Tiny Houses are now undeniably a viable solution as a housing option and they’re here to stay. People are demanding them and companies are supplying them, but councils, who are responsible for planning legislation, are often not quite there yet.
The Australian Tiny House Association (ATHA) says many councils are stretched to their limits with Covid issues, budget constraints and a lack of resources and quality research to deal with this new housing model. This all creates an environment of confusion and hesitation to take action.
But they have a solution: “After many hundreds of hours, we have assembled a policy template as a guide for government agencies, which develops a framework and a consistent approach to the assessment of tiny houses under a planning system,” says ATHA president, Kim Connolly. “The outcome would be to lessen the confusion, and create intentional, actionable steps for councils so the community has confidence that they are actively providing a solution.”
ATHA members, who are structural engineers, town planners, tiny house builders and dwellers, have worked together to create the Tiny House Policy Template for all of Australia. It is designed to be used by local government planning and building officers to support the legal approval of tiny houses in their local area. There is a keen focus on safety and compliance.
“Now, more than ever, tiny houses provide a home for young couples entering the housing market; people downsizing; older, single women with superannuation funds too small to buy an average sized house; grown up children moving home because of Covid 19 issues; transient professionals such as travelling nurses or teachers; emergency accommodation due to fires or domestic violence; people looking for a sustainable, low-impact lifestyle and anyone needing secure, affordable housing,” Kim says.
“Because of Coronavirus, the average Australian is in need of diversifying their income streams. A tiny house in their backyard not only creates affordable housing for the tiny homeowner but also brings much-needed financial help to the mortgage owner while limiting urban sprawl.
“Tiny house sales are increasing because they are so badly needed at this moment in time. They are not a fad, they are an answer and we are helping councils to fast track the approval process and get people housed.”