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Tiny House: Tips for building permits
Tiny House: Tips for building permits
Video: Tiny House: Tips for building permits
Video: Inspiring DIY TINY HOUSE built by HAND | NO PERMIT REQUIRED 2023, February
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The building permit for a tiny house depends on how you plan to use it. A house on wheels has different requirements than a mini house on its own property. Find out what you should know before you start planning.

Table of contents Table of contents Tiny House: Tips for building permits

  • A building permit for a tiny house?
  • Problems with the building permit
  • Requirements for the planning permission of a tiny house
  • A building permit for your tiny house in three steps
  • House on wheels: a tiny house without building permit

Table of contents Table of contents Tiny House: Tips for building permits

  • A building permit for a tiny house?
  • Problems with the building permit
  • Requirements for the planning permission of a tiny house
  • A building permit for your tiny house in three steps
  • House on wheels: a tiny house without building permit

A tiny house with building permit - that doesn't sound like freedom and adventure. But that is exactly what many people love about the mini houses: a house on wheels or a self-sufficient, minimalist life in the middle of nature. In the United States, that's much more than a lifestyle: it's a movement. And here? How does that fit in with German building law, which leaves little loopholes for individual construction?

A building permit for a tiny house?

In Germany it is not possible to simply place tiny houses on any property without a building permit. If you want to live in it permanently, you almost always need a building permit. Because in this case the Tiny House is classified as a building.

Find a plot of land for your tiny house

If you want to live permanently in your tiny house, you have to plan very well. Because many building permits fail due to the legal requirements. This means that a mini house cannot simply be placed anywhere on a field or forest property. You must first ensure that your property is approved for permanent living. In a zoning plan, municipalities usually determine where there are industrial and residential areas.

Problems with the building permit

A major challenge for tiny house builders are the development plans and statutes for local design. These determine how a new house should fit into the location, for example by the roof shape, roof color, facade material, window type or minimum floor space. Many building applications for tiny houses fail here. Too often they do not fit into the neighborhood with their size and appearance.

Tip: In special areas or areas for residential use development, you still have the best chance of obtaining a building permit for your container house or tiny house, since the guidelines here are often not as strict.

Requirements for the planning permission of a tiny house

If you want to build a modular house, you have to connect it to the public road and path network as well as to the supply and disposal network. The accessibility of your house is a basic requirement for a building permit. Also compulsory: a kitchen and a bathroom. There are also general building regulations that you must observe, such as room heights and requirements for doors, windows and escape routes. You can find details on this in the state building regulations for apartments. Depending on the state, there are also special permits if you want to generate energy yourself, for example with mini-photovoltaic systems or wind turbines.

Exceptional case: holiday home

If you only use your Tiny House occasionally, for example at the weekend or during the holidays, you can also build it in the so-called “outside area”, an area outside of normal residential areas. These areas are often designated as special areas for recreation. You usually have greater freedom here. Permanent living is possible in some communities if the house fulfills all the requirements.

Haus auf Rädern
Haus auf Rädern

If the Tiny House is registered as a mobile home on wheels, no building permit is required.

Photo: iStock / TexasPixelPro

A building permit for your tiny house in three steps

A building permit must always be accompanied by an expert, such as an architect or civil engineer, because you need a person who is authorized to submit building documents. With a preliminary discussion with the building authorities, you can clarify the first questions or determine how you can best apply for the building permit.

1. Pre-construction request

If you are not sure whether you meet all the criteria for a building permit, you can make a preliminary building request to the building authorities. This provides you with binding commitments when making a formal request, for example if there is no local development plan.

2. Apply for a building permit for a tiny house

In addition to a complete procedure, depending on the state building regulations, you have the option of submitting a procedure-free or approval-free application. The first time you commit yourself to compliance with all legal regulations, such as statics, energy saving regulations, fire protection or thermal insulation. With a permit-free application, you will automatically be granted a permit after a period of time after you have submitted certain documents and there are no objections. There is also a simplified procedure in which only certain specifications are checked, which speeds up the process considerably. The exact documents you need for the building application vary from region to region. Your construction expert can help here.

Baugenehmigung wird erteilt
Baugenehmigung wird erteilt

Until a building permit for the Tiny House is issued, it usually takes just as much time as a normal single-family house.

Photo: iStock / LuckyBusiness

3. After the building permit

Sometimes there are problems that delay construction. Note that building permits are usually valid for three years. However, there are regional differences here too. After construction, your Tiny House must be checked and approved by the building inspectorate for building law and technical specifications.

House on wheels: a tiny house without building permit

If you want to use your house as a living unit on wheels, for example to go on vacation, you do not need a building permit - then you only have to register it as a motorhome. However, if it looks like a house or is not firmly attached to the trailer, it can still fall under building law as a building. Remember that you need a parking space. You may not always park your mobile house on your own property. An alternative are special pitches or simply a campsite. If the mobile home is permanently inhabited, a building permit is required - whether a house with or without wheels. Campsites that are allowed for residential use are an exception.

Anja Schmidt

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