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.
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!