Practical help to understand
Tiny Houses &
Current NZ Legislation
Tiny Houses vs Current Legislation
Unfortunately legislation around Tiny Homes in New Zealand is still a grey area. Currently 99% of our clients do not engage with Council and do not have any issues. It is important to remain disconnectable eg. using a caravan plug for power, where you could un-hook and leave the site without engaging an electrician or plumber to disconnect services. Your deck should not be connected to the house and your trailer should remain in working order, we recommend keeping it warranted and registered.
There have been some cases in NZ involving Councils issuing notices to fix to tiny house owners, with different outcomes. In recent case in North Canterbury - Alan Dall vs MBIE, a 3m wide Tiny Home, built on a NZTA registered trailer, parked on land owned by Mr Dall, was ruled to be a ‘Vehicle’. This is great news for us and the industry and proves that the way we read the current legislation is the way the Judge interpreted it also. Exemptions to the building Act being introduced in August 2020, means a single-storey detached building up to 30 square metres, such as sleep-out, or shed will now not require a council-approved building consent. However, this doesn’t include bathrooms and kitchens. If you were wanting to build a sleep-out or shed with these, you would still need to apply for council-approved building consent. Applying for consent can become rather costly for tiny house owners especially if they are only leasing the land.
Currently the New Zealand Tiny House Association (which we are a founding member) have been working on a bill for the medium-long term dwelling in tiny houses on wheels. As of June 2020 the bill drafting instructions are being finalised by the Association before being submitted to parliament to be formally drafted. To simplify the bill, it is proposing a simple permit system for tiny houses on wheels. More information is available for Association members on their website www.nztha.org.