The Red Tape Laws Turning Tiny House Living From a Dream to a Nightmare

You may have seen in recent news articles that the Small-home dream can become a nightmare of red tape due to building codes and laws. We are hearing this increasingly from those who have chosen the tiny house lifestyle. 

During a time in which house prices are soaring, many are turning to small prefab homes as a more affordable option. However rules and regulations surrounding the builds are often confusing and cater to those who live in more typical large dwellings. 

The Australian Tiny House Association understands how difficult it can be to navigate these seemingly unnecessary legislations and is working to find a national approach that overcomes the regulatory hurdles preventing Australian’s from living in moveable Tiny Houses. 

We know all too well the struggles those who choose the Tiny House lifestyle have to go through. We spoke to David & Katrin in Queensland who explained the hurdles they encountered and ultimately their decision to leave their Tiny Home. 

“When we started this journey we thought one of the biggest hurdles was finding a place to rent and we were prepared that it would take some effort to get a tiny house approved by the council. However Initial information found online on the council website were very grey so we decided to wade through the red tape while we were living in the tiny house.

By the time we moved into our tiny home the council was notified of the tiny house by disgruntled  neighbour/s and a show cause notice was issued to the owners of the property.

The show cause notice required the tiny house to be converted to a permanent dwelling with permits, fire certification, town planning approval, plumbing approval and a bunch of other items to be changed to meet the NCC2019 Building Code of Australia DTS requirements. Total cost of items to be changed / permits to be applied for was easily $30k+.

We engaged a building certifier and were advised that they could do the certification after the $30k of work was done, however there may be an issue with the property title as we are not directly related to the owners of the property thus the property title may have to be split to allow 2 separate families to live on the same property or if this was not done then the tiny house may be legally the property of the land owners. The land owners became very hostile towards us.

In the beginning the land owners started out being pleasant however the relationship quickly deteriorated after the council was notified (which was the first week we moved in).

After receiving the fire report which stated we were too close to bushland and would have to change decking and other wooden parts of the tiny house to be compliant we decided this was not a viable financial decision as we did not even get the guarantee from the council that our efforts would lead to us being allowed there.

The tiny house living itself was a good experience however the red tape and the uneasiness with the landowners after the struggle to be compliant was very painful and ultimately led us back to living in a rental property in the city.”

ATHA will continue to find a national approach that overcomes the regulatory hurdles preventing Australian’s from living in Tiny Houses on Wheels and Skids. We do this through consultation within the Tiny House sector and also all levels of Government. Working tirelessly to bring people choice where eco-friendly and sustainable living is not just a dream, but a reality. To support this end ATHA is in the process of developing a Tiny House Champion campaign for launch in the last quarter 2021. Keep abreast of how you can help advocate for change on the ATHA website. 

Share This Post