Posts Tagged With: Ontario Building Code

Ontario Tiny House Legalization…

Update: Monday May 16, 2016

I am sorry to say that the tip that came to me about the Municipality of Highlands East was not correct.  I don’t think that the tipper meant any malice but they were simply misinformed and I passed on this misinformation to you.  I am very sorry about this.

I know it must have been a sad disappointment for at least one of the people who read it, because Dan wrote to the the Municipality of Highlands East and here is the note that he got back.

“Our zoning by-law has not changed and the minimum size of a dwelling is 65 square meters or 700 square feet.”

I am sorry Dan and others who hoped to make this community their home.




There are two bits of news that I find promising when it comes to the legality of tiny houses in Ontario.

1. Garden Suites

2. UPDATE: the Municipality of Highlands East has lowered its footprint size to 500 feet.  Which is a perfectly reasonable house size and right sized for a lot of people.  (News of this came to me on November 19, 2015)  One tiny step forward!


Tiny house hopeful Anthony shared a bunch of research that he has been doing in his area.  He discovered that Garden Suites are allowed to be built in the area outlined in black in the below map of Ontario.

Each of these areas has rules unique to its own area.  But essentially what holds true to all of them is that if you can get someone to agree to allow you on their land, if you hook up your services to the main house and if you pay a nice hefty fee, you can park a tiny house in these areas. Yes I said PARK!  These buildings must be supplementary and they must be mobile.

With this said, please before you jump check the specific area, there are a lot of restrictions and you will need to know these.  You can’t fill too much of the green space in a lot for example and wouldn’t it be a pity to build a house 1 square foot too big after paying for all the hookups.

Also doing this will NOT be cheap.  These houses MUST be hooked in on the existing infrastructure.  No off grid toilets, there must be running water and electricity.  In other words, if you are considering building you have to add all of these infrastructural costs to your build. Further to this, you better have a LONG term lease with the land owner, even if this is someone you trust.  Once you spend the money for hooking your house to sewage, water and electricity you want to be sure that a fight over a cup of sugar won’t find you and your house without a place to live.

I want to note that while I am excited about the potential of this, there is a lot of leg work and money to make this happen.

If you decide to go ahead with doing this, please do so with your building inspector as well as a lawyer to draw up a lease agreement.  Remember I know something about tiny houses, but I  am not willing to take any responsibility if you fail to do your own homework for your own house.  I can’t possibly know all the individual codes for every township.


Garden Suites



The second point, and this is REALLY great news, just last night I heard from a counsellor from a very nice area in Ontario.  This person said that they are considering removing the minimum house size in the area that they are representing.   I sent back SO much information that they will have to spend quite some time reading the information I sent.  This said, it is totally worth my time to donate my time to this cause, because I want to ensure that tiny and small sustainable homes are available to anyone who wants to live this lifestyle.

When I know more, I will certainly share more.

We are getting closer every single day folks!

Categories: Building code, Community, Environmentalism, Ontario, Rules, Sustainable living, Tiny house, Tiny House Ontario, View | Tags: , , , , , | 38 Comments

The Trees: Speaking to the Issue

My friend Colleen and I were chatting this morning, as we do from time to time.  Our chats are filled with banter about animal ethics, environmental issues, and we also very often speak about the problematic ways in which human beings behave.  There is often an emphasis on sheeplism and our frustrations in dealing with this.

During our banter, she mentioned a song called The Trees which is both written and performed by the iconic Canadian rock band Rush.  Since I have always been about as far away from the mainstream as possible, I had never heard this song.  My loss.  It is really great; meaningful on a lot of levels.

The way that this song connected to something that has been on my mind for the last bit was timely.  For the last few days I have been thinking a lot about the rules.  Not the dating book series, but the rules of society.  These rules, while put in place for the good of the whole, lost sight of a lot of things that are perfectly sensible.  Specifically, I am speaking about Tiny Houses and the Bylaws that prohibit people from making choices that are better for the land, environment, mental health and in a million and one ways are greater than any McMansion can ever possibly be.

I have for three days had the story on my mind about the fellow who bought some acres in the US and whose neighbour harassed him from the day that he moved there.  The story* messed up on so many levels, sort of Deliverance meets the Tiny House movement.  The post is interesting but here is my synopsis of it this Deliverance story, the blogger bought land and put a tiny house on it.  He hoped to live there for two years but made it only 5 months, in the time that he lived there he was constantly harassed and subjected to all sort of crazy from a weirdo next door (my words, not his).

