Can a tiny house on wheels (THOW) be registered as a caravan in Australia?

It’s a good idea to aim for making a tiny house on wheels (caravan) that meets road registration status for three main reasons:

  • Insurance companies will insure registered vehicles (THOW) but they will not insure vehicles that are un-able to be registered. If you are looking to purchase a tiny house on wheels from a builder, a finance company will require the tiny house to be registrable as a caravan before approving a loan.
  • If you ever choose to sell your tiny house on wheels (THOW), a potential tiny house buyer is going to trust a registered tiny house vehicle more than a vehicle that is unable to be registered. So if your life circumstances change, or you want to sell your tiny house at any stage to get your financial investment out of your tiny house, making the tiny house registrable will future-proof it.
  • In the event of being confronted by council with a tiny house on private property, having a tiny house that is a registered vehicle puts you in the strongest position for negotiations. This is because local councils control the existence and use of buildings on private property, making sure they adhere to the state’s planning scheme. If the council representative recognises your tiny house on wheels as a building or dwelling by how it is being used, they may try to apply all sorts of building permit applications, development applications, soil testing, etc to your tiny house on wheels. However, if you have a registration for your vehicle, you are in the strongest position for maintaining the status of the tiny house as a vehicle, and therefore the laws surrounding ‘buildings’ fall away. The tiny house will, however, be subject to laws surrounding camping on private property which is different in different states and local councils. For more information about Council Regulations for tiny houses on wheels in your area, see our table of information here