Family fed up with paying London rent downsizes to tiny 20-foot house on wheels

A couple has gone from paying London rental prices to living in a 20ft by 8ft home with their son and dog.

David Westwood, 32, and his girlfriend Becky were renting a three-bedroom house in Greater London, but grew discontent with their situation.

They came to realise they didn’t need that much space and became bored of doing the same thing in their area, as well as spending too much time on housework.

First, they downsized their home but still ended up paying £1250 a month in rent.

David said: ‘That’s quite a lot of money to just give to someone else and we really wanted to own something.

‘We did look at canal boats, but then we found the tiny house.’

Now they, along with David’s son from a previous relationship Joss, 11, and dog Digby, share the tiny home which cost just £50,000 ready-made to live in.

Their purpose-built prefab house has wheels and weighs three and a half tonnes, which is on the limit for a pickup truck, and has a 60-year guarantee that the structure will be sound.

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This type of home isn’t designed to be towed around all the time, rather they’re better-suited to being parked in the same spot for extended periods of time.

David, who runs YouTube channel Living The Tiny Life, said: ‘In many ways, it’s exactly the same as living in a conventional house.

‘There are obvious differences, such as we’re not plumbed into anything so every three or four days, we need to fill up our 250-litre water tank that basically provides the entire house with water. Showers, washing machine and doing the dishes.

‘We’ve got a separate ten-litre water tank that we use for drinking water that we tend to fill up every two to three days.

‘Aside from those couple of things the house as a whole is pretty much exactly the same as you would get in a conventional house.

‘We’ve got a living room, we’ve got a kitchen, we’ve got a dining room, we’ve got a bathroom with a big shower we’ve got two bedrooms upstairs.

‘All of our appliances are exactly the same size that you would get in a standard house. We’ve also got a full-size sofa bed this isn’t a scaled-down version or anything.

‘Our bed is a king-sized bed, it’s not a double or a small double.

‘I guess the only compromise is we have to go up the ladder to get to our bedroom because we don’t have enough room for stairs.

‘You can get a bigger tiny house which you could have stairs in and maybe more headroom upstairs.’

The tiny house movement has been hailed as a creative way to address the lack of affordable housing, reduce living costs and shrink our carbon footprint.

Downstairs in their home, David and Becky have just over six feet of headroom, while upstairs is only four feet so even though 11-year-old Joss can just about stand up, the adults can’t.

To save space, the couple has a wall-mounted television and vacuum cleaner, and they store their food processor inside a stool.

‘You would really struggle to swing a cat in here without hitting something but with that said though it means that there are a lot fewer things to clean,’ said David.

The house is kitted out with double glazing and underfloor heating to keep them warm in the winter months. Their toilet isn’t plumbed into a sewer, and they have a composting toilet, but they generally tend to use campsite facilities.

David said: ‘There are compromises with living in a tiny house but the pros of being in the house far outweigh the cons in my opinion.”

‘I wouldn’t want to live any other way, if anything I think our next step will probably be smaller than what we are now.

‘I really wish that we’d done this so much sooner rather than wasting tens of thousands of pounds just on paying rent over the last six years.’

David and Becky, who have lived together for nearly seven years, were put off buying a house because the prices in the London year are ‘absolutely outrageous.’

When David and Becky bought their tiny house in late 2020, they stayed on a campsite at first.

There, they paid £650 a month for the ground rent, which included water, but had to pay extra for an electricity meter.

David said: ‘If you are serious about living in a tiny house, and you don’t have any land or relatives then I think that the only real option is to stay on a campsite, and to be honest I actually think it’s probably a good place to start.’

He added: ‘I’m actually quite amazed as to how many people actually live full time in caravans and motorhomes.

‘They’re not just people that are retired, there’s people of all ages on the campsite that just lead a normal life. They go to work do what they’ve got to do.’

Now, the family is staying in Becky’s mum’s garden, which saves them the £650 ground rent enabling them to pursue other projects such as converting a van they can also stay in.

Speaking on his YouTube channel, David said: ‘I think that it is such an amazing opportunity for many, particularly young people that came from similar backgrounds to us where we just don’t have the money to buy a house.

‘You get really caught in this system where you just have to pay nearly all of your salary just to live in a small flat”

‘And then if you do manage to save up enough money for a deposit on a house, you then have to end up borrowing hundreds and hundreds of thousands of pounds from a bank just to have a home that you can call your own”

‘I know it’s not for everybody and I know that some people want to have a bath and not a shower, and that’s totally fine

‘I just think that this kind of lifestyle could benefit so many people and I really hope that it catches on as it’s genuinely a really good way of life, and it’s affordable’

‘Including all the furnishings in the house we paid around about £50,000 which is a fraction of what it costs to buy a house and all you’re paying for is that extra space and the convenience of being plumbed in and whatnot.

‘But for us, we’d rather live in a tiny house have a smaller footprint but more importantly just getting your freedom back and not being indebted to a bank and being too scared to quit your job or pursue a dream of yours.’

David’s five pros to living in a tiny house

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