This section covers some common concerns about building tiny homes. For more help and advice, consult your municipality or other relevant authorities (for example, planning or zoning departments, utility companies).

Essential services (water, sewer and utilities)

The type of servicing depends on where your tiny home will be located. You should talk to your municipality about the types of water, sewage and utility services that are available.

For example, if municipal water and sewage services are not available, you may be able to connect to a well with sufficient water supply and have an on-site septic system.

If you plan to locate a tiny home far away from any existing electrical services, it can be quite costly to run distribution wires to your home. In areas where there is no electrical service the Building Code allows buildings to be “off-grid.” The Building Code contains requirements for installing solar panels or geo-thermal systems.

Parking requirements

Parking requirements vary greatly around the province, and the rules depend on where you live. Generally, there are zoning rules which set out parking requirements for new buildings, including tiny homes.

Zoning by-law requirements

Municipal zoning by-laws set out requirements for your property and impact your planning for a tiny home. Zoning by-laws provide important information such as whether tiny homes are permitted in the area in which you live.

Zoning by-laws may also set out specific requirements for buildings on a property such as lot area, lot frontage, lot coverage, yard setbacks (front, rear, interior, exterior) and maximum building height. Knowing these requirements is critical and will help you determine whether your property can accommodate a tiny home or whether you need to apply for permission.

Contact your local planning department for further information about how your local zoning by-law impacts your plans for a tiny home on your property.

Municipal rules about design of tiny homes

Municipalities may have rules about the design of new buildings and how those buildings fit with the rest of the buildings on the street. These rules would set out design standards that must be met. For example, there could be rules related to building size and height that deal with how big and how high a tiny home can be.

Rules for locating a tiny home on my property

Most municipalities have rules for the use of your property, building design requirements (for example, height, length and depth, and floor area), setbacks for buildings, access requirements, parking, and landscaping that apply to buildings. It is important to know these rules when considering where to locate a tiny home on a property.

Renting out my tiny home

If your tiny home meets your municipality’s by-laws and building regulations, either you or a tenant can live in it.

Lot severance

A lot severance is when one property is legally divided into two or more properties. Approval for a severance (called a "consent to sever") from your municipality is required if you want to sell a piece of your land, including selling part of your property that has a tiny home on it.

Check with your municipality to determine if severances are permitted in your area and how to apply for one.

If services are connected through the existing dwelling unit

If you plan to sell the land that your tiny home is located on, find out what is required to get approval for a severance by contacting your local planning department.

Your local official plan and zoning by-laws along with the way in which your tiny home is serviced, may have an impact on your ability to divide your property. This information is important to know before your tiny home is built so you can make decisions that will help you with getting a severance.

Development charges

When constructing a new building, municipalities typically require payment of a fee known as a “development charge.” This is a fee that municipalities use to pay for infrastructure (for example, water and sewage) to support new development.

The Ontario government is currently considering changing the rules so that these charges would not apply if you are adding a tiny home and you already have an existing house on your property. You should ask your local municipality about the status of these rules.

Home insurance

Contact a registered insurance broker for information about home insurance.

Transport a tiny home

Due to their small size, some tiny home owners may want to transport their homes if they move to another city or town. If you are moving and want to transport your tiny home, you should investigate if:

  • you will need to obtain any special transportation permits to move your house
  • the roads leading to your new location are suitable
  • your house is structurally able to withstand being moved

In addition, you will need to check with:

  • the municipality that you are moving to about what they require (for example, building permits, zoning approvals, etc.)
  • other relevant authorities, such as the Ministry of Transportation