As houses and land have become more expensive around the world many people despair of ever owning “a home of ones own”. A huge movement has taken a hold around the globe of “little house aficionados”. The idea of owning a property with no utility bills, no mortgage, and a far smaller outlay or footprint than was otherwise thought has caught the imagination of a whole swathe of people. America, Australia, and New Zealand appear to be leading the way forward and only in very recent times has this movement become apparent in other parts of the world. Many people began to realise that eco homes were admirable for many reasons, not least that they would drastically reduce ones carbon footprint and also the fact that they may make it possible for many who thought home ownership an impossible dream to actually get onto the property ladder.
Searching the Internet I was surprised that very few builders and companies in the UK appear to have little interest in this area of house/home building. These tiny homes are often DIY ventures and only few people have shown any interest in this growing phenomenon enough to make it a viable business. I feel that in particular this could be an answer to the growing homelessness crisis and also an affordable alternative to the many families struggling to get onto the property ladder.
Tiny houses vary greatly in size and in particular whether they are static or built on a moveable trailer make a great deal of difference in the housing/planning rules. In the UK static tiny homes can be built in the backyard providing they are less that 4.0 metres tall with a dual pitched roof and at least 2.5 metres from a neighbours boundary or 3.0 metres from a right of way or roadway. This is often possible with little or no planning permission. They may not be built in a front garden. Tiny houses on trailers may not be above 4 metres tall and 8.5 feet wide but static homes can be much wider in the UK. The length can be variable. Planning permission obviously varies from area to area but this overall advice is a good starting point for anyone interested in this method of building a home. In America a tiny house is considered to be under 40 sq feet in size and the philosophy of small simple living and downsizing and living with less is now a great social movement and travelling quickly to all areas of the world. In the UK as yet these ideals have yet to be memorialised in any planning or building regulations.
Mains drainage and main electricity can be provided but usually only with planning consent. Many tiny home owners opt for solar panels, and heating and cooking and hot water via propane gas cylinders meaning that no utility bills, nor planning permission at all are payable. Composting toilets are also an alternative to mains drainage and this particular part of housing provision is a growing market. It is thought that eventually the governments will catch up with this movement and start to charge some form of rates or taxes, which at present are not payable by the homeowners.
For some interesting reading, inspiration and Internet browsing see: