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How You Can Help Living Tiny Become Legal in More Places

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You’re probably one of many people who desperately wish it was easier to live in tiny houses legally without having to move across the country.

Right now, there are places to live tiny, but there’s not that many. In fact, it’s still illegal in most places and there aren’t far enough tiny house friendly communities out there to support us.

That’s why Alexis, Christian, Kai, and a handful of other tiny house enthusiasts are coming together to create a free documentary to educate people on legal tiny house living options. I’m confident that this will directly impact and influence the number of tiny house communities throughout the world. And right now you can help raise money for this free film by selecting and purchasing a perk to receive with your donation. Please enjoy the film preview below, learn more, and re-share below because we need your help to spread the word! Thanks!

Yes, You Can Help Living Tiny Become Legal!

Living Tiny Legally 01

Images © Tiny House Expedition via YouTube and IndieGoGo

Living Tiny Legally 02 Living Tiny Legally 03 Living Tiny Legally 04 Living Tiny Legally 05 Living Tiny Legally 06 Living Tiny Legally 07 Living Tiny Legally 08

RELATED: How Do I Get Zoning Passed for Tiny Houses in my Area?

Living Tiny Legally 09

Images © Tiny House Expedition via YouTube and IndieGoGo

Video: Living Tiny LEGALLY!

Learn more: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/living-tiny-legally

Discussion: Do you see how this film will help educate people on how to legalize tiny house living by interviewing people in government, showcasing current tiny house communities, and sharing how people are creating and living in tiny house communities right now? Let’s talk about how great this project is in the comments and please spread the word so we can help Alexis, Christian, and Kai raise enough money to make the film possible. Are you excited? So am I!

You can share this Living Tiny Legally Film with your friends and family for free using the e-mail and social media re-share buttons below. Thanks.

If you enjoyed this film announcement on Legally Living Tiny you’ll absolutely LOVE our Free Daily Tiny House Newsletter with even more! Thank you!

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Joshua
    December 17, 2015, 5:42 pm

    I am very excited about more thought being put into living legally in our own houses. We need more people talking not only to the public, but to the lawmakers and local zoning and planning boards about these options.
    There are too many posts and talk about design, layout, construction, and decoration and too few on the boring but essential parts, like code compliance, lobbying, zoning, and public acceptance of homes that are not like the typical bloated storage units with living spaces some call homes. It is very sad to see so many tiny houses for sale and people who were too ambitious build and then give up their perfectly-sized home because they fail to find a place to put it.
    I want to change that. I hope this is a success!

    • Dana
      January 3, 2016, 12:11 pm

      I am with you Joshua. I will be speaking to the Portland City Council on January 7, this Thursday at 6:00 pm. The council is accepting public comment regarding the future Comprehensive Plan for the city.
      If you are interested in joining me and a few other Tiny lobbyist, please contact me for more info.
      The meeting is being held at the Center for Self Enhancement at
      3920 N. Kerby Ave. in NE Portland. We would love some support if Tiny Home enthusiasts would like to be there.
      If you would like to speak, be there early to sign up. Every voice helps our cause!

      • Jenn
        March 23, 2016, 7:09 pm

        Hi Dana, I’m in Portland and have wanted to go Tiny for a few years! Is there a good resource with info on regulations, etc.? I’d love to buy a plot and build Tiny, but there seems to be restrictions on how small the home can be. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

  • two crows
    December 17, 2015, 5:48 pm

    I would like to invite Alexis, Christian and Kai down to Saint Petersburg, FL. It was known, for decades, as God’s Waiting Room. As a result, it has LOTS of granny flats / mother-in-law suites in back yards. There’s a company here that builds them in the back yards of existing homes so coding isn’t as difficult as it might be in some areas.

    It has also been a location for lots of second homes for northerners [known here as snow-birds or, by the less forgiving year-rounders, as snow-flakes.] And, since lots of folks want their second home to be mortgage free from the outset, there are lots of small homes here.
    So the infrastructure is already here and it’s not too difficult to find a tiny home to, at least, rent in the mid-town St Pete area. You may even be able to negotiate a sale if you’re willing to share back yard space.
    Gulfport, a town very nearby, is also pretty welcoming but it’s a very small town so flying under the radar is probably more difficult there than in St. Pete. Still, there ARE small homes in abundance and tiny homes in many back yards already so if one is willing to live in a foundation home and possibly compromise on HOW tiny one is willing to go – there are options here.

