Frequently asked questions
Where can I park my house and do I need to apply for a building permit?
The rules for setting up a tiny house differ from country to country. Here we shortly summarize the Swedish regulations. Let us know if you would like to get some info on the rules in other countries.
In Sweden, it is “Boverket” (the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning) that sets the rules for setting up houses on wheels, ie, where and for how long you can set up your tiny house, and whether a building permit is required or not. However, it is the municipalities that interpret Boverket's regulations. Therefore, different rules apply in different municipalities and one and the same municipality may have different rules when it comes to urban, rural or sparsely populated areas.
Therefore, consult with the administration in the municipality where you want to set up your tiny home to see what rules apply at the intended location.
We build our houses following well established techniques using building materials suggested by i.a. trade associations. As far as possible, we also follow the rules laid out by the Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning. Note however, that the concept of a lightweight tiny house itself makes it impossible to follow all rules set out for applying for a regular building permit of a permanent residence.
One example: Since our houses need to weigh less than 3,5t for you to be allowed to pull them by car, we work very hard on saving weight in any way possible. Amongst other measurements, we need to build the walls somewhat thinner and less well insulated than stipulated by the rules and regulations for permanent residences. Our houses are used all-year-round by most of our customers in all of Scandinavia and from experience are just as warm and cozy as a regular house even on the coldest winter days. But they do not meet the very strict insulation values set out by the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning for applying for a building permit of a permanent residence.
Our customers solve this conundrum in three different ways:
1. Your tiny home meets the requirements for an
“attefallshus”: Attefallshus may be built in the immediate vicinity of a one- or two-dwelling house. The total building area of all attefallshus on the same plot must not exceed 30 sqm, and the maximum height from the ground to the ridge may not exceed 4 m. Before erection, you need to make a report to the building committee. It is also important to keep in mind that special permits are required within e.g. beach protection areas or near public roads. If your tiny home cannot be classified as an attefallshus, you must apply for a building permit.
2. You can apply for a holiday home building permit, which has fewer and less strict requirements than a permanent residence building permit. Nothing stops you from using this holiday home all-year-round!
3. You can apply for a temporary
Remember also that you must inform your municipality, which rules apply to “enskild avlopp” at the exact place where you want to set up your tiny home. Further down in the FAQ, we have gathered the most important information.
Can I pull my tiny house behind the car?
Do you want to be able to move at any time and pull your house behind a regular car? With both SMALL & LARGE house this is possible.
It is above all the weight that determines how easy it will be to move your tiny house:
Maximum 3.5 t
If your house weighs a maximum of 3,5t, you can pull it behind the car at 80 km/h. To do so legally, you need to have at least a
BE class driving license
. You will also need a fairly strong car that has a sufficiently high approved trailer weight. See a list below.
Examples of cars that can pull 3,5 t:
● VW Amarok
● Cadillac Escalade
● Audi Q7
● Isuzu D-Max
● Jeep Grand Cherokee
● Lamborghini Urus
● Land Rover Defender
● Land Rover Discovery
● Mercedes Benz G-Class
● Mercedes Benz GL Class
● Mercedes Benz GLE
● Mitsubishi Pajero
● Nissan Pathfinder
● Porsche Cayenne
● Range Rover
● Range Rover Sport
● Ssangyong Rexton
● Toyota Land Cruiser
● VW Touareg
How big can my house be?
The height - 4 m is optimal
On Sweden's roads we have a free height of 4,5 m. In large parts of the rest of Europe the free height is 4,0 m. Building a maximum of 4,0 m high is also advantageous, if you want to be able to classify your tiny house as an
“attefallshus” that can simplify the set-up (see further up). In this case, the house must also not be larger than 30 sqm.
The width - 2,5 m or 3,1 m is optimal
Regarding the width, in Sweden no special permit or accompanying car is needed, only a "wide load" sign if the house is not wider than 3,1 m. In many other countries, however, other rules apply, but if the house is not wider than 2,5 m, you can transport your house on roads throughout Europe.
Length - up to 12 m is practical
The length is mostly limited by what is practical to transport and up to 12 m is no problem. However, you should also remember not to build too long a house if you want to classify the house as an “attefallshus”.
