Dependent persons unit

This advice is intended to assist applicants submitting a planning application for a dependent persons unit.

If you are unsure if you need to submit an application for a planning permit, find out more about the planning permit application process.

What is a dependent persons unit?

A dependent person's unit (referred to as a DPU) is a form of accommodation used in rural and residential areas.

The Nillumbik Planning Scheme defines a DPU as:

  • "a moveable building on the same lot as an existing dwelling and used to provide accommodation for a person dependent on a resident of the existing dwelling"

The Nillumbik Planning Scheme defines a moveable building as:

  • "a structure, other than a tent, caravan or vehicle, which is designed to be moved from place to place on more than one occasion"

Application considerations

In most cases under the Nillumbik Planning Scheme, with the exception of the Rural Conservation and Green Wedge Zones, a planning permit may not be required for a DPU, provided it is the only DPU on the lot.

It is strongly recommended that you contact Council's Building Unit on 9433 3243 or your nominated building surveyor regarding the requirements for obtaining a building permit. A septic tank permit will also be required from Council's Public Health Unit if reticulated sewerage is not available to the proposed building.

Council may need to consider any potential tree or vegetation impacts to facilitate the siting of the DPU on the land. Due to the complexity of the vegetation removal controls within the Nillumbik Planning Scheme, it is imperative that you confirm permit and information requirements with Council's Planning Unit before commencing any vegetation removal, destruction, pruning or lopping.

Ongoing obligations

The owner may be requested to sign a statutory declaration declaring that:

  • The DPU will be removed from the lot within 3 months of it no longer being required for a dependent person
  • The DPU will be removed from the lot prior to the lot being sold

If the proposed building does not fit the above criteria, it may be regarded as a second dwelling on the lot, and in those circumstances either a planning permit will be required or it may be prohibited altogether.

More information

Checklist for planning assessment

Please check Council's other planning advice pages (and their checklists) for relevance to your proposal. If applicable, the information requirements outlined in that checklist should also be provided when lodging your application.

Application check lists


This advice is to be used as a general guide only. Council has made all reasonable effort to ensure the information is true and accurate. However, it is recommended that readers seek professional advice before acting or making decisions on the basis of this information. For any questions or clarification, please contact Council's Planning Services on 9433 3343.