In Manitoba, Canada, a company called Mini Homes of Manitoba has been working for nearly two years to make tiny home living legal in the province
According to the Winnipeg Free Press, the goal for company co-founders Anita Munn and her husband, Darrell Manuliak, is to start a tiny home village by teaming up with a group to purchase land with enough interest.
“A lot of municipalities are more welcoming to tiny homes, off the wheels and on a foundation,” said Munn, during a meeting at the company’s offices last week.
“Then it’s just a matter of applying for a variance on their zoning requirements.”
Munn and Manuliak say they have sold seven tiny homes in the last two years, and have five more currently under construction.
“This is not for everyone. There are still people who want a large home, but more and more people are finding they don’t need as much space,” said Munn.
Representatives from Tiny House Festival Foundation, a Vancouver non-profit, were also in attendance at the meeting, and shared additional details on why they believe tiny homes are a solution.
“In Vancouver, we’re looking at a situation where the housing crisis is in full swing, and a lot of people are investigating this as an affordable option,” said foundation co-founder Lisa Chessari.
“That’s not to say there isn’t a world of difference between a crowded city squeezed between the ocean and mountains on the Pacific coast and Canada’s endless heartland in big sky country. But affordability, sustainability are driving the concept forward.”
For local resident Deborah Lavallier, who owns several acres of land, she likes the concept of creating a community.
“I like the idea of like-minded people living together. We could have a community. The land is right on the river — we could have docks, canoes, kayaks, a gazebo, a barbecue. And you’re 10 minutes from the city,” said Lavallier.
As Daily Business News readers are already aware, so called “tiny homes” face an uphill battle, as zoning laws vary widely. And, some potential customers also see challenges in making it work.
“We’re looking at downsizing, and we’re looking at tiny homes, but not this tiny,” said Don Magnussen, who was looking at one of Mini Homes of Manitoba’s 342 square foot units.
“Maybe 500 to 600 square feet, but we don’t have the land. The problem is finding a place to put these homes.”
Why Manufactured Housing Wins
While “tiny homes” may be all the rage, people like Don Magnussen are finding that the real value is in a tried and true model.
Unlike tiny homes, which are still struggling with state and local regulations, buyers of manufactured homes generally avoid building code and zoning issues. In Washington State, a law passed in 2005 prevents cities from discriminating against manufactured homes, which has helped to break stereotypes.
“Manufactured homes are built to a national code that ensures homes meet basic structural, safety and energy standards,” said Craig Sedlacek, the program manager for the Factory Assembled Structures program at the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries. The organization conducts building inspections for manufactured homes.
“There’s no real definition for a tiny home. It might be built to a local code, a recreational vehicle (RV) code or no code at all. It’s important for buyers to understand what standards a home is built to before they buy it.”
MHProNews and MHLivingNews have covered the “tiny home” movement extensively, including the potential for big legal trouble for owners and a detailed side-by-side comparison with manufactured homes, highlighting function and value versus fashion. ##
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Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.
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