To follow both the rules on the roads and the attefallshus rules, we build our most mobile houses in size
LARGE at a maximum of 4 m height, 2,5 m width and 7,3 m length. Our houses in the size
SMALL we build even smaller: 2,5 * 2,3 * 6 m (h * b * l) - this way they fit in a regular truck and the transport cost is very cheap.
What to do with the wastewater from the kitchen and the bathroom?
Again, the rules differ from differ from country to country. Here we shortly summarize the Swedish regulations. Let us know if you would like to get some info on the rules in other countries.
“Miljönämnden” informs, the property owner is responsible for the planning.
Even if the sewer system itself is connected on the outside of your tiny house afterwards, it is good to plan well in advance how you will take care of your wastewater. It is the Miljönämnden that informs about the requirements for sewage treatment. These requirements vary both from place to place and municipality to municipality. What is to be included in the registration / application for enskilda avlopp is also different in different municipalities.
Here you can find a lot of good information about your responsibilities as a property owner and what different technical solutions are available. If you already know exactly where your house on wheels will stand for a long time, you can contact the environmental office in that particular municipality to hear what applies right there.
We recommend a dry toilet
Water toilets account for about 20% of the total water use in an ordinary household, and for the majority of nutrients and infectious substances in the sewer. Therefore, we strongly recommend installing a dry toilet instead of a water toilet in your tiny house. That way you can save a lot of water and the management of your wastewater becomes easier, cheaper and more environmentally friendly.
Here you will find a good overview of different types of dry toilets, such as incineration toilet, packaging and freezer toilet. As with the wastewater, it is the Miljönämnden that decides how you need to take care of the latrine waste.
If you cannot connect your sewer to an existing treatment plant at the site where your tiny house is parked, there are several
simple technology solutions for treating wastewater that do not have to cost much or take up much space. The most common are wastewater filters, mini treatment plants or plant-based treatment plants. If you use biodegradable laundry products and limit your water consumption, the environmental office can also approve that you discharge your sewage directly into the ground without connecting any treatment plant in between.
Can you become self-sufficient in electricity, heat & water?
We are often asked if it is possible to have a tiny house that is completely self-sufficient or "off-grid" regarding electricity, heating & water. The short answer to this question is: Absolutely! Today, there is a whole host of clever solutions for the own production of electricity & heat as well as the harvesting and filtration of water. Here we try to give a quick overview of different technical solutions that we can install in your tiny house:
Electricity and Heat
The renewable energy source that we consider most practical for off-grid electricity production for your tiny house is solar energy. To figure out what is needed for energy harvested by solar cells to cover your energy needs, you first need to get an idea of your own electricity consumption:
The average consumption of household electricity (electrical appliances and lighting) in an apartment in Sweden is about
2000 -4000 kWh per year. However, this consumption can be significantly reduced through some conscious choices. In this regards, the heating of the house is the most important thing to keep in mind, because heating is what consumes the most energy. Two solutions that do not require electricity are to heat the house with a wood stove or gas stove. LPG can also be used to heat water, power the cooktop, oven, refrigerator and even the combustion toilet. If you further invest in energy-efficient LED lamps for lighting, you can reduce the annual consumption of all household appliances to about 600-1000 kWh.
There are many good sites or
apps that you can use to keep track of your own electricity needs.
Perhaps the most obvious solution for electricity production is solar cells. To be able to use solar electricty generated in 24V or 48V, you need to install an inverter that converts electricity to 230V. Excess electricity, which is not used immediately, is then stored in a battery bank consisting of "deep cycle" batteries that should be able to store electricity corresponding to the need for about three days without production. Another alternative is that you choose to connect to the electricity grid via an electricity company. Excess electricity is then fed into the electricity grid, and this credit can later be used in the event of a deficit.
The most common size of solar cells is 1.6m * 1m and the power s about 250-350 W per solar hour, however most commonly 265 W. The solar hours in Sweden
vary between 1000-2000 h. The average amount of energy a single solar cell can generate in Sweden is thus about 400 kWh per year. To cover the energy needs in an energy-efficient tiny house, you would therefore need 2-3 solar cells.
