New Fraser Coast local laws that will allow property owners or occupiers to let family or friends live in a caravan in their backyard for up to six months in a 12-month period will be operational within weeks.
“These changes will allow people to provide free temporary accommodation to family and friends who cannot find rental accommodation,” said Fraser Coast Regional Councillor, Jade Wellings.
“There is a critical shortage of rental accommodation across the country, and this is one way Council can help.
“While housing is primarily a State Government responsibility, our community is looking to us as local leaders to do something in this space.
“This proposal certainly won’t be a silver bullet, but it may help take some pressure off and help people to take care of their loved ones in their time of need,” she said.
The amendments include regulations to safeguard the amenity of neighbours, such as that the caravan is only for temporary use as a place of residence, and it is not to be used for more than six months in a 12-month period.
Residents will have to complete a registration form to ensure they comply with the local law regulations and to alert Council that a caravan has been placed on a block.
The new requirements do not override existing regulations which allow residents to let friends and family visiting on holidays to stay for four weeks in a caravan in their backyard.
“These changes are aimed at helping people who are homeless and do change regulations governing holiday makers,” Cr Wellings said.
Other requirements of the new local law include that the permanent residence on the property also must be permanently occupied at the same time.
There are also provisions in the local laws to ensure that greywater and sanitation are managed.
Property owners cannot charge rent or ask for payment under the new laws.
There are also set back provisions that apply.
“We made the change to let our community help out family and friends in their time of need, while they are in-between more permanent accommodation,” Cr Wellings said.
The arrangement will last until 31 December 2027 and then revert to the previous version of the local laws, unless extended, or repealed earlier. Any extension or proposal to repeal will also require community feedback, Council confirmed
The changes to Fraser Coast Regional Council’s Local Laws come after community consultation and feedback and consultation with the Queensland Government.
The process also included assessing the proposed changes against the National Competition Policy Guidelines on anti-competitive provisions in local laws and consultation with multiple government departments.
“Since this was first discussed at Council early last year, there has been a lot of feedback and support from residents which helped shape the draft changes, while a Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre petition supporting the changes gathered more than 5,000 signatures,” Cr Wellings said.
“We anticipate that we can have the changes gazetted by next Friday so the new local laws and subordinate local laws will come into effect then.”