Tiny house for sale in Vancouver — must be moved

Tiny studio dwelling with approximately 250 sq ft of living space. | www.facebook.com/SmallHouseBliss

$20000 / 250ft2 – Tiny house / cabin / studio (Vancouver)
12′ x 24′ footprint tiny house FOR SALE! Yes, the entire house!

So reads an ad on Craigslist for Vancouver, British Columbia. The catch is that the structure must be moved, and likely doesn’t comply with local building regulations. Since this is a tiny house built on a foundation, you can’t just hook it up to your pickup truck and drive away either. A professional house moving company would have to jack it up and move it at a cost that might even exceed the $20,000 purchase price.

The owner, Ches Lam, says that he built the backyard studio by converting an old garage/workshop. He seems to have done a nice job with the design, creating what looks to be a very livable space. The ad indicates that the structure is approximately 12′ by 24′ with 250 ft2 (23.2 m2) of inside floor space.

Tiny studio dwelling with approximately 250 sq ft of living space. | www.facebook.com/SmallHouseBliss

The bathroom is located right by the entrance and doubles as the laundry room with a stacked washer and dryer. Beyond the bathroom is the studio living space with a double mattress on a raised platform at the far end. The space under the bed platform is put to good use with a pull-out closet, dresser drawers built into the steps, and a crawlspace storage area. Windows run the length of the room, making the interior bright.

Tiny studio dwelling with approximately 250 sq ft of living space. | www.facebook.com/SmallHouseBliss

Unfortunately Ches didn’t bother getting a building permit, or even finding out what the legal requirements were, which is really too bad because Vancouver is one of the most progressive cities when it comes to allowing laneway houses and other types of accessory dwelling units.

Ches started renting the tiny house out to vacationers and all was well for a couple of years until someone reported him to the city. Maybe some of those vacationers were too noisy, or maybe the complainant was upset with Ches over something totally unrelated. If you’re going to have an illegal dwelling in your backyard though, it’s probably a really good idea to keep quiet about it and not draw attention with strangers lugging suitcases in and out every weekend.

Tiny studio dwelling with approximately 250 sq ft of living space. | www.facebook.com/SmallHouseBliss

Usually when a municipality discovers construction done without a permit, the owner is allowed to make it legal by paying the normal permit and inspection fees plus a fine, and making whatever changes are required to bring the structure into compliance with zoning, building and fire regulations. One problem is that Ches’s tiny studio doesn’t seem to be very well insulated with only R14 in the walls. Most building codes specify at least R19. Another problem is that Vancouver requires all new homes to be equipped with fire sprinklers. There could be many other issues as well, some of which could be extremely expensive to remedy, such as minimum setbacks from the property lines.

Ches likely determined that the cost to bring the tiny house into compliance was too great. So, he either has to remove it from his yard or turn it back into a garage/workshop. He decided to try selling it. For $20,000, you get the tiny house with all appliances and TV included.

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Photographs courtesy of Ches Lam. Via Treehugger.

Text copyright 2015 SmallHouseBliss. All Rights Reserved.

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