Tiny homes are becoming more and more popular, whether that be as a way of making extra rental income, an extra house for family, or as a replacement for weather damaged houses. They seem really simple to set up on your property and need little prep work- but is that right?
Tiny homes can be great as they are often sold at a fixed price, can made off site and easily moved to your property. There is a common misconception however that tiny homes don’t require Council consents and in many cases they do. In this blog we have a look at the planning and resource consent side, but building consent could also be required.
Tiny homes in Auckland
In Auckland, development must comply with the Auckland Unitary Plan, or a resource consent is required. Tiny homes meet the definitions in the Unitary Plan of a “building” and a “dwelling“. As a result, tiny homes are required to meet the relevant zone rules, Auckland- wide rules (such as earthworks restrictions etc), and overlays rules.
A tiny home must comply with zoning rules and standards or obtain a resource consent. For example, zone rules control the number of dwellings that are permitted on a site. In many locations in Auckland, more than one dwelling is permitted but you do need to check. In some cases, you may also be successful in seeking a resource consent for more dwellings- you should discuss this with your planner. In addition, zone standards are also applicable. This includes requirements relating to:
· Maximum building height;
· Height in relation to boundary plane;
· Setbacks from boundaries (“yards”);
· Maximum impervious areas;
· Maximum building coverage;
· Minimum landscaped area;
· Minimum outlook space;
· Minimum outdoor living space;
· Controls related to front, side and rear fences and walls.
A tiny home should comply with the maximum height for the zone (as they are usually only one storey, possibly split level). However, where you place it could mean you infringe some of the other zone standards. Some of the standards are also about ensuring a minimum level of amenity for future occupants, such as outlook space and outdoor living areas. This will help make it a nice place to live, for yourselves, future tenants or your family.
You also need to consider what’s on your site already- for example if a lot of your site is already covered in impermeable surfaces, adding a tiny home could mean you trigger a resource consent requirement.
Your property may also be subject to Overlays which are identified in the Auckland Unitary Plan maps. You can find out more about Overlays here. Overlays protect specific features in a specific area, such as an important landscape, a significant area of vegetation or important trees. A tiny home may trigger the need for a resource consent for:
A new dwelling within the Outstanding Natural Landscapes Overlay, High Natural Character Overlay or Outstanding Natural Character Overlay;
Being located in a Significant Natural Area Overlay;
Removing vegetation or undertaking earthworks in a Significant Natural Area Overlay or within the Notable Tree Overlay.
If your site is located within an Overlay in the Auckland Unitary Plan, you should discuss this with your planner.
Most development requires some form of earthworks. With tiny homes the earthworks area and volumes are generally low, but this can quickly increase where you need to construct access, install services etc, especially on a rural or lifestyle site.
The area and volume of earthworks that you can complete without resource consent varies depending on the zone your sites located in, the features of the site and any Overlays present. You can discuss these requirements with your planner.
What about other Unitary Plan requirements?
There are other requirements of the Auckland Unitary Plan that are relevant, such as:
Vegetation removal and/ or damage. This includes protection of vegetation in the road reserve- this could require removal to get the tiny home onto the property (and it is often protected),
Requirements related to new crossings, access gradients and widths, parking,
Works on land subject to natural hazards, such as land instability or flooding.
Your planner can assist you in identifying potential resource consent triggers for your development.
Are there other restrictions?
You should also check that building consent isn’t required- this can easily be triggered if you propose bathrooms, kitchens etc, or by specific site features.
You must also check your Record of Title- this can contain consent notice conditions or land covenants that may be relevant.
Do I have to get a resource consent?
In many cases, you can design your development to comply with Auckland Unitary Plan rules and standards and remove the need for a resource consent. There are quite a few planning provisions to comply with though, and we suggest you discuss this with your planner. Your planner can discuss your project, and suggest ways to improve the outcome and remove the need for resource consent.
Unless the tiny home is replacing a legally established dwelling, you will be required to pay development contributions. This is a one- off contribution charged by Auckland Council for infrastructure and services, including:
transport, footpaths, roads and intersections,
parks, park facilities and sports grounds,
drainage systems and stormwater mitigation,
You can calculate an estimate of these here.
It may all sound a bit confusing, but it doesn’t need to be! Knowing what to look at and where to find the information is what we do- if you need assistance get in contact. We can manage the entire resource consent process for you.
In many cases, a tiny home can be a great way of managing your building costs while still establishing an additional income stream on your land. You just need to do it right! Remember that if your tiny home isn’t legally established, this has implications on whether you can legally rent it out or not. The Council can also take enforcement action against you.
If you want to discuss your development, get in contact with us. Our experienced team of planners provide specialist advice, will identify risks and opportunities and will make the resource consent process easier for you. You can contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or (09) 427 9966.
Mary Zhou is a Planner at Planning Plus®. Mary has been part of the Planning Plus team since 2021 and has a real passion and drive for all things planning. Mary has experience with a variety of projects including rural and urban land use, subdivision and feasibility analysis.
As with all our blogs this information is preliminary in nature only and we have endeavoured to ensure it is correct at the time of writing. It is not intended to substitute for your own investigations or obtaining specific advice on your proposal from professionals. Planning Plus LtdTM is not liable in any way for any errors or omissions.
© Planning Plus Ltd 2023