Hobart has big housing problems but I believe there are also many opportunities to bring new homes to the market to help take some of the heat out of the rental market. A long time advocate for tiny living and this way of life that's growing in popularity everyday being made more do-able.
Combining the need for affordable rentals and the appeal and flexibility of tiny homes on wheels, I'm thrilled to announce I have partnered with Alderman Jeff Briscoe to bring a concept to life where tiny homes on wheels are rolled onto underutilised sites and used to provide affordable accommodation for a minimum of two years.
The first site we've approached is owned by UTAS and is currently a mid week single layer of car parking. What we're proposing would see up to 150 people housed in tiny living at around $200, including power, water and wifi.
There will undoubtably be challenges in terms of infrastructure and planning and other box ticking. I feel this as a perfect example to trial first hand the opportunities and challenges of bringing this concept to life and being able to recommend and champion regulatory changes that make sense. We don't need unnecessary and illogical barriers in the way of homes.
A Win-Win-Win-Win Concept
1. UTAS – gets to positively contribute to the housing situation by providing underutilised land, noting that UTAS has aggravated the housing situation through the removal of hotel rooms and purchased prime CBD land that could have otherwise been used for residential living. 2. Tenants – get access to dozens of brand news homes that don’t exist now. These homes would be available for around two years at $200 a week.
3. Owners – It’s a sound investment that may appeal to private owners – if it wasn’t, the concept isn’t viable. The ability to be the owner of a tiny home through this concept would be open to everyone.
4. Taxpayer – It’s a self-sufficient concept that requires zero taxpayer or council resources.
Media Release and summary information about the concept below.
Bold disruptive new concept for affordable rental homes in central Hobart
A new housing foundation is seeking to turn wasted space into desperately needed affordable rental homes in central Hobart.
Alderman Jeff Briscoe is pleased to unveil a new concept to provide an immediate solution to help address the chronic shortage of affordable rental homes.
“Housing is a serious issue, and we need affordable rentals now. I’m looking at this in my capacity as a citizen as we need immediate action, not more talkfests and reports and years dithering which is too common in local government”, Alderman Briscoe said.
The concept would see tiny homes on wheels occupy areas of Hobart which are underutilised or sitting vacant. The homes would be offered for rent at affordable rates which are critically scarce across our city and be managed by a newly formed housing focused foundation.
The concept was born out of discussions between Alderman Briscoe and Louise Elliot, President of the Tasmanian Residential Rental Property Owners Association, recognising their shared belief that we need innovative and immediate housing solutions to help meet some of the unmet demand.
“We’ve all seen the massive increases in house prices and rents. We’ve heard the stories of dozens of people through open for inspections. We need to take some of the heat out of the rental market by housing people in creative ways and tiny homes are loved by many and great use of space” Ms Elliot said.
The first site identified is owned by UTAS which is in a prime central location in Melville Street that’s used to park cars Monday to Friday (image).
“I appreciate the need for parking but using this amazing space in this way is a wasted opportunity which is why we’ve contacted UTAS to discuss our idea and how UTAS can contribute to our city’s desperate need for new homes” Alderman Briscoe said.
Tiny homes are highly transportable, and we have excellent craftsman in our state who are already producing these efficient housing solutions.
The concept would see a new Foundation formed – likely to be known as the Wanda Foundation – that would work to identify suitable parcels of land that can be leased for no or low cost and coordinate them being used for the placement of tiny homes offered on two year leases at around $200 per week.
Community leaders have already given their support to the project, including real estate heavyweight Hank Petrusma, North Hobart champion, John Kelly, and fellow Hobart City Councillor, Will Coats.
Foundation founders, Alderman Briscoe and Ms Elliot, welcomes those interested in supporting the concept as a community service – such as landscape architects, town planners, designers, engineers – and mobile home construction businesses and potential investors to contact them directly at email@example.com
About the Foundation and Project
· The intended organisation, likely to be known as the Wanda Foundation, works with property owners and the broader community to identify large parcels of land in the Hobart area that are zoned for residential use that will be developed at some point but are currently underutilised or vacant and where there is no intention for the land to be developed within the next three years longer.
· When suitable parcels of land are identified, the Foundation enters into a Head Lease with the landowner, with the land made available for lease at no or low cost.
· As land is secured, the Foundation places mobile homes on the land which would be offered for rent at affordable rates, typically on two-year leases. These housing options are intended to provide temporary housing for around two years to help bring homes to the rental market as quickly as possible.
· The mobile homes are easily transportable homes that are commonly referred to as ‘tiny homes on wheels’. The use of the housing solutions means they can be built off-site, are low impact of the site itself and can be moved to other locations as needed.
· The mobile homes would accommodate a maximum of two people and be offered for rent at $200 per week, with an annual rent increase being capped at CPI.
· The foundation develops a plan for the site and resolves planning, building and infrastructure requirements, with a focus using the site efficiency while providing a community feel with shared areas. Sites would promote a sense of community by incorporating shared outdoor living spaces and facilities.
· The foundation will manage a tender process for the procurement of the mobile homes, with the mobile homes required to meet specific standards, including those related to energy efficiency, self-sufficiency and sustainability.
· Funds raised to purchase the mobile homes and establish sites are likely to be generated through an expressions of interest process where private investors can buy into the program and ownership of a mobile home, with the upper limit expected to be $150,000. The option for equity crowdfunding is also being explored.
· Through a private ownership model, private owners would be paid the rent for the property $10,400 in rent based on an investment of around $140,000. At the end of the lease, if the owner does not agree to offer the mobile home again under another lease through the Foundation, the owner takes possession of the home and moves it from the site.
· The foundation would operate primarily on a voluntary basis and low costs basis seeking in-kind expertise where possible. The foundation would also act as property manager, site manager and body corporate manager.
· The program is not intended to provide permanent homes. The program would seek to house a broad cross section of community members.