The Christchurch District Court has finally tackled the age-old question of what a building is, and whether a tiny home is a building or not. The court ruled a person’s tiny home was not a building, overturning a previous determination by MBIE and the Hurunui District Council, but a vehicle, making it exempt from any consenting obligations.
The structure at the centre of the case was not connected to any services, could be moved within 30 minutes if need be, and was a registered and warranted vehicle. These factors were enough to convince Judge Mark Callaghan that it was a vehicle, not a building.
It was further expanded that a building is something immoveable and permanently occupied. As this was not the case with this tiny home, this could not be a building.
Contrasting to this latest case, another tiny home was deemed a building. This tiny home was not connected to an axis and wheels and could not be easily moved from its location. The judge ruled the idea the house was a vehicle was “a flight of imagination”.
This latest case has ended a lot of confusion in the law, settling that a tiny home is only one if it can be registered as a vehicle and is easily moveable. Otherwise, it will have to go through the same consenting process as any other building structure.
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