Since 2014, house owners are allowed to have this kind of "mini house" built on their property. It's treated as a "real house", with its own address and somebody can live there and everything. However, you aren't allowed to skip the "big house" and only put an Attefallshus (or two of them, or three) on an empty plot of land.

This is extremely frustrating to me, since I cannot afford any of these insanely overpriced houses, but I would on the other hand be able to (just barely) afford an Attefallshus on an empty square of grass. It would be enough for me to live inside alone, albeit somewhat claustrophobic. Still, it sure beats being homeless.

Why do they force me to buy an impossibly expensive "real" house of a much larger size and to then have this as an "extra" home? Why can't I just buy a cheap plot of land and have the Attefallshus delivered/installed on it, and live like that, with no "main" house? What possible reason could there be for them disallowing this? I really don't understand their reasoning. They explicitly disallow it, but don't explain why.

I would've asked this in the "Sweden" Stack category, but there is no such thing. Maybe there's a similar law in the USA or something, or you could maybe give an educated guess.

If you are curious what they look like, this is an example of one (bunch of photos): https://www.bjurfors.se/sv/tillsalu/stockholm/stockholm/alvsjo-herrangen/noaks-vag-3d/#bilder


Property values.

The same issue is coming up everywhere. In the old days, it was about mobile home parks. And subsidized housing (which tends to be "as small as the builder can get away with"). Now it is tiny houses. But the basic problem is the same:

Existing homeowners, and their elected officials, know that if there are a lot of smaller/cheaper housing units then it will, inevitably, lower the value of the larger units. If you currently have a large mortgage and a change will make your house be worth less, you want to prevent that from happening. Ironically, allowing tiny houses as add-ons to existing property does the exact opposite - having a second unit (as a rental or for a relative) increases property values.

In certain cases - with the smallest/simplest "houses" - there are very real differences that can very seriously justify not allowing them as the only building on a residential property:

  • Bathroom - including toilet, sink, tub or shower
  • Kitchen - oven + cooktop + sink + refrigerator
  • Minimum living space per person - this is a little more subjective, but it is quite clear that while a full-size house might be fine for anywhere from 1 - 8 people (and depending on the size of the house, possibly more), a tiny house might be practical only for between 1 - 3 people.
  • HVAC - This depends a lot on climate, but building codes normally enforce certain minimums so that a house can be kept at a comfortable temperature year-round.

So a "super tiny" house that doesn't have its own bathroom and/or kitchen would be, arguably, inappropriate as the only building on a residential property. The Attefallshus appears to satisfy these basic "livability" requirements. Which, to me, indicates the restrictions are based much more on NIMBY than actual practical concerns.

Many other things are more subjective. For example, many apartment buildings are not designed with laundry machines in every unit, so requiring a washer/dryer in every tiny house would seem a bit arbitrary.

Long-term, it seems to be generally better in many ways to allow for a variety of housing options. But in the short-term it is always "how does this affect me". The people living in the big houses count. The people who would be living in the small houses don't count, because they are not there yet!

  • 2
    Interesting tidbit about mobile home parks. In my area theytend to have a single regular large house at the front of the property. So this tiny home conundrum isn't new, it's just ever-evolving.
    – MonkeyZeus
    Apr 19 at 15:12
  • 1
    This answer says a lot about US cities and nothing about a specific regulation in Sweden.
    – lejonet
    Apr 19 at 22:06
  • 2
    I am downvoting this answer as it has no connection to the Swedish situation. Attefallshus is a specific easing of building rules allowing you to build one more housing unit regardless of most other building rules.
    – ghellquist
    Apr 20 at 7:42
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    This answer misses the main point, attefallshus is built legally but without a building permit, you can probably build a permitted small house but it will cost you more.
    – Rsf
    Apr 20 at 8:01
  • 2
    @ghellquist If only OP had left the conversation wide open with a statement like "Maybe there's a similar law in the USA or something, or you could maybe give an educated guess." then would you upvote?
    – MonkeyZeus
    Apr 20 at 11:55

When you want to build the first house on a plot of land, you need something called a build permit (bygglov). The local government (with some input from your new neighbours) will check and see if the planned house is decent enough for people to live in and fits in with the other nearby houses.

