Tiny House Too Small? Sweden Says Yes

Jan Norden/Screen capture

There's a definite shortage of student housing in Sweden -- more than 250,000 students lack a place to call their own, and in typical Swedish fashion, the way to get housing is to wait in a queue...and wait, and wait, and wait.

That's an opportunity for builders, and also a challenge: Swedish apartments already tend to be smaller than the average American apartment, but now housing company AF Bostader has introduced a truly tiny living space.

Only 94 Square Feet

A compact 8,8 square meters (94 square feet), the standalone house at Kämnarsvägen 57 is plopped down on a grassy plot separating some other multi-unit student apartment buildings. The tiny house, built as a pilot project, has a sleeping loft, a kitchen with 'pentry', a bathroom with shower, and a living space, and is also equipped with a very small raised front deck, big enough for a potted plant.

But the Swedish Housing Authority says the cute tiny house is just a bit too tiny.

Jan Norden/Screen capture

In the Shower on the Toilet...

It is small -- you are in the shower when you sit on the toilet, and from there you can also reach out and touch your stove. Counter space is at a premium. When you open your front door you step directly onto a common walkway. Skylights and pale woods used for built in furniture make the house seem airy and cozy at the same time, however.

The Housing Authority's rules say student living spaces should be between 24 and 26 (258 - 279) square meters to fulfill all of the different requirements of housing - such as wheelchair access. That size puts the rent at 50,000 Swedish crowns ($7,700) per year.

AF Bostader's new tiny house will be rented for just 30,000 Swedish crowns ($4,400) annually.

The company hopes that the Housing Authority will relax its rules so that the company can build about 100 units of new student housing at a more compact size - not quite as tiny as this pilot house, yet still far smaller than Housing Authority rules.

The Authority gave AF Bostader a temporary building permit to try the experimental tiny house. AF Bostader will now give away a rental contract through a contest -- the student writing the most compelling argument for why he or she should live there will get the three-year rental contract.

Tags: Green Building | Housing Industry | Sweden