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Peachland, B.C. couple in dispute with regional district over living in tiny home

Click to play video: 'Peachland man fighting to stay in his tiny home'
Peachland man fighting to stay in his tiny home
Tiny home living is becoming increasingly popular, but it's not always easy to do within regulations. A Peachland man is pushing for change amid his ongoing battle with the regional district over his tiny home. As Taya Fast reports, he was unaware that he was in breach of any bylaws when he built it on his own 12-acre property. – Dec 28, 2023

An Okanagan man says he’s been living a quiet and sustainable lifestyle in a tiny home on his 12-acre property near Peachland, B.C., for seven years.

Ryan King built the tiny home on wheels to building code for around $25,000, with the intention of permanently living in it year-round with his wife and pets.

“I’m rarely ever inside, so that’s why I bought a big piece of land — to live in a tiny home, whereas most people live in a big home on a small piece of land,” said King.

“Cost effective and simple. I am always outside doing something, so why would I need a 4000-square-foot house?”

Click to play video: 'Vernon couple fined for living in their RV'
Vernon couple fined for living in their RV

According to King, he and his wife have lived there without an issue, until recently when a neighbour filed a complaint about his living situation.

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King says that resulted in an ongoing battle for the past three years with the Regional District of the Central Okanagan (RDCO) to remain living in his tiny home on wheels.

“Periodically, they pay me a visit randomly and they have been giving me these little $100 fines here and there for unpermitted use of land. In other words, living in a tiny home on my property,” said King.

“It’s been nothing major, but over the last few years it has accumulated to about $1,000 in fines.”

According to regional district regulations, using an RV as a permanent dwelling is not allowed in the Okanagan. King’s tiny home falls under this bylaw as it is built on wheels.

However, King believes he should be able to live on his own land as he decides.

“You can have trailers and RVs on a piece of land, but as long as there is a permanent dwelling like a house in place. I was unaware of that and four years of living here they came knocking. And I said, ‘What do you mean I can’t live on my own land in a tiny home?’” said King.

“I don’t see what I’m doing wrong here. I’m on a 12-acre plot of land where no one can see or hear me, and I’ve asked the RDCO this question multiple times, ‘What harm am I doing and who am I bothering?’”

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Click to play video: 'Vernon couple living in RV allowed to stay'
Vernon couple living in RV allowed to stay

Since the dispute started, King says he’s taken steps to try and meet the regulations in order to stay living in his tiny home, but has been unsuccessful.

“I took the steps to actually erect a structure, a house at the top of the property. Got the land surveyed, septic done, BC Hydro has been out here, building drawings, you name it,” he said.

“I started my build, but my building permit expired, and they are refusing to renew it unless I take everything off my property.”

In an email King shared with Global News, the RDCO stated King’s property was deemed non-compliant as he has not started construction and has been living in an RV for a permanent extended period of time.

The RDCO’s email said its bylaw department also received complaints regarding the property, and renewing King’s building permit is ‘not appropriate at this time.’

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“As we discussed on the phone, you must reconsider your options, but renewing your permit and continuing to live in your RV is not an option at the present time,” reads the RDCO email to King.

“If you move your RV, any vehicles and unsightly items off the property and bring your property into compliance to the satisfaction of the Bylaw Department … I would then entertain accepting a (new) building permit application from you.”

Click to play video: '‘End of an era’ for popular Peachland campground'
‘End of an era’ for popular Peachland campground

Global News reached out to the RDCO for more information, but did not receive a response as the regional district office is closed for the holidays until Jan. 2.

Meanwhile, King is pushing for change and wants the regulations amended.

So far, more than 1,200 people have signed an online petition in support of King staying in his tiny home and having the regulations changed.

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“I think it is outdated and I think it is just kind of irrational saying that you have to build a house and can’t live in a structure like a tiny home,” said King.

“Every week we read on the news about the housing crisis, mortgage rates, inflations, everything like that and RDCO says there’s a problem. Well, I think I have a solution to the problem.”

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