Rolling House Life in Spain
Tiny Houses are being embraced by more and more Spaniards and foreigners living in Spain. Specialized builders are increasingly receiving design requests, partly due to the lower construction and purchase prices, maintenance costs and energy consumption. But just like in other European countries, the rules surrounding the construction of a Tiny House are not always clear. Jorge González and Edgar Becerra from Rolling House Life share their vision.
Rolling House life
Jorge was already living a sustainable lifestyle before he and his current business partner Edgar started thinking about how and where they wanted to live. Edgar. “It’s important to me to create a low impact travel style and technology. We realized that we spend a lot of time at home and, looking for housing options, found the ideal solution: the Tiny House concept.”
Edgar and Jorge made a start by building their own Tiny Houses. Afterwards they realized that this process could very well grow out to be a business. Jorge: “I have lived in a Tiny House and am currently building one for myself. We will use my old house as a demonstration model. By the way, on our website you can choose from 3 models: Mini viajera (mini traveler), Mini garbeo (mini wanderer) and Mini casera (mini homemade).”
The customers who have purchased a Mini Casera can place this Tiny House on a permanent residential plot as a second residence, as an extension of the main house or as a solution for non-residential land, if local law permits. Jorge likes to help finding suitable solutions: “If the house has to offer a permanent place to live, we can easily add a veranda or merge two Tiny Houses to create more space.”
In Spain, almost all Tiny Houses (mini casas) are used as a second residence for weekends and holidays, often in a rural area or near the coast. According to architect Daniel Corbí of the Microcasas company, it is woven into Spanish culture to build large houses or apartments. As a fan of Japanese Tiny Houses however, he believes that people don’t need that much space to live a good and healthy life.
In Spain there are Tiny Houses for sale with and without wheels, as well as modular houses, portable houses, lighthouses and ecological mini casas from companies such as Rolling House Life, Microcasas, Modulab and Ábaton Arquitectura. As in other European countries, the regulations are sometimes confusing and Tiny Houses often lack clear guidelines and requirements. Whether or not to allow a Tiny House is in principle the responsibility of the municipality where the house will be located.
Movable or permanent
Under the Spanish Civil Code (código penal articulo 334 and 335), an object is defined as movable if it literally can be moved to another location and as immovable if it cannot be moved and is permanently attached to the ground. In many cases, Tiny Houses are movable and they are only minimally attached to the ground (with a small foundation, which can be dismantled). The question of whether a Tiny House is movable or immovable is usually determined by the municipality during the licensing process.
In Spain, mobile Tiny Houses are often chosen because the regulations, permits and administrative procedures are in principle simpler. Many Spanish Tiny House builders have their own land. If a small house is movable, you can also choose to rent a piece of land, which is probably more affordable.
Aspiring Tiny House owners require a project and building permit. According to the Ley de Ordenación de la Edificación (L.O.E), any construction on urban (urbano) or rustic (rústico) land is considered permanent and therefore a building permit (licencia de obras Municipal) is required. For the construction of a Tiny House you in most cases will have to apply for this building permit at the municipality. There you have to pay the fee (tasas) and hand over all construction and technical documents in order to get the permit. In the case of a small construction (such as an additional extension) it is called ‘licencia de obra menor’ and in the case of a more elaborate Tiny House it is called ‘licencia de obra mayor’.
Requirements for minimum space
Many rules and requirements are thus regulated at the municipal or regional level and therefore differ everywhere in Spain. This sometimes makes it difficult to find out what the rules for building a Tiny House are, but with some research and the deployment of specialists in this area, everything should become clearer.
Jorge explains that Spanish law is vertical: “It means that the most important law comes from the national government, the second in line is regional law and the last is local law.” Local legislation must be stricter than regional or national. National law considers Tiny Houses to be a caravan. A Tiny House may be placed on a caravan or camper spot as far as the national government is concerned. The municipality determines whether you can actually place your Tiny House on a specific (residential) plot. The rules are stricter in the coastal area than in large parts of the interior.”
In Spain, the mini casas are often used as a second home or holiday home, also because the rules in some municipalities do not allow permanent residence in spaces smaller than a certain amount of square meters. For example: in Madrid a permanent living space must be at least 25 m2, while in many other municipalities it must be at least 36 m2. If a tiny house has a living area of less than 36 m2, it cannot serve as a permanent home in many places. That is why there are many companies in Spain that only make Tiny Houses of at least 40 m2, although there are also models between 18 and 45 m2 that can serve as a second home.
Check out this cool video about Spanish Tiny Houses::
Source: Spain today.com december 2017, Rolling House Life
Photo credits: Rolling House Life