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There’s a thing or two we can learn from our interstate neighbours, and one such thing is the dual key phenomenon.

While a dual key apartment - such as a serviced flat - is allowed up in the air in Victoria, there is nothing in the Victorian Planning Provisions which detail where and how a dual key development could occur on the ground. There are undoubtedly several examples of older style dual key homes dotting our neighbourhoods - but the concept seems to have drifted into antiquity.

Why should that happen? A dual key home provides accommodation for people wanting a roof over their heads and provides passive income for the owners who do not mind sharing a common entry. After all, that is what most people share in an apartment.

The closest to a dual key I've seen is the dependent person’s accommodation. But that's the catch - only a family member could reside in that accommodation.

Try developing a dual key development on a compact land - a tiny home to share with outsiders - and your local Victorian council will ask for more parking, more open space and the list goes on till it becomes impossible to develop a dual key home on a small block.

Both Queensland and NSW have no objection to dual key developments. It is definitely easing the rental shortage in those states. There are developers who do not or cannot bear the huge cost of to subdivide their home. They have invested in their home and want to enjoy a passive income, but councils are unsupportive of such a concept.

So what is the next step? Turn the home into a rooming house for say nine persons who are unrelated to each other, something council will not be able to stop! Or do what many do: rent out each room on a shared accommodation basis and forget providing more parking or more secluded open spaces. Is that what councils prefer compared to one family sharing their home with another in an orderly manner?

I have seen dual key homes from the 1970s where the neighbours did not feel they were be living in a slum type environment because the homeowner would vet and agree to sharing a home with someone who would maintain the harmony of the place.

 
  • Good point.

    This does seem to be an innovative housing solution in which delivers some of the benefits associated with shared housing whilst still delivering privacy and security to all participants.

    Where it works, it should be encouraged.

  • I used to share a house with one other – it was done through an agency and worked well for me at the time. As for the parking – I live in a medium density estate and next door is a multi-generational family – they all have cars, and work trucks – the garage has storage, the driveway takes two cars, the footpath (!) takes one and the street two. So it is not about rental at all!

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