Is Buying a Tiny House as a Garden Annexe a good idea

Choosing a tiny house to serve as a garden annexe will provide some extra space to your home while saving you money, time and headaches. A garden annexe is a small construction that is separated from the main house yet placed in your curtilage area.

This type of construction is quite common in Europe and especially popular in the UK, where it is usually referred to as a granny annexe. Annexes are usually built on-site using traditional construction methods, though raising this space with prefab methods offers incredible advantages, especially when the type of prefab chosen is a tiny house.

Benefits of buying a tiny house as a garden annexe:

  1. Building an annexe is faster and cleaner with a tiny house
  2. Planning permission might not be necessary for a tiny house garden annexe
  3. Tiny houses are cheaper than traditional granny annexes
  4. A tiny house annexe is moveable
  5. Renting out an annexe is easier with a tiny house

In most circumstances, a tiny house garden annexe is the smartest choice since this type of construction offers outstanding advantages. However, the reasons for investing in a garden annexe are multiple and to some, other types of construction might be more convenient.

Getting to know what a tiny house can offer when installed as a garden annexe can help you figure out if it is the right choice for you.


Building an annexe is faster and cleaner with a tiny house

Tiny houses have immense advantages over traditional annexes: they are prefabricated constructions built entirely in a factory-like environment. As a result, the building process of a tiny house annexe takes place off your property, keeping you from the common construction inconveniences such as noise, dust and prolonged movement.

Instead, the tiny house will roll straight to your property as a completely finished garden cabin following a noiseless and effortless procedure. Some minimal on-site works are still required, such as installing a light foundation and connecting to the primary services of water, sewage and electricity.


Planning permission might not be necessary for a tiny house garden annexe

Building a conventional garden annexe in Europe and the UK, in most cases, requires gaining building permits. However, with a tiny house, you are likely to skip this step. In the UK, prefabs on wheels comply with the caravan act and are exempt from planning permission [1] as long as their size doesn’t exceed 20 metres long, 6.8 metres wide and 3.05 metres high [2].

Still, keep in mind that every country follows different building regulations, and it is best to consult with your local planning officers to get to know the legal requirements of your area.

For example, Spain in most cases only requires an urban licence to install this type of small house as an annexe, which saves you the building permit process [3]. Germany acknowledges the mobility of the prefabricated tiny house in its regulations and limits its dimensions to traffic regulations [4].


Tiny houses are cheaper than traditional granny annexes

Buying a tiny house is much more affordable than building a traditional garden annexe since being built off-site and installed on wheels instead of foundations highly reduces its construction costs. On average, a tiny home costs about 48,267€ which is the final price since the house is, in most cases, delivered completely finished and furnished.

Purchasing a tiny house means purchasing a fully equipped cabin with a bedroom, a bathroom and a kitchen. Having all the interior necessities included in the price makes this construction an affordable living space. Still, despite including all the equipment, most designers offer a variety of choices to design a space that serves you well.

In some countries, tiny homes might benefit from a discount on local taxes. In France, for example, tiny homes do not pay the taxes expected for permanent buildings because they are mobile [5].


A tiny house annexe is moveable

tiny robinson model
Tiny Robinson Model

Tiny houses are transportable constructions that can be moved from one location to another. They are built on wheels and even after having been placed on a light foundation and stationed for a long period, moving a tiny house is a simple procedure.

The transportability of a tiny house turns the purchase of a garden annexe into a sustainable living solution and a safer investment, since it is a secondary accommodation that isn’t tied to one location alone. If you ever have to move to a different house, you’ll be able to bring your annexe with you to the new property.


Renting out an annexe in your garden is easier with a tiny house

A garden annexe is a great way to make some additional money by renting out the extra living space as a guest house, a holiday let or in Airbnb. Here, choosing a tiny house as your garden annexe is a really smart idea as they are a much cheaper investment and it will start being profitable quite sooner than a traditional annexe would.

Tiny houses are unique types of separate dwellings that stand out in the housing market as beautiful compact living options. These houses appear as minimal and exclusive designs that are generally very attractive to guests.


Is a tiny house a good choice for your garden annexe?

Buying a tiny house as a garden annexe has many benefits and is a good choice for most. To help you figure out if a tiny house is a good fit for your garden annexe, we have listed the most important aspects that you should take into consideration when making this decision.

  • You want minimal disruption in your garden: A tiny house will reduce the damage to your garden and avoid having to landscape or plant again after the construction of the annexe is complete since the on-site works are minimal.
  • You need an annexe as soon as possible: An annexe can solve a family emergency as maybe a loved relative needs a place to stay right away. Purchasing a tiny house is a guarantee that the annexe will be ready to be lived in with no delays.
  • Your budget is reduced: Tiny homes are an affordable solution and have pretty much no additional costs as they are delivered turnkey.
  • Your intention is to holiday let the annexe: Prefabricated tiny homes are very popular holiday stays that easily attract visitors.


Frequently Asked Questions

Putting a toilet and a kitchen in an outbuilding without planning permission

Granny annexe buildings are self-contained living spaces that are equipped with all the fixtures to live in them. In the UK in particular, for an annexe to comply with the caravan act, having a toilet and a kitchen is expected as it should adapt the space for human habitation in order to be classified as a caravan [2].

Still, if your annexe serves a different function, such as a garden office, you are not obliged to provide a kitchen or toilet.

Do you pay Council Tax on a tiny house annexe in the UK?

In the UK, if the annexe is built as a domestic property, it is expected to pay council tax even if it is classified as a caravan. However, the UK government offers 50% discounts on tax bills to those garden annexes built to provide care for elderly parents, disabled relatives or kids under the age of 18 [6].


[1](March 2015) Mobile Homes Act 2012: A Best Practice Guide for Local Authorities on Enforcement of the New Site Licensing Regime Department for Communities and Local Government
[2](2022, August 5) HM Revenue & Customs Guidance: Caravans and houseboats (VAT Notice 701/20) Government UK
[3](2021, April 21) G. Martinez, E. Permisos y licencias para construir una casa prefabricada en España Idealista
[4]Tiny House Cultures in Comparison – Germany, USA, Netherlands live
[5]Mobile Homes and Caravans in France
[6]Hopkins, K. & the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (2015, March 25) Thousands of granny flats benefiting from Council Tax cut Government UK

Featured image: Tiny Green II model

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