When Mr. German and I were investigating the tiny house movement in Germany, we stumbled across an actual tiny house community about 5km (3 miles) from where we currently live!
It’s not called ‘tiny house’ though. The verb is dauercamping, which means long term camping, and is akin to living in a trailer park called a Campingplatz.
People live in these parks in what I consider to be very nice trailers. Average ones look like this:
And the sky’s the limit on fancy, but we’ve seen nicer ones like this:
They’re not always wood-cabin like. I just happened to lift these from the internet.
The Campingplatz near us has lots of amenities. Like a playground, tennis courts, communal showers, toilets, etc… It’s shared between people who live there long term, people who only visit during weekends, and transient tourist campers who drove their RVs there or who camp in tents (only in the summers).
Mr. German and I originally wanted to buy a ‘real’ trailer (ein Wohnwagen), as in one that looks like this:
We wanted to park it there and live in it for at least the summer to try it out. But this Campingplatz doesn’t allow long term camping in these trailers, because the pipes freeze over winter. They also prefer to form a community of Mobilheime, not Wohnwagen (is this trailerpark snobbery I’m hearing?!!!). If we want to live at the Campingplatz full-time, we’d have to buy a proper Mobilheim like the first 2 I posted.
There are a few on sale at the park. The cheapest one is 8K EUR and similar to the first pic above. It’s on a nice plot of 150 m2 (1500 sq ft) with a yearly rent of 2K plus utilities.
Basically after buying the Mobilheim, we’d halve our housing costs to 300 EUR per month for rent and utilities. Since it’s not far from where we currently live, our daily lives wouldn’t change too much either, unlike the gorgeous Altbau option which would increase my commute to 1hr45 min.
The downside is that the Pacht (plot rent) of 2K/year is quite high for a Campingplatz. If we owned the Mobilheim, we’d have to sell it along with the Pachtland agreement since it’s not movable. This will be hard to re-sell and we don’t want to get stuck with something that has 2K running costs per year, especially when we retire. 8K is also quite steep for an older Mobilheim that needs work.
Is living there legal?
Like with tiny houses, dauercamping exists in a legal grey zone. In Germany, you have to register your address with the authorities so it’s highly dependent on whether the Amt lets you register a Campingplatz as your main address or not. This doesn’t affect people who have another primary address to register, but for us, we’d only do dauercamping to reduce costs, not to have a second address for a weekend retreat.
There were so many nice people at the Campingplatz, mostly older retired people who have been living there for 30 years.
So it appears doable to register as a primary address, but it’s still not 100% legal and there is an ongoing discussion about whether people should be allowed to live full time in Campingplätze. It depends entirely on the city and whether the immediate community complains or not.
We would totally try it out with the towable trailer if it were an option. If it didn’t work out, we could easily sell the towable trailer, or even if we couldn’t, just move it to a much cheaper parking spot to store until we sell it (or use it to tour Scandinavia!).
It’s too bad because it’s a very nice park. Though it has opened our eyes to other options.
We are casually looking for a similar set-up that’s not on a park and on our own land (Grundstück). Then we wouldn’t have to pay the yearly Pacht fee and can own some land while we are at it! This is not so common in our state, but there’s no harm in looking.