The Tiny House, for a more sober habitat?

The Tiny house was born in the United States, which is why the English term tends to impose itself, it means micro-house. Many questions arise around these small homes: who are they intended for? How much do they cost? Where can they be installed? And what is their legal status?

Origin of the tiny house

The Tiny House movement or micro-houses movement therefore originated across the Atlantic. Faced with the increasingly large areas of housing in the United States, and the correlated increase in construction prices, a trend of residential decline emerged in the early 2000s to take the opposite view. of this escalation started at the end of the 1970s. Buildings of more modest dimensions have emerged, passing below the threshold of 100m² and even descending to less than 37m² from 2002. That year, Jay Shafer built a tiny house of 9m² on wheels, perfectly well designed and thought out: with the plans that it makes available on the internet, it is so successful that it will launch the tiny house construction business because not everyone is not an expert handyman!

Current events and the economic situation also played a role in the flourishing development of the movement: on the one hand, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 had caused so much damage that the priority was to rehouse people, and on the other hand, the financial crisis 2008 was devastating for the real estate industry. As a result, the tiny house, cheaper than a traditional house and more ecological, stood out as an alternative that should not be overlooked.

In France, the Tiny House movement only appeared in 2014 when the legislator took an interest in it.

The regulation of the tiny house

The tiny house offers an area of ​​10 to 45m², removable without anything irremovable, on foundation or on wheels. In the latter case, in order to be towed, its weight must not exceed 3.5 tonnes, and its dimensions must be limited to 2.55m wide and 4.30m high. And in practice, in order not to be considered as an exceptional convoy, the length does not exceed 6.5m.

It must be connected to the local sanitation network or have its own phyto-purification system, which can generate a sanitation tax despite everything. The owner may also be required to pay the tax on household waste.

The property tax is not due but a tax on mobile homes is required each year, in the order of 150 €, if it is the main residence, otherwise, only the development tax will be payable. pay during the prior declaration of work.

Indeed, the tiny house must be the subject of a prior declaration of work (beyond 20m², a building permit will even be required) if you wish to install it permanently, that is to say more than 3 months, on a field. This is where the trouble can start but if you stay parked for less than 3 months you won’t have any problems.

The ALUR law relating to access to housing and renovated town planning of March 26, 2014, allowed alternative habitats known as light habitats such as the tiny house but also the yurt or the trailer, to obtain legal existence. These installations could then be placed on private land since the PLU (local urban plan) authorized it while being able, in addition, to determine “pellet” zones allowing the installation of so-called light habitat in natural or agricultural zones. (not constructible).

Backpedaling in 2019 with article 14 of the “engagement and mobility” law which will allow mayors to authorize or not the parking of these small houses, even if it means using their extended police powers to impose fines of up to 500 euros per day against people living on their own private land, in these residences considered permanent when they stay for more than 3 months.

A disturbing habitat

The price of a tiny house varies between 15,000 and 80,000 € depending on whether or not it is self-built, with many of them around € 50,000, but the price is not necessarily what explains that a couple or that a small family turns to this form of habitat because generally, the profile corresponds more to people having made higher studies leading them to management positions: in a trivial way, one could speak of “sores”.

People who decide to live in a tiny house do so by choice motivated by a desire to live more in accordance with their values: sobriety (less material goods …), ecology (wooden construction, dry toilets, solar panels …) , freedom (less constraints than a house, possibility of moving…), etc. This is to their credit at this time when overconsumption is no longer popular, the sprawl of urbanization and the concreteization of agricultural land are frowned upon, waste is banned, environmental concern becomes a priority.

However, it seems that the administration is still a train of delay: admittedly, the tiny house escapes property taxes but by not providing legal support as it should to these light habitats which, far from becoming the majority, deserve to be considered. with their strengths since they are most certainly “laboratories” for designing the habitat of tomorrow.

(photo credit: Think Out Loud – CC BY-NC 2.0)

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