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Old 05.11.2015, 05:18
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Question about Permits (Tiny House, Off-Grid Possibly)!!!

Hey guys!
my name is Ramtin... they call me Rammy. u can call me whatever the hell you want! lol

so i live with my Swiss girlfriend in Canada. here together for over 10 years now... we are thinking of building ourself a lovely tiny house on wheels! let me start by saying that if you do not understand living in a tiny house, do yourself and me a favour, stop reading, move along!....

Question i have is, does anyone living in Switzerland know at one point you need permits for houses in Switzerland? let's say your house was on wheels and it was completely off-grid.

Plan is we have to stay in Canada to pay a few things off before we even can think of moving but we might! we might even move to Switzerland with that same house we're gonna build.. or British Columbia... who knows what the future has to offer??!!

anyways, i'd really appreciate if you gave me some information about Swiss laws on permits and stuff my girlfriend has been here in Canada so she's a bit out of the loop! lol

thanks in advance!
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Old 05.11.2015, 08:26
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Re: Question about Permits (Tiny House, Off-Grid Possibly)!!!

Even a garden shed generally needs planning permission here, so I can't imagine a house wouldn't.

The precise requirements for obtaining that permission vary from canton to canton, and even from village to village. To get an authoritative answer you really have to ask the planning department of whichever specific village you are thinking of buying land in.

In your favor: one of you is Swiss and (presumably) speaks a Swiss national language. This means you will be able to at least read the answers you get.
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Old 05.11.2015, 08:50
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Re: Question about Permits (Tiny House, Off-Grid Possibly)!!!

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Even a garden shed generally needs planning permission here, so I can't imagine a house wouldn't.
Yes and no - it's not always so clear cut and certainly can vary from authority to authority.

To use the garden shed example - if it's set on a prepared base and secured to said base, then it's seen as permanent and will require permission.
However, if it's just 'plonked' down somewhere and can be moved or repositioned, then, as a temporary structure, is not subject to permission.

This can change, though, depending on it's proximity to the land border and if it is visibly obtrusive.

Someone at the end of our street, where it finishes and becomes a footpath, has a shed sitting on two pallets in the corner of the paved street. I would guess that this didn't have or need permission (as it probably wouldn't have been granted).

So a house on wheels could be a real anomaly and fall into a grey area, but will undoubtedly be subject to the individual regulations of the authority in whose area of administration, it would be sited.

So unlikely that a clearcut answer can be gleamed, here.

Although, having said that, as soon as permanent amenities are created - such as plumbing, electricity, etc., - I would guess that then creates a level of permancy and therfore will be subject to requiring the relevant permissions.
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Old 05.11.2015, 08:53
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Re: Question about Permits (Tiny House, Off-Grid Possibly)!!!

It's also not just a question of building a house. Assuming you're a non-EU citizen you can't just turn up here and move in, despite being with your Swiss girlfriend. You either need to have a pre-approved job offer here or your girlfriend has to apply for a concubine permit for you - to get that she'll need to agree to be financially responsible for you for 5 years and I don't know if you could work with that type of permit. If she doesn't have a job, then she's not going to be able to meet that requirement.

As far as the house itself goes, this website might help.

http://www.latinyhouse.com/le-c%C3%B...A9-l%C3%A9gal/

Seems you don't need planning permission, but without special permission have to move it every 3 months.

Frankly I'd just buy a caravan, but then I would never want to live in such a tiny space anyway.
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Old 05.11.2015, 09:15
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Re: Question about Permits (Tiny House, Off-Grid Possibly)!!!

Actually even non-permanently-secured-to-ground buildings (Fahrnisbauten) are subject to planning permission if they are to remain in one place for an extended period of time.

(Many cantons and municipalities do have exemptions for Fahrnisbauten under a certain size - whether you'll find any of these exemptions generous enough to allow for even the tiniest of tiny houses is another question! In canton Zürich for example it's only up to 2 square meters by 1.5m high.)

And of course the other problem is that, as a foreigner resident in Switzerland, you need a fixed address to register at the Einwohneramt. At some point "this isn't a permanent installation, look it's on wheels" is likely to run up against "fine, where DO you live then?"
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Old 05.11.2015, 09:20
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Re: Question about Permits (Tiny House, Off-Grid Possibly)!!!

Most small villages in Switzerland have a "Zuendler" who is responsible to ensuring that any temporary structures are temporary and not actually permanent structures masquerading as temporary ones.

They usually enlighten anyone staying in such a structure.
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Old 05.11.2015, 09:49
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Re: Question about Permits (Tiny House, Off-Grid Possibly)!!!

