Tiny home laws and regulations are huge topics. One that changes from state to state and country to country, and even sometimes from city to city. So, how do you make sense of all these tiny home laws and regulations. How do you make sure when you build your tiny home you can actually use it? To begin the first step is you need to do a lot of research. You need to have an idea of where you intend to use your tiny home. With this in mind can get specific tiny home laws and regulations for that area.
Another item to note is that the tiny home laws and regulations are changing all of the time. As the tiny home movement gets bigger and better known more and more people are lobbying to make laws and regulations in favor of tiny homes. Many activists in the industry are pushing to get tiny homes recognized and allowed in cities and states.
Tiny Home Laws And Regulations To Consider
One of the big hurdles for the tiny home movement is the fact that they are fairly new. Due to this, Most cities and governments don’t know how to classify them so they don’t have ordinances that are tiny home friendly. Many communities have a minimum square footage
requirements. Most tiny homes fall underneath this minimum and are therefore prohibited.
Another hurdle for the tiny homes is that if they are built as a Tiny Home On Wheels (THOW). This usually causes them to end up classified as an RV. Many municipalities prohibit you from staying in an RV year round.
Some tiny home builders want to build their tiny home completely off the grid. To do this many of them look at catching and using rainwater. In some areas it is illegal to capture rainwater. I know this may sound crazy but it is true. Most states are starting to make it legal but limit how much you can capture. Check out some of the states and their rainwater harvesting laws here.
These are just a few issues that you need to look at and make sure wherever you intend to build or use your tiny home that there are no tiny home laws that would prevent you from being able to use it as you intend to.
Tiny Home Laws And Regulations – How You Can Help
In order for tiny homes to be recognized and to progress people need to get involved. If you intend to build a tiny home, go talk to the local building department now. Furthemore, take time and attend a city council meeting. Get a group of people together and express your interest to the local government to be able to have your tiny home in their community.
You need to realize that anything to do with the government is going to take a long time to change. Therefore you need to start now getting things in place so you can use your tiny home as you wish.
If it is too involved for you to get changes made, then you really need to make sure you do your homework ahead of time to make sure you build your tiny home somewhere that accepts them and their uses. The worst thing that could happen is for you to get your tiny home and then realize you can’t use it where and how you want. A little preparation now can save a huge headache later.
Tiny Home Laws And Regulation Resources
Where do you go to find out about tiny house laws and regulations? A great stop is the American Tiny House Association. This is an all volunteer group who are actively trying to promote tiny homes and tiny living. They are trying to make changes to ordinances that are beneficial to the tiny home movement. Check them out! See if you are able get involved.
Probably the best resource is your local building office. Check and see what tiny house laws and ordinances they have. If they don’t have any, see if any of their other regulations may cause you problems. Explain what you intend to do and the local planning official should be able to point you in the right direction.
You could also search for ordinances specific to your state. Due to the fact that the tiny home laws and regulations are so varied and changing so fast, what you find online may be outdated by the time you see it. Finally make sure to be specific and go to pages run by the municipality or state you are interested in living in.
Tiny Home Laws And Regulations – Zoning
If you intend to park or build your tiny home somewhere you should be able to find a zoning map for that area. Many cities now even have an interactive map. If you type into Google the city you are interested in and the words zoning map, it should take you to where you need to be. You can look at that map and see what the area you want to
live in is zoned. You could then go to that municipality’s zoning ordinance for that area and see what uses are permitted.
In some areas Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) are allowed. These allow for a small dwelling to be on the same property as a primary dwelling. It is a little tricky though as what defines an ADU is different from city to city. It is a good area to look at though because if ADUs are allowed where you want to put your tiny home you could make the argument that it meets the criteria of an ADU.
Another option is to get your tiny home classified as an RV. Some states will allow a homebuilt RV and others would require that they be built by a properly licensed professional builder. Make sure you know if your state will allow you to register a THOW if you choose to build one. Also, make sure that if you build it as an RV you are not limited to how long you can live in it.
Tiny Home Laws And Regulations – Building Requirements.
If you don’t mind the environment, many RV parks or mobile home parks are accepting of tiny homes and you could possibly find a space there to build or park your tiny home. Again, check with specific ordinances.
This is another sticky area. If you are building a THOW you most likely will not fall under the same building requirements as if you were to build on a foundation. Many times because a THOW is trailer based they do not fall under traditional buildings. Check ahead of time though because some states may require that in order to get licensed the THOW may have to pass an inspection or be professionally built.
Tiny homes on foundations will most likely be required to at least meet the International Building Codes (IBC). This is a set of requirements for how your building must be built. It will specify things such as stud spacing, anchoring requirements for lofts etc. Also, your location may have additional building requirements that may apply to your project.
Some places require that the tiny home be tied to a foundation. This is the case in Spur Texas where they welcome tiny homes but can have tornadoes or high winds. Even if it is a THOW they require the wheels to be removed and the trailer to be anchored to the foundation. Another side note, they require that the tiny home must be hooked up to the city water and sewer services. Composting toilets are not allowed.
Tiny Home Laws And Regulations – Conclusion
It would be impossible in one short article to cover all the tiny home laws and regulations. Due to the fact that they vary from state to state and even from city to city. Besides, they are changing almost constantly. Mostly in favor of tiny home dwellers. Check out this article about tiny homes in Fresno California.
Tiny houses and the people who want to live in them are going to continue to be better understood and accepted. Change will only happen if people ask for it. If no one approaches local governments and asks to be able to put a tiny home in, they most likely will never consider changing the laws to be favorable to tiny home living.
Make sure if you are interested in living tiny and you know where you want to live, do some checking on the local laws and ordinances. If they currently do not allow tiny homes, find out what it would take to get them accepted. Someone has to take the lead. Will it be you?