The main reason people in Sweden like the Attefallshus setup is not because of the size, but instead because you don't need a build permit for it. The reason you don't need a permit is that you already have a build permit for the regular house.

If you wish to build a regular house that just happens to be very small, you can do that but you need to apply for a build permit from the local government, just like for any other house size. I have looked around but I have been unable to find any minimum house size for building permits so legally I think they can be fairly small. If they approve your permit you can build your house.

Normally it is a lot easier to get this approved if you want to build somewhere away from other people or where your closest neighbours cannot see your house. But either way it seems to be hightly depenent on the local government and the type of houses that are already build nearby. The only way you can know for sure is to contact the government and ask about your specific plot of land and house plans.

Note that there is a cost for applying for a build permit. How expensive this is varies a lot depending on where you want to build.

Here is an example of a small (32 square meters) single all-year building. Unfortunately the text is in Swedish but there are a lot of pictures: https://www.byggahus.se/tiny-house-att-bygga-och-bo-i-ett-riktigt-litet-hus

  • 2
    How is it different from a friggebod?
    – gerrit
    Apr 19 at 19:28
  • Friggebod has a smaller maximum size, can only be used as a guest house not a permanent residence, and can't be plumbed so no kitchen or toilet. Apr 20 at 0:26
  • It seems like you can under some circumstances install plumbing in a friggebod as well. You're still not allowed to make it a permanent residence, but adding a toilet might be nice for a temporary guest. Most people I know use the friggebods as storage for lawn mowers and other bulky or weather sensitive equipment.
    – Melchior
    Apr 20 at 5:22
  • The main reason people in Sweden like the Attefallshus setup is that it allows you to monetize the land you have... in many places I've seen people build a house for themselves and sell or rent the small house
    – Rsf
    Apr 20 at 8:06

You're starting from a false premise, you can absolutely buy a plot of land and plonk down a house of any size, 19 square meter house(Swedish text) The key is getting a building permit from the local government as well as the acquiescence of local neighbours which as said in other answers falls to NIMBY.

When you already have a house you don't need additional build permit for building up to 40 square meters additional building(s).

Also make sure to compare apples to apples, when you buy a house(Villa) in Sweden you pretty much always buy the house and often the land it stands on and all other buildings on said land.

When you're buying an attefallshus you rarely buy the house and pretty much never buy the land, instead you're buying a share in a housing co-op(bostadsrätt) much like when you're buying an apartment, so compare the cost of an attefallshus to the cost of an apartment and you'll find them roughly equivalent for the area.


First a bit of overview:

In Sweden there is planning process in three stages by the municipality (somewhat simplified): first an overview plan (översiktsplan) describes zoning for residential and industrial areas and so on. Secondly a detailed plan (detaljplan) describes what types of building the residential area should have: it could specify free standing villas or say, three story rental apartments. The third part is that in order to actually build you need a specific permit (bygglov) using the exact blueprints you are going to build from. So, in an area where there is a detail plan you can see what types of houses you are allowed to build. Generally you can build a very small (and low-cost) house, but the process still requires a building permit (bygglov). Outside detail planned areas you can still build houses on your own land, but it still requires bygglov.

The answer:

I guess that you live in a specific town or village and want to continue doing that. Cheap houses can be found out in the country side, especially far in the north. No need to build.

So check the detail plan, sometimes buying a lot and building a small and low-cost house is totally possible. Or buy a piece of land outside detail planned area (in the country side), get "bygglov" for your small house and build it.

Attefallshus is a specific simplification of the rules, added from political reasons. Basically, you can add an extra small house in your garden without going through the "bygglov" process.

  • 1
    I like how you broke down your answer with headings. However, in this Q&A format, there's no need to address "OP", everyone assumes that all answers address the OP's question, so I changed the headings slightly.
    – FreeMan
    Apr 20 at 11:33

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