Your planned existence in Switzerland could likely be classified as Fahrende (traveller). Fortunately in Switzerland there are normally associations and Stiftungen for about everything. Various traveller organizations are listed at this link:

http://www.stiftung-fahrende.ch/gesc...organisationen
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Old 05.11.2015, 14:55
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Thanks for all your replies guys! This forum is very helpful!
So let's say we do need a permit, what's the total cost anyways? For a tiny house like that, what would be the Maximum someone would have to pay ?

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It's also not just a question of building a house. Assuming you're a non-EU citizen you can't just turn up here and move in, despite being with your Swiss girlfriend. You either need to have a pre-approved job offer here or your girlfriend has to apply for a concubine permit for you - to get that she'll need to agree to be financially responsible for you for 5 years and I don't know if you could work with that type of permit. If she doesn't have a job, then she's not going to be able to meet that requirement.

As far as the house itself goes, this website might help.

http://www.latinyhouse.com/le-c%C3%B...A9-l%C3%A9gal/

Seems you don't need planning permission, but without special permission have to move it every 3 months.

Frankly I'd just buy a caravan, but then I would never want to live in such a tiny space anyway.


Thanks Medea

This actually helped

Yes I am aware of the fact that I need to get my papers figured out first. That goes without saying anywhere you wanna go. Specially this wonderful special little country of Switzerland. I've been there 6 times and I just can't get enough!
I knew that my girlfriend being Swiss could help me but if you do have any links about starting the process, please do let me know. I appreciate your time.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 05.11.2015 at 17:06. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 05.11.2015, 15:09
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Re: Question about Permits (Tiny House, Off-Grid Possibly)!!!

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Your planned existence in Switzerland could likely be classified as Fahrende (traveller). Fortunately in Switzerland there are normally associations and Stiftungen for about everything. Various traveller organizations are listed at this link:

http://www.stiftung-fahrende.ch/gesc...organisationen
Cough. A Canadian in a house on wheels is not a "Fahrender". That term is what is these days politically correct for "gipsy" - specific ethnical groups that have formed associations to help each other as their traditional nomadic life style does not really work that well in modern societies. It's not the same thing as the local caravan club.
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Old 05.11.2015, 15:13
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Re: Question about Permits (Tiny House, Off-Grid Possibly)!!!

This may help with the documents you'll need to provide.

http://www.vd.ch/themes/vie-privee/p...s-du-concubin/

But it's best to contact the cantonal migration office where you plan to live to find out if their requirements differ in any way.

She'd need to move back here first and get established (job, place to live) and then apply for a concubine permit for you. If she can meet the requirements then a permit will be issued. You'll also need to apply for a Type D visa in Canada at the Swiss embassy there so you can enter Switzerland long term legally. If the permit is approved the visa will be issued and stamped in your passport.
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Old 05.11.2015, 15:36
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Cough. A Canadian in a house on wheels is not a "Fahrender". That term is what is these days politically correct for "gipsy" - specific ethnical groups that have formed associations to help each other as their traditional nomadic life style does not really work that well in modern societies. It's not the same thing as the local caravan club.
they can call me whatever they want! gipsy, fahrender or fartrender! i just wanna be in the mountains! lol

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This may help with the documents you'll need to provide.

http://www.vd.ch/themes/vie-privee/p...s-du-concubin/

But it's best to contact the cantonal migration office where you plan to live to find out if their requirements differ in any way.

She'd need to move back here first and get established (job, place to live) and then apply for a concubine permit for you. If she can meet the requirements then a permit will be issued. You'll also need to apply for a Type D visa in Canada at the Swiss embassy there so you can enter Switzerland long term legally. If the permit is approved the visa will be issued and stamped in your passport.
she would have no problem doing that. she has family, property and tons of experience that she could get a job in no time.
but i wanna work too so whatever my permit will be, it has to allow me to work. at LEAST part time.

you picked the right Canton! that's where her family is haha!

had so much fun backpacking the Alps this summer! AH i miss Switzerland so much!!!

Last edited by 3Wishes; 05.11.2015 at 17:08. Reason: merging consecutive replies; try the multi-quote button (to the right of Quote). ;)
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Old 05.11.2015, 15:52
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Re: Question about Permits (Tiny House, Off-Grid Possibly)!!!

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Thanks for all your replies guys! This forum is very helpful!
So let's say we do need a permit, what's the total cost anyways? For a tiny house like that, what would be the Maximum someone would have to pay ?
No one can tell you except the canton/commune you plan to set up home in. Each will have different rules so saying Zurich will cost you this means nothing in Basel which will have different rules/costs, etc. Get your girlfriend or her family to talk to the Vaud migration office and their commune office if that's where you want to try and arrange this.
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Old 05.11.2015, 15:53
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Re: Question about Permits (Tiny House, Off-Grid Possibly)!!!

