Ontario province of Canada has the largest population in Canada. The Greater Toronto Area or GTA is considered one of the most populated areas and also the financial capital of Canada. There are a huge number of people who are living in a high-density area and not all residents like to live there. Real estate prices are rose to almost double in the last few years.
Interestingly, there is a portion of the population who likes to live like the life of a minimalist. They try to avoid unnecessary materialistic life. The first step towards it is to stay in the shortest possible space. The Tiny House concept is gradually spreading in these people. They are considering move into these tiny homes, especially tiny homes on the wheels.
If you have a plan to build a tiny home on any property or your own property then you have to consider some important aspect of tiny house life. These types of houses are a great way to save huge amounts of money with the least obligation. Because we can build on way less amount than we spend on a regular home. In this article, you will find important information to build a tiny house in Ontario, Canada.
You can have a tiny house by building it yourself, any contractor build for you on your property OR it can be built in a factory and then bring to your property. It can be used as a primary house to live a minimalist life and keep “travel more” options open. Some people want to enjoy the tiny house life for seasons and vacations.
Some people build tiny houses in their backyard and rent it. It is a good option but it may require some city approvals in Ontario. Local city planning and building department should be contacted for more information. It can be considered as adding another residential unit on the property. You can visit this official government link to get more information on this.
Generally, the term “tiny house” can be interpreted as a small residential house with small living, dining areas, a small kitchen, a single bathroom, and sleeping areas. We can see some small houses in big cities where land prices are too high. If we talk about the exact mean of the term then tiny-house is a small residential structure with most of the home-like facilities but leaves minimum effects on the environment and encourages sustainable living.
The philosophy started getting popular in recent years and became a “Tiny-House Movement” which is an architectural and social movement that supports simple living in small homes generally under 400 sq. ft. with minimum required resources. Some people confuse the tiny house living with camper, RV, recreational vehicles and cottage life but we need to keep in mind that tiny house concept is for the permanent long term living but other options are for the temporary short period of time.
Notwithstanding their size, tiny houses should nevertheless follow the health & safety requirements of Ontario’s constructing code. Additionally, the municipal zoning and other legal guidelines may also apply such as water and sewage which depends upon the location. Obviously, if you are in the city or nearby then you may have strict regulations compare to if your tiny house is located in the countryside or forest areas. There are also different requirements for a fix structured tiny house and tiny house on wheels. For the movable tiny house, there are transportation regulations because it will be running on the roads from time to time.
The question is why people want to leave their current life and choose a minimalist life where they have everything limited? It is not like a tiny house living is a perfect life. There are so many pros and cons to a tiny home life. There are a few points we are writing below.
Advantages of Tiny Houses Living in Ontario
1. Mortgage Free Life: Mortgage is the biggest worry now these days due to high real-estate prices, especially in Ontario. A tiny house may cost $24000 on average (Source: zolo.ca) in comparison to the $578,000 (Source: livingin-canada.com) for an average home price in Ontario. You can just save for a year or two and buy it for cash. It will reduce the obligations and worry for paying payments back. You don’t have to work extra hours for this. If you are out of work for some time, don’t worry. You have no payments. Even you owe money from the bank; the installments will be too low that can be paid very easily. So many people spend years because they cannot afford the payments nor have no down payments to be eligible for the property.
2. Reduce Expenses: You pay less for a tiny house. But you also save money on consistent maintenance required in comparison to an average home. According to a formula, you should expect to spend an average of 3% to 5% of home price every year. If we take the average home price of Ontario then you might be spending near about $29000 every year (Source: Moneysense.ca). This might not be the yearly saving in your personal accounts.
3. Saving Energy: Tiny house has very fewer energy requirements. If you are off the grid then you might be using solar energy which has only little upfront cost but years of service. In the end, it will cost you nothing to use the solar cells. Even If you are using an electric supply from a company then also, you will be paying almost nothing in comparison to regular home power uses. Solar energy is also good for sustainable living with almost no footprints on the environment.
4. Easy to Maintain: So many people want to spend their most of time on leisure and creativity then owning the material and then spend most of the time maintaining those. Regular homes have uncountable things to maintain. You have to maintain a garden, paints, broken items, cleaning, filling the empty spaces, garbage, supplies and so on.
