Towards a better tinyhouse

Inventing to freedom?

Living in a tinyhouse but living in a room, wink wink

with 6 comments

I’m still uncertain about this option, because when I called the city they said that RVs are not allowed on city lots, but it says right there in the zoning bylaw that they are, specifically referencing RVs in the relevant residential zoning areas. I need to call them again, I guess, I was actually calling about something else at the time so I didn’t ask for refs.

Anyway, the theory is that you are not allowed to “live in” or “inhabit” a trailer that is parked on the property. So suppose you have a willing homeowner who is willing to go along here. You could say that you live in a room in the house, and that the tinyhouse is just your studio.

I would need to look in more detail into the details of the enforcement in a situation like this. What sort of proof does the city need to be allowed to conclude you live in the tinyhouse? Are they allowed to go into the main house and check to see there is a room there that you are apparently using? That seems like it would be pretty draconian, basically invading someone’s home for a search operation when none of the stuff involved here even falls under the criminal code.

In the US you guys have the, what is it, fourth amendment (okay that’s probably wrong), but here the government can actually do that sort of thing under some circumstances in canada. Even if they were allowed to, though, you could set up a room with a hammock and a dresser and just call it a day. The homeowner can still use the room for their purposes, and you can say that is where you sleep. Unless the bastards can come at night and find you committing the heinous crime of not sleeping in an approved location. I remember reading that inspections were limited to 9 am to 8 pm, though maybe that wouldn’t apply… have to check.

However a homeowner might be willing to go for this sort of thing, if I owned a house and was looking for some extra cash, I might try it. If worse comes to worse and it doesn’t work out you can clear out one of the rooms in your house and your renter could be actually living there while they find somewhere else (obviously tell them the whole story before they even come to view the place and be sure they are getting a fair price, considering these details), then after they move sell the tinyhouse. Sometimes there is no fine for the first time you break a zoning regulation. Actually, the law here says you can store 2 trailers on your property, so as long as the neighbors are not harmed by it….

As a tinyhouse owner looking for a place to put the tinyhouse, though, you’d have to check into all that stuff, get the court records out for similar cases and stuff and find out what the story is, I guess. Might be useable, might not. There are a lot of other variables too, and an extra one like the risk of political problems could be the log that breaks the camel’s back and makes it not worthwhile….

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Written by gregor

November 19, 2010 at 05:38

Posted in Uncategorized

6 Responses

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  1. You might have to pull out on short notice if neighbors turned you in…

    Finding a place to put one really is the biggest stumbling block for tiny houses. Looks of good designs out there, many people seem willing to build one, no storage of tiny appliances and other good solutions.

    ET

    November 19, 2010 at 17:18

    • Yeah, I totally agree with the second point, in fact I’ve said that a number of times myself (and in the note on the sidebar). I really wonder about the lack of posting and discussion on the topic. I was hoping the tinyhouse con would help. Personally a much higher fraction of my posts are on this subjects, but it is hard to write productively about.

      gregortheinventor

      November 19, 2010 at 20:51

    • Also, part of the point of this approach is that you are trying to set things up so they can’t make you leave. A neighbor can’t “turn you in” because they have no evidence that you are living in the house, unless they are a total creep and videotape you or something, in which case just block the windows on that side of the house.

      They complain, enforcement officer shows up, ask questions, you explain you live in the house, they leave. That’s hte idea anyway, the details might be a problem, which is what I said, but it might work.

      gregortheinventor

      November 20, 2010 at 02:01

  2. Hey, this is the first time I have visited your blog, and although you do seem to have alot of spelling errors (lol), it seems that this post is where I am at. The logistics of placing a tiny house has me stumped. I would like to be able to plunk it on a siblings country lot but with codes being what they are, I was thinking renting a “room” would be a way to get around it. I was not sure if it would work. My other thought was to plunk it on a recreational zoned property. I was not sure about codes on that though and not even sure how to find out info on that. As it is mobile would that be allowed. If so “living” in it fulltime, how would that work with zoning? Would some one have to report you in order for them to figure that out? Would you be able to build a cabin without electricity and live in it, or would you have to call town and let them know and get approval?
    Like I said I have no idea where to start with the questions. Maybe you have info for me, or can even let me know who to start with (position wise).
    Plus good to see you are in Canada!! So you would actually know more about our laws and such!

    Carol

    November 21, 2010 at 23:54

    • Yes, in fact I have a blog post that was, I hoped, going to help people figure out the issues involved int *their* area, entitled “Trying to figure out the political/legal issues relating to tinyhouses in your area”.

      I can of course only do so much, but it should get you started if you are totally adrift and uncertain where to start (as I was).

      Yes, about the spelling errors, I do most of my blogging on a netbook, with a subsize keyboard. I also refuse to fix errors. People often leave comments on blogs pointing out spelling errors, and I think that is a bit silly. I’m not going to take a whole minute to change a 1 character error when the meaning is perfectly clear. Write, share the info and move on the the next thing. That time is better spent in other ways.

      gregortheinventor

      November 22, 2010 at 23:59

    • Yes, in fact I have a blog post that was, I hoped, going to help people figure out the issues involved int *their* area, entitled “Trying to figure out the political/legal issues relating to tinyhouses in your area”.

      I can of course only do so much, but it should get you started if you are totally adrift and uncertain where to start (as I was).

      Yes, about the spelling errors, I do most of my blogging on a netbook, with a subsize keyboard. I also refuse to fix errors. People often leave comments on blogs pointing out spelling errors, and I think that is a bit silly. I’m not going to take a whole minute to change a 1 character error when the meaning is perfectly clear. Write, share the info and move on the the next thing. That time is better spent in other ways.

      gregortheinventor

      November 22, 2010 at 23:59


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