Q&A: Tiny Home Bylaw Issues

Q: Did you ever have trouble with zoning bylaws when you built the tiny house you’ve written about? I want to follow your plans, but the 550 square foot floor size is smaller than the 800 square foot minimum I hear about where I live. What should I do?

tiny_house_overallA:  The tiny home movement is gathering momentum across North America, and some governments are revising minimum dwelling sizes downwards accordingly. Some, but not all. You should start by finding out exactly what the current minimum size really is in your area. It might be smaller than you’ve heard. Another thing to consider is intended use of your place. If it’s a seasonal dwelling or sleeping bunky, municipal rules for floor area generally don’t apply. Another option is to apply for a variance. This is a special exception from a bylaw for a special case. Ultimately, each township decides on things like minimum dwelling sizes, and you might find the folks in charge quite a bit more flexible than the bylaws would lead you to believe.  Verandah area or deck space might also be considered part of the floor area of the house for planning purposes, too.

Lots of people who are interested in tiny homes are also interested in modern homesteading. Trouble is, it’s easy to make mistakes of philosophy when it comes to actually making homesteading work. The result? Disappointment and abandonment of the homesteading dream. Click my “Learn More” post below for an antidote to the usual problems of philosophy that homesteaders face.