What do you need to know before choosing a tiny house? 6 points that should not be overlooked.

Small in appearance, but big in comfort, tiny houses really have nothing to envy with traditional homes. Moreover, until recently unknown to the general public, they are now on the rise in France. Something to give you the desire to take the plunge too. However, building or buying a small ecological wooden house cannot be improvised. Here’s everything you need to know before embarking on this amazing adventure!

What is the Alur Law?

For a long time, the tiny house, just like the caravan or the yurt, was compared to a caravan. But since 2014, it is now better regulated thanks to the Alur Act (Act for Access to Housing and Renovated Urban Planning). The tiny house is now considered a permanent residence and is recognized as an alternative, ecological and autonomous way of life.

But that’s not all, the Alur law also simplifies access to pellet zones, that is, zones that are not allowed to build on, but that access is authorized for a removable and mobile habitat as is the case of the tiny house. Finally, it also determines the construction limits that must be respected in order not to have to destroy the dwelling if it does not comply (height, width, length, weight, etc.).

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Tiny house on wheels: which dimensions respect?

The following regulations only apply to mobile tiny houses, which are considered trailers, and not to fixed wooden tiny houses.

  • length : the tiny house must not be taller than 2.55 meters, or a maximum of 3 meters provided that all your trips are declared to the prefecture of your department as an “exceptional convoy” (but this request can be refused).
  • Length : It depends on the vehicle the tiny house is towed with. In all cases, the trailer may not be longer than 12 meters (excluding vehicle and coupling). All inclusive (car and tow), maximum length is 18 meters.
  • Height : there are no rules to follow, but it is advisable not to exceed 4.30 meters in order to be able to transport your house on wheels without problems with obstacles (such as bridges for example).
  • Weight : It all depends on the driver’s license you have. For a total weight (trailer and car) of 3,500 kg, the B driving license is sufficient. For a weight between 3,500 and 4,250 kg the same, but then you have to follow an extra 7 hours training called “code b96”. A BE permit (also known as a trailer permit) is required for a total of more than 4,250 kg. Finally, if your trailer alone weighs more than 3,500 kg, you will need the C1E driving license (ie the heavy vehicle driving license with trailer).

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Tiny house fixed: which surface to respect?

It’s very simple: if your tiny house does less than 20 m² of surface area on the ground, a provisional work declaration at the town hall is sufficient. However, if it is larger (usually it is not called a tiny house, but a chalet or wooden house), you must apply for a building permit. The construction of this file (which is mainly done by an architect) is approximately 50 €HT/m².

Main or second residence?

Before building or buying a tiny house, it is necessary to know the applicable regulations regarding your project. For this it must be determined whether it is a main or second residence. Let’s start with the simplest option: temporary housing. Please note that the law limits your stay to: three months in the year† In addition, you can settle on private property, ie your land, that of an acquaintance or a relative.

If you meet this regulation, you do not need prior permission, but if you want to stay longer or even have your main residence, you must file a work declaration with the town hall. Keep in mind that your land must be connected to the water, sanitation and electricity distribution network. It is then necessary to go to the town hall to obtain the permit. In addition, the Alur law gives the authority to the town hall to accept or reject your construction and installation.

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Do I have to take out insurance?

The question does not arise, because in France it is obliged to insure her little house† However, the insurance depends on your type of accommodation. If it is a mobile mini-home, it is compulsorily linked to the insurance of your towing vehicle (as with a caravan). On the contrary, if it is a permanent tiny house, you have to take out traditional home insurance, like for any accommodation.

What Alternatives to the Tiny House?

Please note that the tiny house is not suitable for everyone. If you want alternative, ecological and autonomous housing, with less restrictions in terms of size and weight, you can go for garden workshops, wooden houses in ready-made or self-build packages, container houses or sheds. Today you are spoiled for choice and the good news is that it is hard to do better value for your money

Photo: Jed Owen/Unsplash

There you have it, you hold all the cards to launch you serenely into your construction or installation project. Make it a great adventure! And to go further, discover our special Tiny House map.

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