Tiny House Owner Brett Sutherland in NZ Faces Eviction

We featured Brett Sutherland’s outstanding tiny house in yesterday’s blog post. Now it seems his beautiful, handcrafted tiny home on a pristine beach near Auckland, New Zealand is in breach of building codes. The problem? The Auckland council claims the land exceeds the housing density limit. But there are 7 acres and obviously plenty of space for his tiny house, with nary a neighbor in sight. Ah, the Council mucks things up once again for those who try to live sustainably.

Watch the video A Micro-home With a Macro Problem for free at News Hub NZ.

10 thoughts on “Tiny House Owner Brett Sutherland in NZ Faces Eviction”

  1. MM. sound like what I want to do a little! only Iam going to use sandbags which brings land taxes down a lot ..an plenty of up to code plans to use…an you can make them the size you want..MM.

  2. Owen

    Take your bullet proof vest with you. You are a friend to the builders but an enemy to the building establishment. Plus you know they don’t ever play fair especially when money is at stake and it is big money.

    Yeah Owen.

  3. Owen

    Follow the money trail. The council wants a larger tax base so they don’t want to allow cheap housing, they want expensive housing because in NZ taxes (rates) are partially based on the value of the house. The building standard for a trailer is much simpler than a house so cheaper. Some councils in an effort to keep tiny trailers out will claim your trailer is house as soon as you park it and therefore house building standards apply. People want affordable housing but the powers that be don’t want it.

    Housing, as are many things, in New Zealand is not cheap and overpriced IMHO. The cost of building permits for a house can be higher than the cost of the small cheap home itself. If you don’t get the proper permits they will make you tear it down.

    On the other side of the coin the council is responsible for whatever they let you build. We are an earthquake prone country so standards are high to protect you from building something which is not safe. The building code allows for non standard building materials but it can be a real up hill battle to get approved. The least will be a building engineers approval ($$) on what you want to build. That is just a single step in the process. Everything must have a life of at least 50 years, roof to floor. If you build where there is a sewer system you must connect to it (no compost toilet) and the connection must be done by licensed and approved plumbers ($$$).

    The NZ building code was designed and created to be a good thing, to protect you and help you build a safe home. But now it is being used or abused to protect the revenue stream of local councils.

    NZ is a beautiful country but like any country it has it issues as well. Best of luck to you Brett.

    • That’s a lot of $$$ dollar signs. Not everyone is rich (obviously) so the existing system is unfairly hurting those with low incomes. Being mobile is one way to ‘beat the system’.

    • Maybe I’ll do a speaking tour across NZ to promote dirt cheap tiny houses made of recycled wood, pallets, poles, used appliances, etc. I’m sure local councils would welcome me with open arms, right? After all I’d be showing people how to solve the shortage of affordable housing. Imagine thousands of tiny houses popping up all over the place likes mushrooms. Get a council eviction notice? Hitch up your tiny house and move down the road a ways. I’d seriously consider it if I had several good venues and pre-sold tickets so I don’t waste my time and money getting there just to find out almost no one is interested.

  4. It seems many things go unnoticed until they become featured…
    Walmart used to silently accept overnighters until it became well known.
    There are too many people following and not enough people leading themselves.
    If you did come into something good tell others freedom is possible and hint about how they can do it but don’t tell the tax man where to find you…

    • Yes, keep a low profile so you don’t draw too much attention. Brett said it’s easy to find people who will let you live on their land. That’s good news as long as no one complains.


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