Tiny homes on wheels could be the future, with caravan park site rental as low as $100 per week.
Caravans don’t need building consent, and generate virtually no compliance costs with detachable links to holiday park plumbing and power.
Spring Creek Holiday Park near Blenheim had their first application for an ‘eco-cottage’ on wheels, with the manufacturer winning assurance from the Marlborough District Council that no consents were required to park it permanently at a plumbed and wired site.
With the usual detachable power and sewerage links, no extra costs were involved. If the cottage owner wanted to make a more permanent connection, a registered plumber or drainlayer had to do the work.
When 76-year-old Dennis Greer sought permission from the Marlborough District Council last week to site his 25-square metre house on wheels at the holiday park, he was told he would need various consents including stormwater discharge and it was likely to cost him more than $5000 in compliance costs.
The manufacturer of Greer’s tiny home, Colin Wightman of Christchurch, went into bat for Greer and pointed out to the council officials the home was, in fact, a caravan.
“That cleared the way,” Wightman said. “Caravans don’t need any building consents. This is a caravan, effectively. The power, water and septic are all detachable fittings, like a caravan,” Wightman said.
He said Greer had the option of more permanent plumbing, and would need a drainlayer for that. Provided the caravan park itself passed its sewerage inspections, Greer’s tiny home would be legal in the eyes of local authorities.
“This is the way of the future,” Wightman said of his $54,000 tiny homes.
“We can’t keep up with demand. It’s a logical solution for the housing crisis. Trailer parks are huge in the United States where it’s an accepted part of their culture. We’re making them for caravan parks all across the South Island because they’re perfectly geared for that setting.”
“Caravans have no building code, and you’d freeze your arse off in most of them, they’re just a tin box even the $100,000 ones.
“We’re setting the standard for these homes, with full insulation including under-floor, double glazing, proper headroom and liveable width inside … the demand is coming from Airbnb, farm cottages, granny flats as well as holiday parks. With combined power and gas it’s possible to go off-the-grid in them,” Wightman said.
Spring Creek Holiday Park manager Andy Collingwood said Greer’s tiny house was the first they had considered at the popular camping ground.
“We have around 70 sites and about 40 of them have long-term residents in caravans – people staying six weeks or more. There’s a lack of accommodation in the area and we’re fairly strict about who stays. A lot are contract workers and they need written work references, even the self-employed contractors,” Collingwood said.
“We have a good bunch here. In Mr Greer’s case, he can choose how he links to the sewerage and power, and would come under the campground’s compliance. Anything else he needs from the council is his business.”
Collingwood said the rates were $100 per week plus power for a long-term stay, and $35 per night short term.
The Marlborough District Council building control group manager Bill East said “the Tiny House (vehicle) fits into the activity that does not require a building consent”.
“Any resulting effect (if any) on the existing effluent system will be an issue for the property owner to address,” East said.