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Sydney council becomes aware of installation of caravan
on local property
A Sydney council became aware of home owners in the local area
who had converted an old caravan into a living area with a bedroom,
en-suite and kitchenette without a stove or other cooking
The caravan was registered with Roads and Maritime Services as a
caravan and had an attached vehicle identification number (VIN)
plate. It had been renovated off site and transported to the home
owner's property by a crane.
The caravan was connected to water, electricity and sewer and
had temporary supports to keep it in place. The daughter of the
home owners and her partner lived in the caravan.
Council inspects property and orders that caravan be
The council inspected the property and provided an order to the
home owners that they must remove the caravan because it was not a
caravan but a "structure" under the
Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (EPA Act),
and therefore required development consent and approval by the
The home owners decided to challenge the council's order in
the Land and Environment Court.
case a - The case for the home owners
case b - The case for the council
- The caravan is not a "structure" under the EPA Act,
it is a "movable dwelling" as defined by the Local
Government Act (LG Act) and therefore exempt from the need for
- To be a "moveable dwelling", the caravan must be on
land that we own, installed in connection with our dwelling-house,
used for human habitation only by us or members of our household,
and maintained in a safe and healthy condition. We satisfy each of
- Indeed, the fact that the caravan is a registered vehicle with
the Roads and Maritime Services supports our argument that the
caravan is not a permanent "structure".
- Council's order is invalid and should be revoked.
- The mobile structure cannot be described as a caravan or other
portable device because at the time it was brought to the site by
crane, or shortly afterwards, it was not used for human
- Further, in order to be used for human habitation the structure
must be capable of being a dwelling, but this structure cannot be a
dwelling because it does not have a stove or other cooking
- The mobile structure is therefore not a caravan or a moveable
dwelling; rather it falls within the definition of a
"structure" under section 4 of the EPA Act with the
consequence that council consent and approval are required.
- The order we have issued is valid and the mobile structure
should be removed.
So, which case won?
Cast your judgment below to find out
Vote case A – the case for the home owners
Environmental law, planning and protection
Stacks Law Firm
Vote case B – the case for the council
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