The problem with solar cells, however, is that the number of
hours of sunshine per month varies greatly and we get the least hours of sunshine, when most electricity is needed (precisely because it is darkest and coldest then). In Uppsala, where Vagabond Haven is located, two solar cells would produce 15 kWh in the dark month of January… just when you actually would need about 200 kWh of electricity if you would use an electric radiator to help heat the house those parts of the day where you do not want or can use the stove!
You can also become off-grid regarding water consumption… both by saving water, and by harvesting your own water: Either the water is pumped up from a well or a watercourse or to be most flexible,
rainwater is collected and filtered. A slightly cheaper and technically less complicated solution is that we install a water tank in your house that you can fill up manually. An own pump then supplies the household with the water from the tank.
Do you want to know more about our various off-grid solutions?
Here we will tell you more.
How is my house delivered and what do I have to prepare?
We deliver your tiny house pre-assembled and ready to move in directly to your desired location. How your house is delivered depends on the size. And in order not to become too technical here, we only give a quick overview, how delivery and set-up are done. We will of course tell you in much more detail what to consider when ordering your house.
These houses come as standard on a platform of glulam beams but can also be mounted on a trailer. We can deliver them in three different ways: 1) With a regular truck. In that case, you need to unload the house yourself with a forklift or crane. 2) With a crane truck including unloading. 3) If you buy the house on a trailer, we will pull it by car to your desired location. The only ground preparation you need to do is a simple foundation of concrete blocks, on which your house can be placed. Water and electricity can be easily connected to the outlets and inlets located on the outside of your house.
These houses come on a trailer that can be pulled behind the car if you have the BE driving license (read more about this further up.) We then pull them behind the car to your desired location. As with the houses in size SMALL, the only ground preparation you need to do is lay out some concrete blocks on which the support legs of your house can be placed. Water and electricity can be easily connected to the outlets and inlets located on the outside of your house.
How do you get electricity and water to your house?
As standard, we assume that there is electricity, water and a functioning sewer system at the place where you plan to set up your tiny house. If so, it is very easy to connect your house.
In reality, however, it is often the case that one or the other is missing. For such cases, we have prepared a number of "off-grid" solutions: everything from various dry toilets, to solar systems, rainwater systems and mini treatment plants.
Do you build completely customized houses based on customers’ own design?
In the beginning, almost every other house we built was a completely custom-tailored design built according to an individual customer's wishes.
Even now, we still sometimes build fully customized models. However, as this is extremely time consuming, we can only offer this service if we have time for it between all the orders we get of our own models. Get in touch and we can check if there is such an opening right now.
Furthermore, we already offer very many ways to adapt our models to your needs and ideas - both in terms of materials used, the furnishing, the colors, etc. Each order is therefore unique in style and appearance.
Can one see your houses in real life somewhere?
We have exhibitions of our model Elise and a microhouse every other Sunday at 11 am and every other Wednesday at 3 pm here in Uppsala where we have our head office.
You can easily register
Are your houses being built in Sweden?
No, not anymore. In the beginning, we built all our houses here in Uppsala, where we still have our head office. Nowadays we work together with three fantastic partners who build our houses for us: Our houses in size
SMALL are built by TimberArt in Latvia. Our most mobile houses in size
LARGE, which many consider to be the classic tiny houses, are built by our partners from Aurora Company in Poland.
From these two workshops, the houses are delivered to all over Scandinavia and the rest of Europe. But all the contact and help you still get from the Vagabond Haven team located here in Uppsala, Sweden.
As a Norwegian customer, do you need to pay VAT or any customs duty?
VAT works like this: The prices on the website are incl. 25% Swedish VAT. To all customers in Norway, we sell the houses without VAT (Price - 25% Swedish VAT). If you buy as a Norwegian private individual, you will then be called by the Norwegian customs upon import and you need to pay the Norwegian VAT, which is also 25%, before the house is sent on. If you buy as a Norwegian company, you never have to pay any VAT
Summary: As a Norwegian private individual, the cost will be exactly the same as on the website (25% Swedish VAT is deducted & 25% Norwegian VAT is added); as a norwegian company, the cost is the price on the website minus 25% swedish VAT.
We are responsible for all other customs duties!