Think Tiny, Live Big in Red Hill

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Housing affordability has become a hot topic in Australia right now; and whilst the government thinks of better solutions, some Australians have taken matters into their own hands, specifically in the suburb of Red Hill where a cry for tiny house living has been heard…and granted.

Photo credit: University of Queensland

Neatly tucked away in a garden, Andrew Carter and his partner, Lara Nobel along with their six-month-old baby live in a tiny sanctuary. They are also the directors of the Tiny House Company. The hard-won contentment on the couple’s faces is not hard to miss. The current state of affairs is something they are proud of. Just last year, the couple had a run-in with the Brisbane City Council.


A Little Run-in

Their home, measuring 2.5m x 7.5m and 4.5m in height, built on a trailer, had gotten a complaint from a neighbour, which the council quickly addressed in 2016. According to the council, their home falls under the classification class 1A structure due to its appearance, which also means that the couple must adhere to the building code of Australia.

Photo credit: University of Queensland

Mr Carter and Ms Nobel had three options: apply for a building permit, leave the premises, or file an appeal.

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The couple chose to file an appeal to the Queensland Building and Development Dispute Resolution Committee with the help of ESC consulting, and they won. They argued that the tiny house the couple lives in was a registered movable dwelling and shouldn’t be regulated by the Building Act. It should be treated like caravans.

Councillor Jonathan Sri seems to agree with the concept of tiny house saying that tiny houses have a lesser impact compared to the growing number of high-rise apartment developments being submitted to the council today.


Big Plans

Learning from the experience, the couple, now dedicated to promoting tiny house living in Australia, teamed up with builder Greg Thornton and started The Tiny House Company.

They are not the first ones to implement such movement. Tiny Houses Australia was established five years ago by Melbourne-based couple Darren Hughes and Lisa Adams. Today, their Facebook page has garnered 44,000 followers, of which 28,000 are Australians. Their page aims to support aspiring tiny home builders, owners, even associated businesses that support tiny house living.

According to Mr Hughes’ estimate, there are about over 1000 tiny homes being built in the country as more and more people come to the realization that having a home with five bedrooms and several other rooms aren’t really needed to make someone happy.

For now, while the government and other residents slowly accept the concept of tiny house living, tiny home owners continue to live their chosen way of living while they await better national guidelines from the government.