Make some space, it is now much easier than ever to build a granny flat in your backyard. In November, the Victorian Government announced planning permits would no longer be required for second dwellings under 60 square metres on properties 300 square metres or larger - where there are no flooding or environmental overlays. The changes were made in an effort to tackle the housing crisis. These smaller dwellings are often called granny flats, bungalows or tiny homes - getting the name "granny flat" from when people would build them as independent but nearby homes for their older parents. Ballarat Real Estate general manager Allister Morrison said there was potential for more granny flats to be built in Ballarat and it would help ease some rental pressure. Mr Morrison said there are not many granny flats in Ballarat at the moment. "I would say it's a handful of situations where properties do have a secondary residence, but separate that can be leased out separately," he said. "Certainly there's lots of potential for lots of properties to have a granny flat." Granny flats rent for around the same as a townhouse, about $300 and upwards per week. The vacancy rate in Ballarat for rentals sits at just under one percent - 0.8 per cent to be precise - according to CoreLogic's latest figures. The median weekly rent in Central Ballarat is $390, according to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria, with rent continuing to increase. Mr Morrison said having people keen to build a granny flat might "alleviate some of the significant demand" in the rental space. But a concern Mr Morrison had was construction costs. "The cost of building is significant at the moment, so whether the cost for return equation works out ok will be a factor," he said. "There is also supply constraints, if there are many builders able to do this." But a secondary dwelling to rent might already appeal to people looking for another income stream with "an income producing property to help pay down the mortgage," Mr Morrison said. City of Ballarat development and growth director Natalie Robertson said the council was waiting for further details. "This change has not yet been gazetted and therefore we don't have full details of the exemption to fully understand the implications it may have for Ballarat," she said. "While a planning permit may no longer be required for some of these secondary dwellings on a lot once gazetted, a building permit would still be required. "A building permit requires consideration for how the dwelling would be connected to services, as would be required for any other dwelling under the Building Act." Second homes will also still need to meet setbacks and siting requirements. While the City of Ballarat's planning permits cannot be filtered through smaller backyard dwellings, in the 2022-2023 financial year, the council approved 254 permits for 142 dwellings including alterations to dwellings, extensions, multi-dwellings, one or more new dwellings or single dwellings. Small second homes in unsewered areas will also be subject to the same requirements as all other dwellings, so they must be able to treat and retain all wastewater on-site to safeguard drinking water. This must be done in accordance with the requirements of the Environment Protection Regulations under the Environment Protection Act 2017. The reforms will be implemented through changes to the planning and building systems, with a comprehensive information pack available for applicants and assessors.