We have seen some creative options explored in order for people to get into the housing market after house prices have grown increasingly out of reach for many.  One option that we have seen becoming increasingly popular is purchasing a Tiny Home.

In order to make a Tiny Home work for you, there are a few legal factors to consider prior to placing one on a relative’s backyard as follows: 

1.    The first step is to consider where you want to place the Tiny Home.  Do you intend to place it there permanently, or will it be temporary?

2.    If you have a section of land in mind, you should investigate the restrictions placed on the land.  Each regional council is required to keep and maintain a District Plan.  The District Plan will include, by way of an example, height restrictions and maximum site coverage for each lot of land.  These restrictions will differ depending on the zoning of the property (i.e. residential/rural), and the district that the land is located within.  Depending on the restrictions, a resource consent may be required in order for you to place the Tiny Home on the land.

3.    The location of the Tiny Home on the section, the shape, size, and height, whether it has wheels, what facilities are contained within the Tiny Home, and what utilities will be used by the Tiny Home are all factors that will help to inform whether a building consent will be required.  Each Council could have different requirements, so it will be important to consult with your relevant Council to ensure you are aware of your obligations. 

4.    Lastly, you should consider whether you have a legal right to use the land that you want to place the Tiny Home on.  A lease, licence or subdivision of the land may be appropriate so that you can have confidence that you and your Tiny Home will not be evicted any time soon. 

If you are buying a Tiny Home, it pays to make sure you are aware of your legal obligations.  If you are unsure of your obligations, obtain advice from your trusted legal advisor.