We have already discussed the expenses but all these things also take most of your time to complete. Just think about your weekend. When last time you have spent your weekend just for the fun and did nothing which belongs to home maintenance? We barely have the fun activities. Most of the time we spend on home essentials before weekend ends. It happens before we spend the most time at work which reduces our own personal time at home. Tiny homes take very little time to maintain and leave the rest of the time for you to enjoy your life the way you want to live.
5. Closer to Nature: The tiny house movement provides you the opportunity to live a naturalistic live closer to nature. You leave very fewer footprints on the environment; you use only essential materials, very limited energy consumption and waste very small pieces of land. You live away from rush life in urban areas without any financial obligations. You do not have to waste life for material beyond your requirements. Just compare these incentives compared to anyone living in the Greater Toronto Area.
6. More Freedom: This is the biggest advantage of a Tiny house living. If you will ask people around you if they wanted to travel the world then the majority of them will say yes. It is their main wish in life. If you will ask,”what is stopping them to complete their wish” then most of the time is the same reason and that is financial obligations. Basically, this is considered as modern slavery when you are not in cage but you have to live a caged life. Tiny house living provides you the life without financial obligations and adds more freedom into your life.
You have more time to travel because you don’t have to work day and night to meet your needs. You can create new things because you are not wasting so much money on material things and read more books to gain wisdom instead of stress due to rush and scarcity in life. If you have a tiny house on wheels then it will add extra privilege into your life. Just hook-up with the vehicle and travel wherever you want. Same home comfort at amazing places in Ontario and the rest of Canada. Just stay there as long as you wants then move to another amazing place. You can workamping for the money or start an online business such as a travel vlog for your few financial needs.
7. Simple Living High Thinking: We all know the concept of the live simple life. There are huge benefits to simple living. Even medical and spiritual sciences directly supporting this. It increases happiness and makes you a more generous person in comparison to urban materialistic life. In todays rush life, it is not possible by just the way we are living in concrete jungles. It is because our intention is divided into so many obligations.
The human shelter is a must to live a comfortable life with growth. That’s why; we spend most of our time and money on this. Unfortunately, the thing we acquire for the ease of life becomes the biggest reason for stress. Most of the things we do not even use on a regular basis. The best alternative is the Tiny Home. You can have everything you need but just up to the limit of needs. If you will go just an hour’s drive from Toronto or nearby cities, you will find so many areas where you can have your own dream tiny house right in your loving province of Ontario.
Now, like everything else, tiny houses have some important disadvantages that cannot be ignored. You have to consider those before making any final decision to move into tiny home life. There are some those we have discussed below.
Disadvantages of Tiny Houses Living in Ontario
1. Small Living Area: Majority of people living in a average space in the house but the key difference between regular home and tiny house is the size of space available, usually under 400 sq. ft. You have to adjust in it. There is very little room to add or remove the things. Everything is very specific according to the design.
2. Less Flexibility: Very little room to have new things. Because of tiny space, everything is designed during the construction and cannot be changed without affecting the original design. You cannot go to the shop and buy new furniture, stove or almirah. Everything is designed for that specific place which cannot be bought in the market. Once it is ready then forgets the change, except sell this tiny home and buys or build new one with desired design.
3. Limited Storage: Think about an aircraft. It takes 100s of passenger, carrying the luggage and cargo with food and water required during the flight. There are strict rules and specifications for the luggage, handbags, specially designed washrooms, food carrying carts etc. As a passenger you cannot take anything you want. There are designs, weight limits with size dimensions. Same thing you can imagined in a tiny house. You will have to remove old stuff to add new one in the tiny house. You cannot just keep buying cloths, foods or any decoration items because you will like that. Keep in minds that you are moving into minimalist life because you are tired of materialistic life. Don’t expect same at your new place.
4. Have to Adjust in Nature: You need to learn living in nature side by side. There won’t be any single day when you choose to watch TV all day by staying at home because of bad weather or you are not feeling well. Day or night, anytime, you will have to come out for different reasons. If you are party guy then use the land around you. Guests might not be able to adjust due to lack of space or teach them how to be comfortable and use the facilities. Everything is short, less and limited. Most of us do not realize how many resources we waste during our regular life. Tiny house can make us realized our ignorant behavior for natural resources. Until unless a person is really open minded, they will feel uncomfortable in your tiny world. We are fortunate enough to live in Canada. Especially Ontario which is one of the richest province in the country. We have huge land with abundance of resources. We never realize the value of natural resources.
