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The Mercury news item 20th March regarding tiny homes in Hobart is heartening and Jeff Briscoe and Louise Elliot must be congratulated for their drive and enthusiasm, however the following serious barriers to success remain:

  1. Jeff Briscoe is mistaken if he thinks tiny homes require less stringent red/green tape to be installed compared to a traditional home. I tried to install a single axle mobile tiny home in the back yard of my home in Lenah Valley and was told by the Hobart City Council that it would be assessed EXACTLY the same as any other permanent ancillary dwelling would. The limitations imposed by the HCC were akin to a subdivision and we estimated a total of $30,000 in fees would be required and then the Council could still decide to oppose the application.
  2. The inconsistencies between the various Councils regarding planning permits are a significant barrier to any effective emergency housing response and due to Tasmania’s decentralized population a bigger picture plan is fairer, but it appears the Wanda foundation is focused on Hobart.
  3. The $140,000 price tag is a single package price point. We have seen the price at half ($70,000) achieved under the State Governments ‘granny flat ‘ scheme and a whole state approach for competitive tendering for both fabrication and installation is required to deliver statewide access to home seekers.
  4. Using vacant land is much more expensive to hook tiny homes up to water, sewage and electricity than it would be to utilize the back yards of existing properties where most of the infrastructure is already in place.
  5. Existing land owners who have significant equity in the home can easily fund the right package at the right price reducing the natural pressure for a ROI with third party investors. In addition the mental & physical health of the ‘Tenants’ is more likely to be supported if they are spread across existing stable suburbs than is possible in a semi-industrial setting.

Alderman Briscoe is spot on with his statement “We need immediate action, not more talkfests and reports and years dithering which is too common in local government.”….well good luck with that Jeff & Louise!, my bet is that’s exactly what you are going to face with your great initiative. 

Rick Cazaly. Lenah Valley.