Caravans fall foul of law
CARAVANS could provide temporary living spaces for homeless people, but the law doesn’t allow it, Tasmanian mayors say.
A homeless Tasmanian woman living in a caravan at a private property was allegedly told to move on from her temporary living arrangement on a private Huon Valley property.
Under the State Government Building Act (2016) a person, without the consent of the relevant general manager, must not inhabit a building that is not built as a dwelling for a cumulative period that exceeds 30 days.
Huon Valley Council general manager Emilio Reale said the council was made aware of an incident where a landlady called for the eviction of a homeless person who was living in a caravan at private property with the consent of the tenants.
The Huon Valley Council also has a by-law, enacted in 2017, preventing anyone from sleeping in a caravan “unless in a designated area and a relevant fee is paid”.
But Huon Valley Mayor Bec Enders said, while pointing to the state’s current homelessness crisis, that the by-law “will be discussed”.
“Council is in a position that if it doesn’t follow a line of regulatory path in the law, you’ll get into trouble,” she said.
Derwent Valley Mayor Ben Shaw said unused caravans could provide perfect accommodation options for homeless Tasmanians.
“Imagine how many people have caravans in their backyards,” Cr Shaw said.
“I think we should be looking at relaxing these laws and by-laws given the current homelessness crisis affecting our state.”
Cr Enders said she was looking forward to working with the Hobart City Council at the Homelessness Forum in Hobart next Thursday on developing a collaborative approach to tackling the issue.