In this piece we will cover the most commonly asked questions around tiny house planning and law in the UK. This will cover four main sections:

1.   Are tiny houses legal in the UK?

2.   How do I make my towable-tiny road legal?

3.   Where can I put my tiny house?

4.   Do I need to pay council tax?

We have teamed up with Glampitect, an industry leading design and consultancy firm to bring you the most up-to-date and accurate information for your tiny house. Thanks to our partnership with Glampitect and our in-house specialists, we at The Qube are your one stop shop for all things tiny house in the UK.

1.    Are tiny houses legal in the UK?

This is a very common question, and understandably one that everybody wants to get right! Tiny houses are absolutely legal in the UK regardless of whether they are on a trailer base or not. The legality of tiny houses is all to do with where it is and what you use it for. We will go into the details of this below, but for now, rest assured that tiny houses are legal and you can even live in them permanently under certain conditions.

2.    How do I make my towable-tiny road legal?

The most popular style of tiny house is the trailer based model. This moveable model gives you the freedom to travel and take your home with you wherever you go. If this is the kind of tiny house you have, then making it roadworthy is job number one!

Size

To meet legal requirements, a trailer based tiny house must be no wider than 2.55m and no longer than 7m if you have a standard driving licence. If this is what you are looking for, then our 3.6m and 4.8m tiny houses will be perfect for you.

If your heart is set on a life on the road but you are looking for a bigger home, then you will need to upgrade your driving licence to a category C1E. This kind of license allows you to drive medium sized vehicles which tow trailers; in this case, the trailer will be your tiny house. A C1E license will allow you to pull a heavier tiny house behind you which is up to 7m long, but can still only be a maximum of 2.55m wide. You will need to pass an extra test to earn your C1E license, but this is easily done with the appropriate lessons and practice. There is some good information on this process here.

 

Weight

There are also limits to the amount of weight you can legally tow on UK roads, and when you passed your driving test will impact how much weight you can tow. 

Passed before 1st January 1997? You can tow a combined weight (vehicle and trailer) of up to 8250kgs. Passed after 1st January 1997? You can tow a trailer (not including the weight of your car) of up to 3500kgs. As above, if you want to go heavier, you can get a C1E licence which will allow you to legally tow up to 12,000kgs. It is also worth noting that any trailer heavier than 750kg is required by law to be equipped with dual safety chains. Don’t worry, these come as standard with all of our tiny houses.

3.    Where can I put my tiny house?

There are many places you can legally put your tiny house in the UK. Some of these locations require planning permission and some do not.

Where do I not need planning permission?

If you want to put your tiny house in the back garden of the home that you own, and the overall size of your tiny house  does not exceed 19.8m x 6.7m (65ft x 22ft), then good news! You do not require planning permission. Tiny houses that fit within these dimensions and are constructed on trailer bases are legally classified as caravans, which means you can legally park them within the curtilage of your home without planning permission. If this is your plan, then it is a legal requirement that you only use the tiny house as additional living space, like an office, a gym, or a studio, but you cannot rent out the space to a tenant.

For those of you who live on farmland, what is defined as curtilage can be complicated. In these cases, and under any circumstances where you are unsure, we recommend that you speak to your local planning officer.  You can put a tiny house on your land as a temporary structure for 28 days, but for any longer than this we recommend that you speak to your local planning officer as different permissions will be required.

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It is worth pointing out that, at Qube, we can make any of our tiny house models compliant with the legal definitions of a caravan. The most important thing here is that you won’t be able to have a mezzanine level because in order to fit the definitions of a caravan, the structure cannot be taller than 3m. Get in touch with us here to discuss your specific requirements.

When Do I Need Planning Permission?

If you are setting up a glamping site for instance, you will need planning permission. Thanks to our partnership with Glampitect, we are well equipped to guide you through this process. Please do get in touch with us to discuss next steps. We can also help you to understand what is required for a residential park home (the BS:E3632:2015 specification). If you want a tiny house that is bigger than  19.8m x 6.7m then you will also need planning permission. If you live in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) you should speak to your planning officer as different permissions are in place.

 

A summary of places you can park your tiny house:

Lifestyle series

  • Inside the legal boundaries of your home, usually the garden
  • On a caravan site
  • On farmland for up to 28 days, or longer with planning permission
  • On a glamping site, with planning permission (see above)
  • On a residential park home, must meet building standards
  • On any other land for which you have planning permission, i.e. land that you have bought privately to put your tiny house on

4.    Do I need to pay council tax?

In brief; if it is your permanent residence, yes. If it is not your permanent residence, no. For example, if your tiny house is in your back garden and you are using it as a craft room or a spare bedroom for when guests visit, you do not need to pay council tax on top of what you are already paying for your permanent home. However, those who are purchasing a plot of land to park their tiny house on as a permanent primary residence will need to pay council tax. Businesses deal with different charges for their caravan or glamping sites.

 

To sum it all up

Tiny houses in the UK are legal. Trailer based models like the ones we create at The Qube are legally classified as caravans which makes finding somewhere to put them a lot easier. Depending on where you want to put your tiny eco home and what you want to use it for, you might need planning permission. We always recommend speaking to your local planning officer if you have any questions as these people are the most knowledgeable about the specific rules in your area. We are happy to help you with this process as we know it can be a bit overwhelming, please get in touch with us and we can discuss your plans.