Can a Grouped Dwelling Unit be Split Into Two and Rented Separately? No!

A recent decision in the Perth Magistrates Court has confirmed that if planning approval has been granted for seven grouped dwellings that an owner is not able to split any of the grouped dwellings into two without first obtaining planning approval.

In the case decided in October, an owner either constructed or knew of the construction of a partition in a corridor which separated the single grouped dwelling into two. Each of those dwellings was then separately rented out via residential tenancy agreements.

The Court found that Planning Approval was required for that development and convicted (after a trial) both the Company and the Sole Director of failing to obtain Planning Approval prior to carrying out development.

Fines and costs were significant with the Convicted Company having to pay a total of $63,755 and the Sole Director having to pay a total of $37,805.


It is important to realise that –

  • Planning Approvals are legal documents and compliance with them is very important. If you wish to vary the development actually carried out from the development approved, you must seek planning approval first to avoid a potential criminal conviction.
  • In Criminal matters, such as development without a prior development approval, both companies and their Directors can be charged and found guilty.

The matter is currently the subject of an appeal.

The information published in this paper is of a general nature and should not be construed as legal advice. Whilst we aim to provide timely, relevant and accurate information, the law may change and circumstances may differ. You should not therefore act in reliance on it without first obtaining specific legal advice.