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No one can tell you except the canton/commune you plan to set up home in. Each will have different rules so saying Zurich will cost you this means nothing in Basel which will have different rules/costs, etc. Get your girlfriend or her family to talk to the Vaud migration office and their commune office if that's where you want to try and arrange this.
thanks Medea you have been very helpful
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Old 05.11.2015, 17:25
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Re: Question about Permits (Tiny House, Off-Grid Possibly)!!!

You could probably only put this house in a mobile home park.getting space in one will be difficult and not all of them allow full time residency.

I know of three in Vaud. I'm sure there are more. Start by contacting them. You might have to put your name on a waiting list. So do that now!
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Old 05.11.2015, 17:38
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Re: Question about Permits (Tiny House, Off-Grid Possibly)!!!

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Thanks for all your replies guys! This forum is very helpful!
So let's say we do need a permit, what's the total cost anyways? For a tiny house like that, what would be the Maximum someone would have to pay ?
As someone else said, costs vary drastically from one location to another... but I suspect a bigger hurdle than saving the application fee for a permit is going to be designing a house that will get a permit. Your plan will have to adhere to local fire and electrical code, for a start - and again, these vary from place to place. There's also all sorts of zoning-based regulation (some of it on a sub-municipal level) on what style of windows you must use, how high your doorstep is allowed to be, etc.

Easiest way to get this all lined up is to work with a local architect who knows the local codes inside out, but that's hardly going to be cheap. If you do it yourself be prepared for years of designing and submitting and re-designing. But hey, that'll give you time to save up for the cost of building the thing
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Old 05.11.2015, 17:43
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Re: Question about Permits (Tiny House, Off-Grid Possibly)!!!

Yeah, doubt you'll be able to park it just anywhere. It'll be either on a camp/caravan site somewhere or on land you already own.
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Old 06.11.2015, 01:08
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Re: Question about Permits (Tiny House, Off-Grid Possibly)!!!

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Yeah, doubt you'll be able to park it just anywhere. It'll be either on a camp/caravan site somewhere or on land you already own.
not worried about the land. my girlfriend's family have lands they can give us. important thing is the law and the rules. but some people have mentioned building codes which is different everywhere. it's a tricky thing. it might be best if i get in touch with her family so they can find all that for me.. her brother recently made a new home with B&B in Les Rasses. lovely view. if anyone wants let me know and i might be able to hook u up with a good price :P
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Old 06.11.2015, 01:57
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Re: Question about Permits (Tiny House, Off-Grid Possibly)!!!

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they can call me whatever they want! gipsy, fahrender or fartrender! i just wanna be in the mountains! lol


Ahh you really don't want to be called that even in passing...
Great optimism. Please try to remember this moment after you have been here for 6 months...
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Old 06.11.2015, 02:03
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Re: Question about Permits (Tiny House, Off-Grid Possibly)!!!

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not worried about the land. my girlfriend's family have lands they can give us. important thing is the law and the rules. but some people have mentioned building codes which is different everywhere. it's a tricky thing. it might be best if i get in touch with her family so they can find all that for me.. her brother recently made a new home with B&B in Les Rasses. lovely view. if anyone wants let me know and i might be able to hook u up with a good price :P
Don't just assume that because your girlfriend's family have some land they can "give you" that you'll get permission to built on it, nor a permit to place what is basically a Mobile Home on it.
If it was really as easy as that both my sons would have built their own houses years ago....

If her family can actually provide land then start from there; they/your girlfriend then needs to contact whichever commune that particular patch of land is under and find out what the rules and regulations are for that commune. Things such as access, visibility, neighbours, services, etc. will affect any possible permits.
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Old 06.11.2015, 02:47
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Don't just assume that because your girlfriend's family have some land they can "give you" that you'll get permission to built on it, nor a permit to place what is basically a Mobile Home on it.
If it was really as easy as that both my sons would have built their own houses years ago....

If her family can actually provide land then start from there; they/your girlfriend then needs to contact whichever commune that particular patch of land is under and find out what the rules and regulations are for that commune. Things such as access, visibility, neighbours, services, etc. will affect any possible permits.
you obviously haven't been reading my text at all.

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Ahh you really don't want to be called that even in passing...
Great optimism. Please try to remember this moment after you have been here for 6 months...
u don't know me

Last edited by 3Wishes; 06.11.2015 at 17:01. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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