The question is, who would you rather have for a neighbour?  A quiet person whose house is so small that you can’t see it and who leaves the land as natural as it was when the planet formed, or a lout who blares his music, lets his kid, big scary dogs and insanity into your life every day just because you happen to live next door?  You guessed it, the lout called the government and they are making him remove his Tiny House from his land.  It seems wrong that an innocuous Tiny House can be considered wrong in anyone’s mind.

I am of the opinion that the legality of Tiny Houses should not be questioned.  This should not be an issue.  If indeed laws are put in place to protect people then who exactly is this law protecting?  Why would anyone think that a Tiny House is dangerous?

Is this because refusing to participate in a consumer lifestyle is not acceptable and therefore a crime?

Here are the wonderful lyrics to the song that I think speaks to this issue.

“The Trees”

There is unrest in the forest
There is trouble with the trees
For the maples want more sunlight
And the oaks ignore their pleas
The trouble with the maples
(And they’re quite convinced they’re right)
They say the oaks are just too lofty
And they grab up all the light
But the oaks can’t help their feelings
If they like the way they’re made
And they wonder why the maples
Can’t be happy in their shade
There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the maples scream ‘Oppression!’
And the oaks just shake their heads
So the maples formed a union
And demanded equal rights
‘The oaks are just too greedy
We will make them give us light’
Now there’s no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe and saw
Categories: Art, Environmentalism, Forest, Materialism, Money, Off Grid, Ontario, Open your eyes, Sustainable living, Tiny House Ontario | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

Building Code Ontario and Tiny House Ontario

OK you caught me, I am an artist and writer and some things simply don’t interest me that much, or hardly at all.  Also I like to think outside of the box, which is probably what lead me to the Tiny House Movement to begin with.

For example, my take on it is that the Ontario Building Code, is not very different from any other rule book.  Kinda boring.  Started originally with good intentions, like keeping people from burning to death, then it got signed on to by ever more groups, added onto over and over and over. Intuitiveness and sensible stuff gets shoved aside somewhere along the line and this rule book becomes as stagnant as the water in an old tire.  Inevitably, to make any changes to this or any other rule book you have to fight like a warrior and often times with no hope.

If you clicked on the OBC link above, or if you are one of those sorts who read the rules, then you will know that the OBC book is absolutely HUGE.  I have not read it.  GASP!  What I have done is that I have consulted with a few builder friends and relatives because chatting and planning are more fun and interesting for me.  I let the people in the know tell me what I need to.

There were some steadfast things that I learned, by osmosis and through these chats, and when I was pretty sure I knew what I was talking about was pretty firm, then I called the Township office and spoke to the building inspector in February of 2011.  I fortunately reached this inspector directly.  I gave the inspector my address and name and began to speak.

I told the inspector that I don’t live close and that I wanted to build a 108 foot structure (on my land) for me and my dogs to stay in when I visited home.  I also said that I might want to use this when and if I eventually build a home there.  I was told that I can do that.

I then told the inspector that I wanted to do it in straw bale and the inspector said that 108 square feet is the maximum for the exterior measure (new news), so if I build with straw I would have only about 40 square feet left on the inside.  I asked the inspector if there were any exceptions, I was told no exceptions.  This is when I knew that I would have to use 2×4’s so that I would have some interior space.  Oh well.

I told the inspector that I was planning on building a place which was insulated, 15 feet high and with lots of windows.  The inspector said that the details like this do not matter as long as it is up to code in terms of safety and that it could not be over 15.5 feet.  Good to know.

Thus Tiny House Ontario is a stick built house on a cement pad with a sort of verbal clearance from the inspector there.  As far as I know this inspector has not been in but the Road’s inspector has been in and seen Tiny House Ontario because this inspector has to approve (hopefully next time around) my damn culvert.  Two unsuccessful visits to date.  UGH!

A recent query on here makes me worried that someone in a government suit will pull in to my land and insist that I tear down Tiny House Ontario.  I truly hope that this is not the case.  With nothing in writing I guess you are always vulnerable.  Still I think that I did everything that I am supposed to.

Categories: Building code, Environmentalism, Materialism, Rules, Sustainable living, Tiny house, Tiny House Ontario | Tags: | 69 Comments