The tiny house movement

As housing prices continue to soar, many people are increasingly considering whether to buy a tiny home to live in or as a holiday home.

The tiny house movement has been around for some time now, but despite its growing popularity, legislation is yet to catch up. This has left many confused about what’s legal, and what’s not.

If you’re interested in joining the tiny home movement, here are a few things you need to consider before buying.

Why people buy tiny homes 

  • The price factor – tiny homes vary in price according to the design and materials. DIY kits can start from $10,000 to $20,000 for a simple design, while custom builds can be closer to $200,000.
  • Environmental factors – if the idea of living simply and reducing your environmental footprint appeals, a tiny home could work for you. You may even consider living off grid (with a rainwater tank, solar panels and a compost toilet, for example).
  • Reduced expenses – living in a tiny home reduces running costs for things like water and electricity. Handy in this day and age.
  • Flexibility – tiny homes offer a different way of living, with the freedom to relocate in future (if your tiny house is on wheels).
  • For investment purposes – some people rent out their tiny houses to generate additional income streams.

What are the regulations?

Things can get a bit murky when you dive into the regulations around tiny houses. The rules vary depending on location, and many councils don’t even have clear tiny house regulations, making it tricky for aspiring tiny homeowners.

There are two types of tiny homes – those on a foundation, and those on a trailer on wheels.

Tiny houses on a foundation are considered fixed dwellings and are usually treated like any other building, in the sense that you need council approval and building permits.

To get around these requirements, many people keep their tiny homes on wheels. Councils often apply the same rules to tiny houses as they do to caravans. The trailers that tiny houses are constructed on also need to comply with certain standards.

In most states, there are limitations on how long you can permanently live in tiny homes on private land. Some councils are relaxing these rules.

Bottom line: Contact your state/territory government and local council before buying a tiny house to see what the latest regulations are that apply to you. You’ll also need to look into the maximum size limits of your tiny home.

You can find more information, including local laws and state regulations, on the Australian Tiny House Association website.

What about finance?

If you opt for a tiny home on wheels (and it’s legally classified as a caravan), applying for a home loan won’t work. But that doesn’t mean your tiny home dream is dead in the water.

We may be able to line you up with a personal loan, for example, or in some instances, you may be able to use your existing equity to fund the build. Speak to us and we’ll run you through your finance options.

If you need finance to purchase land to park your tiny home on, or for the vehicle to tow it, we can also help with that.

If you’re interested in joining the tiny home movement, get in touch and let’s put the wheels in motion.

All information is intended to be a guide only and should not be considered legal advice, it’s always best to contact your state and local councils before purchasing a tiny house.