Tiny house company fails: Buyers left with unfinished homes

Thermasol made these tiny home cabins. Photo / Thermasol
Thermasol made these tiny home cabins. Photo / Thermasol

A West Auckland tiny house building business has gone under, owning debts to numerous creditors and leaving homes unfinished.

Shareholders of Thermasol appointed John Gilbert of Strategic the liquidator of the business, only formed three years ago to respond to the growing movement for tiny houses, often transportable and selling for a fraction of more traditional homes.

"There are some partially built cabins," Gilbert said of failed business whose directors and shareholders are Sean and Tracy Kelly of Arney Rd, Remuera.

"There are also a number of parties claiming ownership to these units. There is also a creditor claiming security over the assets - or at least some of them," he wrote.

Fletcher Steel, BMW Financial Services, Carters, Steel and Tube Holdings, Viper Electrical, BOC, Crown Equipment and Heartland Bank were some of those listed as secured parties.

A list of creditors has been released and some parties named there were Sean and Tracy Kelly, ACC, IRD, Easy Steel, Mitre 10, Matrix Security, Hire a Maid, Giltap Motor Group, Fresh Water Co, Xero and then a list of 24 people.

Gilbert said the company was formed initially to develop the thermasol insulated panel.

"It then transitioned to the manufacture of transportable small houses. The company appears to have been under capitalised.

"The books indicate that there has been cashflow pressure for some time. The directors attempted to recapitalise the business by bringing in an outside investor.

"There were several parties who did due diligence but they were unable to agree terms," he said.

He cited insolvent trading as a possible issue: "I will investigate the actions of the directors, particularly in continuing to trade the business once insolvency should have been obvious. I will also investigate insolvent transactions and voidable preferences. It is apparent that a number of people paid deposits and/or instalments in the last few weeks before I was appointed. The disbursement of these funds will be investigated."

The tiny house movement is sweeping the world, in what could be a reaction against the expansive and ornate McMansion.

Tiny homes are seen by some as a solution to the high cost of building and an anti-consumerist movement.

In June, the Herald reported on a video showing off a tiny house built in the Bay of Plenty which drew 8.7 million views in just two months and international acclaim.

The 3:08-minute video Tiny House With Net Loft For Young Couple, published on March 21 has 5274 comments and drew praise of the house as epic, amazing and perfect, although some found it claustrophobic.

Gina Stevens, a director and in-house designer of Katikati-headquartered Build Tiny which constructed and sold the house, said: "I can't believe the video has crept up to nearly 9 million views. That's extraordinary!"

Stevens said the film was made in Katikati but the couple live in Tauranga. The completed house cost around $110,000 to build "including appliances and upgraded trailer."



A sad state of affairs. Home owners have to live in shacks because that is all they can afford. When I graduated I could afford a 3 bedroom 1 bath in St Clair (with sea views) for 11 months gross salary. Nowadays with a grad salary you can afford half a shack. Low interest rates and high immigration have destroyed the dreams of many a potential home owner. Bankers and government policies are to blame.