Update: Check out our Land Directory for Tiny Homes!

Bianca Metz runs Tiny Homes Ontario and co-produces the Tiny Home Show. Her upcoming seminar is called Living Tiny, Finally and is scheduled for December 1, 2022. She sat down with us to chat about changes coming to Ontario’s tiny living scene.

So first question, your seminar is called Living Tiny, Finally. Why “finally”?

The bylaws have changed to allow tiny living in that you can own your own home and then live on somebody else’s property, whereas the bylaws weren’t in favor of that before.

Amazing. Can you give me a little more detail on how the bylaws have changed and where?

“Yes, so essentially, there are two ways to accomplish putting a tiny home on a piece of property. 

The first way is as a secondary dwelling unit. So that would be the property owner owns and builds the tiny home in the backyard as a detached secondary dwelling unit. But this is the property owner’s infrastructure. They build it. They do all the permitting and applications and they would rent it out. So that’s a really great solution for increasing rental supply. But it’s not necessarily a solution for affordable housing, in the way that you can actually own your own home. 

But there is a bylaw that exists that hasn’t been recognized in the way it is now. That allows the person who lives in the tiny home on the property to own the tiny home. So instead of the property owner building the secondary dwelling unit themselves, they can actually lease out the property to somebody else and that person brings their tiny home in and it’s legally permitted. 

This is a policy that I helped shape and I am working with a county North of Hamilton. I’ll be talking about which county that is in the seminar. And also the bylaw exists across Ontario. So I’ll be talking about that as well.” 

In that land leasing arrangement, how would the relationship work between the tenant and the owner of the tiny home?

“So essentially, the way that the framework was selected, I kind of pulled together a few different policies through municipal bylaws and reframed them and put them back to the municipality to say, hey, listen, can we use this law in this way? 

And by “in this way”, I mean, actually having a tenant owned tiny home. 

So because it’s so new we haven’t put through our first tiny home yet doesn’t necessarily mean that the process will be streamlined. 

So essentially the way that it would work is a property owner who owns a piece of land, we would need to check if the zoning and permissions would allow for this bylaw, and what the requirements of the property would be. And then from there, the property owner can advertise this spot through my company and I would match them with tiny home tenants. 

So the folks that I’m working with right now are the first wave of people who want to downsize and live tiny and so I’m helping them to basically choose the proper tiny home to be able to be permitted and Ontario, and then helping them understand services and utilities, and then matching them with a property owner.” 

So, what is currently the most direct and/or cheapest way for this first wave of tiny home owners to get to a tiny home?

“The most direct way would be to find land. They can do this by advertising online, asking friends and family. I help people do that. And then advertising on Facebook or Kijiji and different other avenues. And then from there, really doing your due diligence. 

Not to keep bringing up myself and my services, but quite honestly, I’m the only person who helps people with due diligence and really understanding their options appropriately. So they can purchase the guide book or they can book an appointment with me and then they can start moving forward making informed decisions and avoiding costly ones. 

That would be the direct way and also the cheapest way in the long run – do your due diligence. I even had a call last week where somebody was about to purchase a DIY tiny home online that didn’t have any construction drawings. It wasn’t CSA certified, so this person would have never gotten this home permitted wherever they put it.” 

On a more personal note, you yourself live in a tiny home and your home is a secondary dwelling on another property. Can you tell us what that’s like?

“Yes, absolutely. So essentially, my family and I, we live in a 240 square foot tiny home. We downsized about four years ago and had a really unique opportunity to live where my husband is employed. And this gives us a really great opportunity to actually have a legal permanent situation, which only really a few percent of the population would have. 

We lease the land that we’re on, and we actually don’t pay anything because we take care of the property. So we manage the property under the principles of permaculture and we are land stewards, so we are here kind of protecting the sanctity of the property and also in return, receiving its really beautiful gifts. 

So our son, who is five now, has six acres to play on and he gets to climb trees and get dirty. Our life is so much more abundant because we live here.” 


1 Comment

  1. Hi,
    What about buying your own land and building a tiny on it?
    Or can you only build a small permanent home on your own land.

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