Where do you put a tiny house?
This is a very good question and one that almost put a quick end to our tiny house plans. The short answer is that you can park a tiny house:
- On a friend or family’s land that you rent
- On your own land that you own
- In some RV or mobile home parks
The long answer is that tiny homes are most likely illegal, but check your local zoning codes. Most zoning and building codes require homes to be a minimum square footage in order to be considered habitable. This is often 1,400 SF. (So, not 200 SF.) Often codes will require even guest houses to be a minimum size that exceeds the footprint of a tiny home, but check with your local codes, there are some accessory dwelling codes that allow tiny houses as guest homes.
I think we all know that a house smaller than 1,400 SF is probably not inherently dangerous, and indeed the minimum square footage zoning codes seem to have originated from the input of realtors and bankers. So, understanding that our codes are often based on profit rather than safety, we decided, after much deliberation, to ask for forgiveness rather than permission.
Tiny houses are built on trailer platform foundations for mobility, but also because being mobile means they are exempt from building and zoning codes. This is not to say that they aren’t built to code – they should be – and ours are built above and beyond building code requirements. But you do not need a building permit to build on a trailer platform.
So, if you want to live within the laws, here are some things to check out with your local zoning codes:
- Are there minimum square footage requirements for homes? If not, you could possibly build a tiny house on a permanent foundation.
- Are you allowed to park an RV on your property? Without a main permanent dwelling? And are you allowed to live in it full time?
- If you are looking for a guest house, office or studio, does your zoning code allow for accessory dwellings? And are there minimum square footage requirements? Do they have to be on a permanent foundation?
I hope this information does not turn you off to the idea of tiny living, we decided to go through with building our tiny house even though we found ample discouraging info suggesting that they are illegal and you will be homeless (with your home in tow…) Our experience has shown that we have been able to rent land from a landlord in a residential neighborhood in town with no problems. We currently rent land from our family and live out on some rural property and have not had any troubles.