5. Local Zoning Regulations: Tiny house construction is inexpensive but getting full permission from the city might be challenging. Regular homes are being constructed from long time in Ontario but tiny house movement started few years back. The concept is still pretty new and still not very common. Only very few companies who are expert in building tiny home structures. Rules are also different from city to city. On one side, there might not be too many regulations but on the other side, there might be some very unique city by-laws which can put you in trouble.
By-laws might restrict you for specific design, energy supply, drink & waste water, health, safety and so on. Lot might not be suitable due to inadequate access to emergency services such as fire department and medical services. Extra care needs to take when buying a prefabricated tiny house. Just make sure if it meets the minimum standards of Canadian Standard Association or CSA. How about property insurance? Is there any company ready to provide you coverage? Because tiny houses are distinct in nature, it may give you hard time to complete the legal requirements. For more information on Ontario By-Laws, visit here.
6. Unpredicted Resale Value: The valuation of regular houses has some standards and majority of people follows the lifestyle. It is easier to buy and sell regular home. On the other side, tiny house are unique way of life which has limited community. Not everyone likes to buy and live in the tiny houses. If you want to sell because you want to buy new upgraded version or just want to move to another place then it may be a big challenge to resale it. You may get good price and/or may find it hard to get rid of it. One easy solution for it is to make tiny house on wheels. Just in case of non-resale, it can be taken to new location.
7. Financial Management: If you are spending your own savings then it might not be issue for you but what if you need to owe some money from the bank? Regular homes have some fix standards, their valuation and also resale value. The decision to finance any regular home might be easier for the bank. Due to a huge distinction, uncommon structure and least resale values, it might be challenging for you to get financial help from the bank.
Now you have some basic insight about the tiny house living in Ontario. You can build your own house yourself but I would recommend getting service from any local professional such as architect, engineer or planner who is familiar with local building codes and municipal rules. There are so many different requirements which you may have to complete to legalize your tiny building. There might be various permits, building codes, power safety standards, building size, parking requirements and also utilities services connection requirements.
If you are trying to save money by moving into tiny space then make sure to have proper planning. It will save you from unplanned blunders. You don’t want to design something which may have to demolish to rebuild because of local by-laws. There are so many locations in Ontario, especially near Greater Toronto Areas, just hour or more drive from the GTA which are convenient to select. People spend hours in traffic jams on 400 series highways. There won’t be much difference to establish your house with an hour or two drives from the city of Toronto.
Tiny Success Stories:
- Mark, a tiny house enthusiast built his own tiny house on a very limited budget. To save money, he use most of used stuff to finish the interiors. The whole cost stayed less then CAD $3000 which is less then US $24000. This costs included the newly built customer trailer used for the base and new lumber for the structure. He took renting space on very cheap amount. Full Story Here.
- At simply 253 square feet, this property in Oshawa is one of the tiniest houses in the country. It’s on the market now for $200,000 and has all the necessities – a kitchen, dwelling room, and even a washer & dryer. Full Story Here.
- A modular prefab home ranging in model sizes from 480 to 2000 square feet. Designed by Altius Architecture in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Full Story Here.
If you have any tiny house success story from Ontario, please share with us. We will post here to encourage other enthusiasts. They want to learn from your experiences.
Tiny House Builders in Ontario
There are not many tiny house builders in Ontario and we will keep adding in the list as we will find more professionals in this field. Here is a list of few. They are not our sponsers and we are not promoters. Please deals with them on your own risk. TinyHouseMovement.org website and management is not responsible for any lose or damage due to your deal or their service to you.
- True North Tiny Homes. https://www.truenorthtinyhomes.ca/
- Tiny House Construction Company. https://tinyhousecc.ca/
Disclaimer: This article is provided for information purposes only and should not be considered as an expert or legal advice. TinyHouseMovement.org and the writer do not assume responsibility for errors or oversights resulting from the use of this information.