I’m a military vet who built my tiny home with my entire life savings from scratch – now officials want to tear it down | Englishheadline


A VETERAN who had worked hard to build their tiny home was told by officials that it had to be demolished.

A man who had invested his life savings into building the tiny home of his dreams could potentially have to take it down.

Byron Shire Council currently has a demolition order against a military veteran


Byron Shire Council currently has a demolition order against a military veteranCredit: Getty
Matt Bruce used his life's savings to build a tiny home, and now it might have to be demolished


Matt Bruce used his life’s savings to build a tiny home, and now it might have to be demolishedCredit: Getty

Matt Bruce, 38 had lived on the edge of his friend’s 57-hectare (140 acres) property in Mullumbimby, Australia for over three years.

However, despite a peaceful living situation,  Byron Shire Council has asked for the house to be demolished.

“Council acknowledges that the attached … Demolish Works Order … may have the effect of making any resident of the subject dwelling homeless,” The letter obtained by The Guardian reads.

“Therefore Council provides the contact details of the following agencies to assist in finding alternative accommodation.”

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Issues first arose 20 months prior when they had determined that Bruce’s tiny home was considered a permanent dwelling which is against their policy.

They gave the tiny homeowner a grace period to prove that the dwelling could be moved.

If the house could be classified as a caravan, it would be under the approved ways to stay on a homeowner’s property.

However, a flood in the area, made it much harder to prove the house could move and limiting Bruce’s options.

Now, to keep his home, Bruce needs to move his tiny house next to the main property, an option that would cost the veteran thousands of dollars.

“We’ve got 140 acres of land, and you’re forcing us to have houses next to each other,” Bruce says.

“It makes no sense.”

According to Byron Shire council’s director of sustainable environment and economy, Shannon Burt, told the publication while they don’t like to speak on specific cases they are handling the current issue.

“This matter was first raised as a complaint to council regarding unauthorized land clearing and an unapproved dwelling on the land. This matter is ongoing,” Burt says.

“Our staff, especially those in the enforcement team, are extremely professional, dealing with a number of issues with compassion and with a strong desire to find reasonable solutions and resolutions to often complex problems. This situation is no different.”

The mayor of Byron Shire council, Michael Lyon, also chimed in empathizing with Bruce, but clarifying that they can’t bend the rules.

“We cannot allow precedents of development in prohibited zones or it becomes open slather,” Lyon said.

Bruce claimed that fighting for his home against the council has negatively impacted his mental health, and triggered his PTSD.

“It’s my life savings, it’s all I have,” he says.

“I’ve healed a lot, but it doesn’t mean I’m resilient to go through all life circumstances.”

As of now, If Bruce cannot argue that his home can move, he will lose everything.

His landlord has been issued a fine by the council during the whole ordeal totalling $9,000, for “development without consent”.

“The council basically come out and took one look at it and decided that it’s a permanent dwelling,” he says.

“So [they say] it’s like a fixed house, it’s not a tiny house.

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“It’s a moveable dwelling,” Bruce says. “It’s the size of a trailer.”

The US Sun has reached out to the mayor and Byron Shire Council for comment.

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