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MBIE Determination, what is a tiny house?


You may or may not be aware that there is currently a grey area around whether a tiny house is considered a vehicle or a structure. Currently every district council is required to interpret and enforce the Building Code 2004, this opens it up for differences in interpretation between local authorities.

A very talented Canterbury resident Allan Dall, built his own tiny house and is currently in a legal battle with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). His local Hurunui District Council determined his Tiny house was a structure. To which Allan didn't agree (neither do we) and engaged MBIE to review the councils ruling. Surprisingly MBIE confirmed Allans Tiny House was a structure and not a vehicle and would therefore need to comply with the Building Code. Here is a link to Allans story recently on 7 Sharp.

Alan Dall's DIY build Tiny House

The following comment made by the New Zealand Tiny House Association (NZTHA) highlights why Allan and his supporters think there has been a miss-justice. "The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) was incorrect in their conclusion in the determination on Alan Dall’s tiny house for a number of reasons. This determination misinterprets the definition of a vehicle, it ignores the regulations that state, to be considered a building, a vehicle must be BOTH immovable AND occupied on a permanent or long-term basis, and the assessor only offered precedence from determinations that concluded vehicles were buildings, offering little evidence of robust comparative consideration. Determinations like this, that misinterpret or evade current pieces of regulation or information, present unjust issues for this innovative housing alternative." - NZTHA

Allan is taking up the fight to overturn this decision which ultimately will have a huge affect on the tiny house industry/movement. If you would like to join us to support Allans fight please consider donating to his give a little page set up to cover the legal costs associated with this important case.

It isn't all doom and gloom, there is lots of positive things happening in the tiny house industry. Other councils are seeking out tiny house builders to collaborate on projects to address the housing crisis in their area. On a national level there have been recent discussions in Parliament. MP Garth Hughes questioned the Minister of Building and Construction, Jenny Salesa. One of his questions was do you think there is a role for innovative, sustainable solutions such as tiny houses to address housing shortages in New Zealand and better use of available land. Her reply was; yes I agree there is a role for innovative, sustainable solutions such as tiny houses in addressing the supply of houses in New Zealand. Here is a link to the full discussion posted to Facebook recently.

We'll be keeping a close eye on Alans case as it goes through the courts so subscribe to our newsletter below to keep up to date.


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