Living below the radar in your Tiny House
In the previous blog you could read which regulations are involved in legal living in a Tiny House in the Netherlands. The legal route creates a significant barrier for some people and there are some that don’t feel up to this. There is an alternative rout: you can also go ahead and “just do it” without asking permission.
In the Netherlands there are thousands of people who do not live strictly according to the rules of the law, or, as we call it: “under the radar” of the authorities. For the sake of completeness, we also want to pay some attention to these options here on TinyFindy, so that you are aware of them. That said, this blog is intended to provide information and certainly not to encourage living under the radar.
We feel we need to start with a disclaimer: when you live under the radar and you do not comply with the applicable regulations on housing, you are punishable by law. So we are not going to advise you to do that. Moreover, at TinyFindy we are in favor of legal living when it comes to living in a Tiny House, because we believe in this form of housing and believe that anyone who wants to, should be able to live in a Tiny House legally.
The Tiny House Netherlands Foundation is committed to making that possible. The more people living legally in a Tiny House, the faster this form of housing is accepted as a regular housing type.
Living on the farm
Ok, now for the options and points of attention. You can search for a place for you and your Tiny House, for example on a farm. Or with people that own a large piece of land: pasture, garden or otherwise. If the owner agrees, you can just put your house there and start living. As long as the neighbors don’t complain and an observant officer doesn’t accidentally cycle past and see your house, Uncle Officer will not come knocking at your door with an eviction notice. Good contact with the neighbors in advance is therefore advisable.
You can also try if you are permitted to live on a campsite or recreational park in your Tiny House. Many campsites and recreational parks are not open all year round, so you should inquire about that during your search. And in some cases you have to leave the campsite for a certain period, although your house can remain. You could solve that problem by traveling for a month or two each year. There are people who do so and enjoy their lifestyle very much. After all, you save a lot of money because of low housing costs and those winter months in the Netherlands.. well they are not very pleasant anyway.
Pictures: log house study Hans Liberg, Architect: Piet Hein Eek
But what about my registration?
Yes. Here we have a (small) bottleneck. Where do you register? Here we are talking about registration in the BRP, the Basic Registration Persons. (see also: Living legally in a Tiny House). You can register with friends or family, but this may affect their income (benefits, taxes). Moreover, we will mention it again, incorrect registration in the BRP is iligal. You can rent a room with friends or family, the Crisis and Recovery Act allows for this so that it does not affect their income. You do have to draw up and sign a rental contract and transfer the monthly rent.
You can also request a letter address (briefadres) from your municipality. Please note, this is different from a postal address, which really only concerns your mail. With a letter address you are registered in the BRP at someone else’s address, but you do not live there. You indicate to the authorities that they can reach you there, you collect your mail there. Municipalities often only issue a letter address temporarily. Half a year or a year, although extension is possible. It is quite difficult to request a letter address. You must indicate where you are staying, often have to explain why you don’t have an address of your own, and you can only request a letter address in the municipality where you are staying. Sadly we can’t make it any easier…
What is a good fit for you?
Living in a Tiny House can be done in many different ways. It is important to ask yourself what suits you. Can you live with the uncertainty of living under the radar? With the fact that you can be sent away from your spot? You usually have at least a month to find a new place, but for many people this is a serious objection. Think carefully about what works for you. Legal living in a Tiny House is absolutely possible, more and more locations are emerging where it is allowed.
Municipalities are increasingly open to Tiny House initiatives, but we need a demand from the citizens for them. So go to your elderman for sustainability or housing, and start the conversation if you want to live legally. Whichever path you choose, see it as an adventure from which you can learn a lot and especially enjoy those new experiences, people and lessons. It may be a cliché, but the path is really more important than the goal.