Canterbury man taking on the Government over tiny home classification that could see him lose property

What's the difference between a building and a caravan? The answer could mean big trouble for tiny homeowners.

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Alan Dall was unable to afford a house so decided to go tiny. Source: Seven Sharp

Canterbury man Alan Dall is taking on the Government to prove his dream house is movable and therefore should be free of red tape.

Mr Dall's journey to tiny home ownership began five years when he woke up with ice on his pillow during a freezing winter.

Fed up with freezing in his motorhome and unable to afford a house, he decided to build a tiny home on his Amberley Beach section.

"To date, the home has probably cost me around the $37/38 thousand mark, and that includes the solar on the top," he told Seven Sharp at his home.

"It's fully self-contained, has a toilet, a shower, all the things that a normal little apartment would have and it's all on wheels."

Mr Dall believes his home should be classed a caravan, free from regulations that apply to an immovable house.

However, the local council disagrees and following a complaint from a neighbour issued him with a notice that he needed to remove or demolish the structure, or apply for a certificate of acceptance.

"The boys had a look at that and decided in their view it was a house," Hamish Dobbie of the Hurunui District Council told Seven Sharp.

"The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment made their determination, which was that it was a building under the act."

Section 8 of the Building Act states that a building includes: "A vehicle or motor vehicle... that is immovable and is occupied by people on a permanent or long-term basis".

Mr Dall states that his place is a vehicle and is movable, so he's taking the Government to court.

"I'm hopeful that MBIE is going to see sense."

The outcome of the court case will be of interest to tiny home owners, and those looking to own one, up and down the country.