing building must be a single Class 1a building that is not a small second dwelling.

Do I need a permit?

Yes, in most cases, a small second dwelling will not require a planning permit; however, a building permit is always required.

What does a small second dwelling have?

Some of the key features of a small second home include:

  • Floor area equal to or less than 60 square metres
  • Sited on the same lot as an existing dwelling
  • One small second dwelling per lot, however there may be more than one and this would be subject to a planning permit
  • Is self-contained, i.e. has a kitchen, bathroom, toilet and laundry facilities
  • No car parking required
  • Anyone can live in it or rent it out
  • Cannot be subdivided from the primary dwelling
  • Cannot be connected to reticulated gas
  • Meets siting requirements, including minimum garden area
  • Can be attached, detached or a conversion
  • Must have an access path from the front street
  • Will need to comply with other relevant applicable requirements such as construction in  bushfire and flood affected areas

All relevant National Construction Code requirements that typically apply to a new Class 1a main dwelling also apply to a small second dwelling.

To support these changes, an updated Minister’s Guideline (MG-12): Siting and Design of Single Dwellings was published on the VBA website on 14 December 2023.

For more information, including an applicant's guide and details about the planning and building framework, visit the Department of Transport & Planning's website.

Frequently asked questions

Please visit to read frequently asked questions about:

  • the Small Second Dwellings Building Amendment;
  • living in a small second dwelling;
  • siting and development;
  • dependent person’s units; 
  • agreements and covenants;
  • associated structures; 
  • fences and solar panels; 
  • development contributions;
  • requirements under planning overlays; and
  • other local matters.