It’s been a while since I discussed the issues of tiny house zoning, codes and communities.
And asked the question, “can you actually live tiny legally?”
This post will give you my ideas when it comes to legally living tiny, creating communities, and opportunities in the tiny house world.
You’ll also get to read an email from a reader who asked some really great questions (he’s a land use planner).
Legally Living in Tiny Houses
“I am curious about the “tiny house” as a legitimate, full time housing option…do they/can they…meet building codes, be attached to the ground, be connected to public water, sewer and other public utilities, meet energy code standards, meet zoning codes, etc.”
I urge you to read more about legally living tiny, creating communities and even opportunities below:
Tiny House RV Living
In some cases it can be a legitimate, full-time housing option if you look for places where you are allowed to legally live in a motorhome, RV, or travel trailer because you can actually build your tiny house to meet RV standards and have it officially registered as one.
Living Tiny on a Foundation
They can also be built right onto a normal foundation if you wanted with hook up to the public water system, sewer and other utilities but since most populated areas have minimum housing standards you would have to build this as a guest house or in-law suite and you would be subject to those regulations in your area (in most cases having to make it around at least 500 sq. ft. or so). So it may not always work out (you may need to adjust your design to meet code which could still be worth it).
Creative Ways You Can Get Your Tiny House Ideas Approved
In some cases you might be able to use a little creativity and maybe add a garage, indoor/outdoor patio space or sunroom, air conditioned storage unit, larger bathroom, extra bathroom, office, bedroom, etc. to add square footage to your design so you can meet code and start building legally.
Building Bigger Than “Tiny” Just to Meet Code
Many people that go tiny end up wanting to build a shed, a separate office, guest suite, or expanding after a year or two.
So maybe if we think ahead a lot of us might realize that maybe we would like to have two bathrooms instead of one, or a dedicated office, extra bedroom, garage, etc.
If this makes the house a better for you long-term, wouldn’t it be smarter to do it now? Probably.
Another idea is to build an in-law suite right into your house to make it larger in order to meet minimum size standards and then you have a built-in guest house for guests or to rent out.
If You Definitely Want to Live Tiny
For the rest of us who definitely see yourselves living tiny you’d want to seek rural land to purchase, lease, or negotiate to stay on.
Other options include long-term RV lots that you can also lease or purchase or simply rent seasonally and move around.
Tiny House Communities: Coming Soon?
“I am very much in favor of small housing…just not sure we have created the right product to serve the workforce year round and in conformance with codes. Wouldnt it be great to have a subdivision of small lots and small houses with some communal amenities? Thanks for discussing this important subject.”
We Need More Small House Communities
I couldn’t agree more about the fact that we desperately need more small housing communities all over the country right now.
There are lots of people who are in their late years who don’t want to and don’t need to be in a nursery who’d rather live in a tiny or small cottage instead with minimal worries and upkeep.
Would You Buy or Rent a Tiny House, Cabin, Cottage or Studio If You Could?
I would! And there are also couples and singles professionals who don’t like having to share their living quarters with one, two, or more other people just because rents are high. There just aren’t enough small and affordable living options for single people and couples without children in most areas. Would you agree?
Opportunity for Real Estate Developers and Investors to Build Tiny and Profit?
All of that being said right now is a great opportunity for real estate investors and developers to serve others by creating communities with tiny houses, small cottages, cabins, tiny villas and micro apartments for long-term living.
Non-Profit and For-Profit Communities and Developments
This can be done in a for-profit and also a non-profit way. Non profit communities for veterans in need, the homeless, and those with disabilities. The for profit communities to serve professionals, business owners, college students, and retirees. Something like that, right? What are your thoughts?
Original Email from Reader
Hi! I am a professional land use planner and community sustainability specialist. I also built a small, affordable and highly energy efficient house in Aspen, Colorado where some of the highest green building standards are in place It is a place where affordability for the work force is paramount. (Average house price is upwards of 4.5 M!). I am curious about the “tiny house” as a legitimate, full time housing option…do they/can they…meet building codes, be attached to the ground, be connected to public water, sewer and other public utilities, meet energy code standards, meet zoning codes, etc. Someone in my current location of Wood River Valley in Idaho is making attractive tiny houses…but when I inquired about these questions and intended users, the answer was about recreational, cabin-in-the-woods, guest house in the driveway, sort of thing. I am very much in favor of small housing…just not sure we have created the right product to serve the workforce year round and in conformance with codes. Wouldnt it be great to have a subdivision of small lots and small houses with some communal amenities? Thanks for discussing this important subject.
I’d Love to Read Your Thoughts Please!
Non-Profit vs For-Profit Communities
What do you think about for-profit and non-profit communities? Do you agree that we should have some of both?
Do You Think the Opportunity in Tiny Housing Developments is Real?
What, if any, opportunities do you think there are right now in the world of real estate and tiny houses? How successful do you think RV parks converted into tiny house communities would be? Or more micro apartments in cities?
Is it More of a DIY Trend with Little to No Opportunity for Developers, etc.?
Or do you think it’s more of a DIY trend where people are building micro homes themselves on a budget for WAY less than a company could ever offer it to us?
Opportunity of Helping People in Need with Micro Housing
Right now a lot of us are facing an opportunity to help homeless people work their way out of it by helping them build micro shelters that they can store their belongings in and get some privacy at. This is becoming a growing trend. I encourage other tiny home builders, companies, designers, and enthusiasts like you and me to contribute to and even start projects like these.
If you enjoyed this discussion on zoning and legally living tiny you’ll love our free daily tiny house newsletter with more!
Latest posts by Alex (see all)
- Swallowtail Tiny House on Wheels in Australia - February 18, 2018
- The Big Whimsy 30ft Tiny Home by Wind River Tiny Homes - February 16, 2018
- 552 Sq. Ft. Tiny Cottage with View in Cazadero - February 16, 2018