Kul Nijjar is a realtor in the small town of Kaslo, BC. She works with clients who are facing obstacles because of the high real estate prices and she is all about getting people to think outside the box. 

Kul’s small town of Kaslo, BC has all the typical bylaws that usually hinder tiny home owners across Canada. However, there are pockets of land around the town that have no zoning. 

Yes, you heard that right, no zoning. 

“Outside town limits, there is actually an area of no zoning. So, there, you still need a building permit to build something on a foundation, but if it’s not on a permanent foundation, or less than 100 sq.ft., then no permit needed.” 

“I’ve been talking to people about different options, like maybe getting together as three families and buying land where you can put up small little bedroom cabins and a central cabin with services in it like plumbing, kitchen area, bathroom, laundry facilities. That’s one way people can sort of think outside the box to keep their costs down.” 

“A lot of people in the area have small cabins. I know of a few young folks and young families who have managed to buy the land and then they have bought those hunting tents – a canvas tent with a small wood stove – and they are living in those year round and building their permanent homes as time and funds permit.”

Photo: Google Maps

Kul says that outside village limits, land with no zoning offers a lot of possibilities for those creative solutions that she speaks about. However, there are still benefits from being close to a municipal community. These landowners have a postal address and pay taxes and can take advantage of municipal services of the nearby village.

While buying a small lot of land outside Kaslo is a practical solution for tiny home ownership, make sure you are prepared for other costs that will make that lot livable. 

“You will need to clear the land if needed, connect or install services like compost toilet or septic system, water or water collection equipment. Which is all doable.”

Kul’s advice is that buying land for a tiny home and putting in the money to improve it is a good investment, if you’re patient. 

“Honestly, I feel like land is always a good investment. I always say to people, it’s all about having ‘holding power’. When the markets go up and down, typically, historically, it’s always in eight to 10 year cycles. So if you can think ahead and hold on to your property during the bad times and wait it out, then it comes back up again. And the work and equity you put into the land will make it worth even more.” 

In a housing crisis, it’s all about creative solutions and intermediate steps

Seeing the housing crisis firsthand, Kul is concerned for the homebuyers in her community.

“What is housing? Is it actually shelter or is it status? Those people who want to treat it as a status thing – maybe they go to some gated community somewhere and live that life and leave the majority of the people alone because the majority of the people in today’s world actually just need shelter. And then without shelter, you have no security. Without security, your mental health goes crazy.”

“What is housing? Is it actually shelter or is it status?”

“I honestly don’t know how anybody’s going to do it anymore. Unless somebody helps them or they have a really well-paying job. But even jobs that used to be considered good jobs are not enough anymore.” 

“You know, in very traditional terms, parents have a will. And then, when they pass, then the kids inherit something. But now, I am seeing parents reconsidering all of that and thinking, why wait until they pass on. They just have to figure out something now to get their kids sorted. And I don’t mean, young kids, I mean full-on adults, like 34 years old.”

However, not everyone has access to family money to help them enter the housing market. Kul has firsthand experience with that. She came to Canada as a child with her parents and she remembers the creative way that they, as newcomers starting from scratch, got into the housing market. 

“My dad just worked at a factory. They made appliances or something. He couldn’t afford to buy a house on his own and get a mortgage. So he went in with another family who was also in the same situation in Toronto in 1975-1977. And they bought a house together. The other family lived upstairs and we lived downstairs.”

After accumulating enough equity, both families were able to split off into their own homeownership journeys. “We lived like that for three years and then sold the home. This enabled each family to have enough for a down payment and also a history of owning something and paying a mortgage.”

Today, Kul sees a new need for “creative solutions” in a housing crisis that is affecting not just newcomers to Canada, but everyone. 

“I have helped three different sets of young people do the same thing that my parents did. Instead of setting a goal to be in their dream house right away, I think maybe people just need to throw that out the window and focus on getting into real estate. Owning their own place. If that means going in with other people, so be it. The intention is that it’s only a first step, a short term solution.”



  1. Would like to know if no Zoning I can put in composting toilets or does every thing still have to go through Norther health I been phoning them but they do not get back to me and that been a few days now. Would outhouses be alright for people I am trying to do a community style place on our land but can find out very little. Even regional dirstrict did not really know, if I build tiny homes that can be moved do I really need to take that week long course if I already have a engineer doing the drawings? If any one can help thanks

  2. Hi there,

    Is there a way of contacting the author? I’d love some more information on no zoning in BC, but I can’t seem to find much when I Google search… can you help guide me??

    Kind regards

    1. Hi Brittany! You can contact Kul, the woman we interviewed here: https://www.kootenaybc.com/kul-nijjar
      She is also the guest speaker at our upcoming members-only event on December 5. More information here: https://membership.tinyhomesincanada.ca/landseeker

Comments are closed.