So you have made the decision to live in a tiny house, or are contemplating the option to do so. A key factor is finding a location: how can you find land that you can use to set up a tiny living life?
Tiny house is a broad term – we are talking vans, gypsy wagons, container homes, wooden cabins, or small houses with a cement foundation, etc. This is one of the reasons that legislation is not always clear; a tiny house is a house, but not in the traditional sense.
In Europe, there are several laws and regulations to take into account, when finding your location. In some countries, for example, you will not be permitted to live the year-round in a wooden cabin; only up to six months per year. In some countries, you may not be able to live in a house that is not built according to the standard requirements for housing, such as living in a yurt.
Do not worry: you can live your tiny house dream. Just be aware of the restrictions, and continue your search. In this article, we will break it down for you and help you in your quest.
Join groups on social media and browse the internet
Start with searching on Facebook, by using the right keywords, such as ‘tiny home Europe’, ‘tiny house Europe’, ‘tiny house community. You will then see many groups that you can join. Just by browsing the messages within the group, making remarks, or asking questions, you will get a lot of help.
There are many websites of people living the tiny dream in Europe, individually and in groups. Just browse the internet with the same keywords as above, and you will get useful hits from where you can make a start. You can search for keywords such as ‘living off the grid’, ‘building natural homes’, and ‘permaculture’ as well, since these are tied to tiny house living.
You can then contact people and communities, you can ask for advice on how to proceed, how to get an overview of land available for tiny houses in a specific region, and whether there are restrictive laws in place or not.
It all depends on your creativity as well: if you see an opportunity, you might as well seize it. So if you know about farmland and it appeals to you: why not contact the farmer and ask if you can set up your tiny home there? Or if you know of a lot within your municipality, why not contact the municipality and see if you can use that land for your tiny home. You will find that there are many possibilities.
Real estate websites
Maybe you would like to purchase land, by yourself or with a group of like-minded people.
There are a few European websites that list lots for sale. However, these lots are generally much more pricey than the lots that you would buy from a local realtor. Furthermore, you will often find that the photos are not clear: too few photos, and not really giving you a good impression of the land. And, a lot of these sites do not have English pages so it can be tricky to understand and search for them.
But you will gain an overall view of the kind of lots that are for sale and their specifics.
Go with the locals and feel the land
If you want to purchase land: make sure that you know what to look for when looking for land. What kind of soil are you dealing with: Is it suitable for building and for growing plants? Is the land flat or does it have slopes? Take the time to find and feel the land, it will be there waiting for you.
Just talk to locals, and look around with locals. They know the land, they know the climate, and the lots that are for sale.
Legislation regarding building and living the tiny house life
Once you have decided which country is suitable for you, you can start checking out the rules and legislation that govern it.
Generally speaking, it is easy to live in a tiny house in Southern Europe or Eastern Europe: much more is permitted here than in the Northern European countries.
Questions to answer regarding laws and regulation
- Can you build without building permits or restrictions, such as building a cob roundhouse? Or not build at all and live in a van? In some countries, this is not allowed, and in some countries, you certainly can.
- Can you just start building on the land you purchased? In some countries, you may not build on certain types of land, and in some countries, you are not allowed to live on certain types of land the whole year-round.
- Can you just start living on any land that you see fit? The answer is no, not on every type of land, in some countries. For example, in The Netherlands or in Spain, one is not allowed to live on agricultural land, while this is permitted in Romania and Portugal, for example.
- Do you need a residence permit in order to live on the land permanently? Be aware of the fact that although you may have an EU passport, this does not automatically mean that you can just live anywhere within the EU as you please.
Consult the municipality
Once you have decided where you want to set up your tiny house, you may want to contact the municipality. You will want to know if you can legally live on your land in your tiny house.
Consult with a lawyer or local realtor
You may want to consult a lawyer or local realtor, who can tell you more about the rules and regulations regarding living and building on land in your specific region or city.
Contact tiny house communities in the region
By contacting and connecting to people who are already enjoying the tiny living life, you will find out more about the possibilities of setting up your tiny house in the desired location. If you are joining a community it will all be much easier: people before you have done the research.
All the best with your tiny living life journey and may you find what you are looking for!