Looking for a Housing Solution : building a Tiny Home

Peterson CEO Kerris Browne sees this company’s purpose as “sawmilling solutions”.

So when it’s election time here in New Zealand, and people are talking about “Housing, Education, Health”, Kerris and Chris Browne look for solutions.

Tiny homes, a “solution” for downturn in construction and accommodation availability

It’s election time and the talk is, “housing, education, health”. We want a housing solution, because the lack of adequate housing is affecting  People We Know.

ONE LITTLE STEP towards a Housing Solution.

TradeMe looks like there are lots of houses! It’s a lie. Many are actually ALREADY RENTED. They keep them up there, to look like they have lots of listings. Same with window listings. Two huge windows of ‘for rent’, where only TWO out of 35 that don’t have “rented” already across them. Many are falsely represented – a tiny study that you can’t open the door to get to a single bed, is part of a ‘3 bedroom’ house. Lock up garage is a tiny garden shed. Damp, mould, cat urine, torn curtains, holey walls, and stained carpets. No wonder families are choosing to live in their own cars instead!!

Our own bookabach properties are starting to fill up with bookings, and that pays my mortgage which long-term rentals would not. So this poor family we have been hosting, simply does not have anywhere to go….

SO. Chris and I have been busy working on an alternative.

I am proud to present the TINY HOUSE option.

I’ve worked very hard to find the right builder, and get a plan that includes 3 bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom, and washing machine, in a 3m x 8m shell. Brand new, fully insulated, even with a dishwasher! On wheels so you don’t have to go down the building code route. I’ve had to apply for Resource Consent ($585) and the Permit to connect the Sewer ($420). Water and electricity off our house, right there in the back yard that we never use. Build a nice covered/walled deck out front for extra living space. A temporary option, a small option, but a warm, clean, cheap one!

This family can rent it at a cheaper rate for a year or two, allowing them to save up for a deposit to BUY THEIR OWN HOME.

This option is costing us about $100,000 all kitted out, which the bank has just approved. The family’s rent is paying it off for me. After they have moved, I can shift it to another paddock, put it on solar, and chuck it on Air B&B for more income. Win-win.
Keep watch for hurdles and updates…


3/8 Update. Council said I needed Resource Consent due to a 2nd dwelling on the same section, which is basically for them to check its not too close to the fence, will block sunlight to the neighbours, has parking space and won’t spill onto the street etc etc. I prepared this myself by ticking a few boxes and drawing a hand-layout of the space behind my house. Also included in a normal RC is the requirement to pay 5% land use fee of the land value that it is going on (or on a minimum 450m2). This means I may also have to pay up to $5000 on $100,000 section!! So I’ve included a letter asking to waive this fee since it’s only a temporary siting for 12-18 months, and then it will be moved to another section. Presented and paid $585 for the RC application fee.

9/8 Early in the piece, my builder let me know that his trailers are removable. IE the house is built with its own floor to be fully insulated, so in fact you could lift the house off onto blocks…which could save us $10,000! He’d come back and resite it for me in a year or two for around 1K. We were very keen to do that.
So I’ve made contact with an environment guy who knows all about Tiny Houses. He said the minute I take the house off the wheels, its a ‘building’. Which would never get a permit (eg living spaces too small, walls too thin, no anchor piles rah rah). So looks like it’s back to the included trailer. Bah!

11/8 We considered composting toilets (lack of dumping area) and incinerating toilet (won’t keep up with a family of 6), and a sink hole for the kitchen grey water. But we then learned that if you live where there is a sewer line, you MUST connect to it. You can’t just ‘dump’ or ‘drain’ in town where there is the sewer facility already there. Then Council said I needed a Building Permit just for the sewer connection. My plumber has now arrived and scribbled some deets, so I will draw it out later today. RLC said I had to book an inspector when I present it, so they can pick up any problems from the get-go.
14/8 Building permit for the sewer connection lodged (I had to meet with an Inspector to check my drawings were ok, and yep, basic line drawings are fine!)

15/8 Final quote received from Tiny House builders (including trailer now). Paid $30k deposit.

21/8 A couple RDC inspectors showed up and had a quick look at the back yard, asked what was going there, ate some of our almonds on the ground, and said sweet-as. Not sure if that was regarding the Tiny House or the almonds…

29/8 Received some pics of the Tiny House trailer and main steel framing progress. Since this is the first 3-bedroom Tiny House either of us have seen in NZ, there has been some challenges. I re-designed the two loft rooms to be side-by-side, with the kitchen at the other end instead, and the main door opening out the kitchen and over the trailer hitch. We’ll build an enclosed deck here, giving more outdoor flow and living space. The family’s large fridge can also sit on the deck, meaning we only need a small bar fridge inside the Tiny House, allowing more kitchen bench room.

30/8 Letter arrived approving Resource Consent, with the resource land use fee waived on the condition the Tiny House would be removed within 18 months. Yusss.

4/9 RDC rang advising the building permit for the sewer was approved. Tick.

Now for this stoopid rain to stop so we can start laying pipes and assembling a deck!!


Himanshu Parmar Now that’s finding a solution.

Kathy Wilson-Warbrick Whoo hoo Kerris and Chris, congratulations on producing a solution. You guys certainly never just give lip service to problems, you are the movers and shakers in the world that we all need more of.

Chris Browne If this works well here. ..why can’t it be possible in all the other places where accommodation is hard to get aye. Better yet. ..government. ..LOOK AN IDEA THAT IS AFFORDABLE

Sandra Webb Great solution and yes the Government could easily find solutions like this instead of wasting millions of taxpayers money by putting people in a hotel at $1400 a week just to leave people in the same situation a week later. It’s crazy. And two months is not that unusual to be looking , some have been struggling to find something six to eight months later. It’s terrible. Well done you guys.

Sharyn Cottle Something needs to be done but its the people buying up all the properties and putting them on book a batch and air b and b to make more money are contributing to the problem stripping the rental market of good properties for desperate families.

Kerris Browne Updates above.

Kerris Browne tinyhousebuilders.co.nz

Sandra Webb Can I suggest to your followers on this page that the process of putting a small cabin onto either your own property or a rental is not as expensive as you may think, will provide short term accommodation in a much needed market and would substantiallySee more

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