Land & Housing
Housing affordability is a concern for local governments around Australia. This is to our advantage because what we are doing addresses the issue of housing affordability and unemployment. We want to legally live in tiny houses. We also want a workable governance environment that will enable a cohesive community. We believe the approach we describe below meets all of these objectives.
This page has three sections:
Building & buying
Land rights of residents.
Why we are setting up as a caravan park.
How we will build
We will come up with a few design options and construction methods of building tiny houses that are relocatable or on wheels. They will:
use environmentally safe recycled materials to the largest extent possible.
be designed and built utilising passive solar principles so as to minimise the amount of energy needed to comfortably live in them
minimise costs so they are affordable
be able to be built by community members within a tiny house building facility on site.
be durable and long lasting
How we will cover building costs
The cost would be set at roughly double the cost of materials for a build.
We would use the surplus money to buy materials to build a second tiny house that we would make available to a community member on the affordable housing scheme.
If there are no members who want to buy the tiny house it would be sold on the open market for the highest price we think is fair.
Affordable housing scheme
Community residents would have the first right of refusal to purchase these tiny houses.
They could potentially pay off the material costs over time through financial or negotiated extra work participation.
Members receiving a tiny house for materials cost only would not be able to have full ownership and the right to remove the tiny house from Lyonesse till they had lived in the community for a five year period.
If after a consensus decision the resident has repaid the materials costs of the tiny home in cash or kind to the satisfaction of the community they could remove the tiny house after a five year period and the individual would be considered the full owner.
If the person left before five years they would forfeit their ownership rights of the tiny house. The person who is the longest serving member of the community would be able to obtain the tiny house through the affordable housing scheme, or in cash for twice the cost of construction.
Whose turn is it to get a tiny house built at Lyonesse
The person who has been at Lyonesse the longest would be the next person in line to receive a tiny house. There would essentially be two lines of people. A line of people who can afford to buy one for cash, and another line for those who will be getting one through the affordable housing scheme we would run.
Land rights of residents
How Lyonesse community land will be owned
We have not yet obtained legal advice to work out what the most secure form of land ownership is. We are imagining a land trust owned and controlled by the community members is probably going to be the most secure form of land title. We are seeking a form of title that is inalienable and in perpetuity.
Residents rights concerning land
All Lyonesse community residents are entitled to occupy a living site.
This right relies on the individual members contributions to the common good of the community. Members must be contributing to have a right of use of a living site.
The expectations of each member will vary according to capacity of each member’s interests, their physical capacity and their psychological and ethical profiles.
There are always going to be jobs that nobody will want to do which will be critical to the smooth operation of the community. Each member is expected to contribute equally to participating in these jobs with consideration given to their capacity to do so.
We will need to come up with some extra strategies if we have a shortage of tiny house sites in future.
Lifetime use of a site
The Lyonesse project will require substantial amounts of money to cover set-up costs. It will also require a lot of hard work. We would like to reward members that demonstrate substantial energy and financial contributions to the community with their own site for their lifetime.
This right of a lifetime site will still have the same participation expectations attached to it. Failure to meet expectations in relation to contributions will have the same repercussions as it does for general members.
Acorn Community has provision for people to financially contribute to the community as compensation for their lack of ability to physically involve themselves with the life of the community if they are in committed full time work that they love doing. This is something we will also consider as well.
Please see the Community Rules section for matters concerning the eviction process.
Why are we setting up as a caravan park?
Our investigations have revealed to us that the only way we can legally operate a tiny house on wheels community is under the local government regulations for a caravan park.
Having come to the conclusion that we cannot set Lyonesse up in any other way our next step was to look at the planning requirements under the caravan park regulations. We feel we can meet most of the requirements of the regulations. However, we will need to apply for exemptions for some conditions. Please feel free to ask us for details if you are interested in knowing more.
We think a council like Lismore City Council would readily grant the exemptions. They are accustomed to shared use of land and they actively promote the toilet and waste water solutions we want to adopt.
We know there are other local government areas in the NSW north coast and mid north coast region where community land title also exists as well. We anticipate the willingness get development approval will vary from council to council.
Other reasons why we want to develop Lyonesse using Caravan Park regulations:
We can expect from time to time that we will have members that are in conflict with the community who will refuse to leave. Even though our community agreements and processes are designed to prevent conflict and deal with it when it does occur we will not always be successful. We may need a legal way of evicting people who refuse leave. This is a very straightforward process under the Caravan Park regulations.
We will actively avoid individual exclusive ownership of land because this presents significant legal obstacles for evicting people that are disrupting community life.
Please note: Our commitment to egalitarian values, environmental sustainability and our alignment with earth based spiritual cultures are things that are not up for negotiation. These are our cultural intentions that will make Lyonesse unique and different from other places. The strategies on this and other pages will evolve to better meet our cultural purposes. If you think something does not sound like it is in keeping with our cultural aspirations then please let us know. We want to have rules, structures and processes that have continuity and are fair to everyone.