    An architect once suggested that I buy a piece of land and get the permit to build a granny flat “to start with while I save up for the main house,” and then just never get around to building the big house. He said others have done it and the city has pretty much left them alone after the initial build.

    And shhhh! My neighbors across the street own a tiny [back yard] home complete with composting toilet! So I know even that can be done.

    Add to that the fact that both St. Pete and Gulfport have wonderful artistic communities and quirky personalities and – well – what could be better?

  • Barbara
    December 17, 2015, 6:41 pm

    I am a Floridian who intends to follow up on the St. Pete locations. In fact, in about a year, Hubs and I plan to buy a small camping trailer to tour all of the South and central Florida coastline to scout out a location or two or more for the THOW we want to have built. (We are septuagenarians with no skills or the physicality to do the building ourselves!) We do want a THOW rather than a foundation-built home, but we don’t want to move it often, if at all. That’s for the benefits such as no property taxes and the ability to live largely off-grid, as Florida forbids that to traditionally built homes on a foundation. We also would like to spend a few months at a time visiting our sons in another state, plus escape our occasional hurricanes. We love our Florida lifestyle and will love it even more in a tiny house!

  • Barbara
    December 17, 2015, 6:45 pm

    P.S. Hey! I’m loving the idea of pulling a THOW with a U-Haul! Traveling storage for all my hobby supplies! Brilliant! LOL! Will it pull a 30 footer?

  • Debbie
    December 17, 2015, 6:49 pm

    The town I live in, Weatherford, TX, has already started to make it even harder for a THOW. They have threatened the mobile home parks that if they have a tiny house without a certain amount of square footage, that they will be fined and the THOW will have to move. They have even gone so far as to rezone the mobile home parks to put them inside the city limits. Now that is pretty nasty of them.
    I am living with my step daughter at the present in a mobile home, but for me to even build it to move one, I can’t because of the new zoning.
    The landlord is afraid to allow me to sit here long enough to build, for fear of getting a big fine. so I think Weatherford, Texas is not a place I want to remain.
    Thank you all for listening. I wish there was some proof to go to the city council with, but I am not sure what it would be. If anyone has any ideas please let me know.
    Thanks again.

    • Sandra
      December 26, 2018, 1:12 pm

      There are some tiny homes in Richardson in case you didn’t know
      I don’t know if they have spaces for existing tiny homes

  • December 17, 2015, 8:34 pm

    I am glad that some people are starting to think more about this topic. Tiny homes come complete with their own set of headaches, if you want to live in one legally. While still owning and dwelling in my 2K sq ft home I had a tiny home on wheels built to give myself options. I parked it on my land next to my house in UNINCORPORATED King County in WA state where my property taxes are an average of $4,500.00 per year. My tiny home was parked on my land on a private dead end country road. And yet, I was not allowed to spend NOT ONE NIGHT in my tiny home. The county came out on several occasions to make sure my tiny home was not inhabited. People in tiny homes are just ONE phone call away from a neighbor calling the county on them. This is a much more common issue than many realize. I have several friends that built a tiny home and now 3 years later do not live in them as planned due to similar situations like I experienced. Good thing they have wheels so you can get rolling down the road and try to find another hiding spot when you need to.

    While the above group of people and YouTube video is a great place to start a conversation with city or county officials it will be a long road for the tiny home resident who does not want to be part of a community. And just a heads up- a tiny home owner does not have to be a minimalist. That was the biggest turn off idea to tiny house living in my opinion. Some tiny home residents want to be out on their own, away from communities of other tiny home owners and many of us still like to shop and own more than 2 dozen items. But hey,,, thanks for speaking up and doing something that will hopefully one day alleviate the BIG problems that come with tiny home ownership and legal parking. It is wonderful that you are taking on this start-up project. Thanks.

  • Ray
    December 18, 2015, 12:40 am

    We have a 42 acre property in Bryson Quebec and our goal is to have a self sustained property that would ultimately be a tiny house community . It’s an older campground and we are currently building a micro cabin that should be complete by the spring . It is fully insulated and basically our first step in the direction of tiny home living . Once this project is complete . A tiny home on wheels is the next project using the frame from one of our older trailers the needs an update so tiny home community phase two! If you want to be part of this movement and live in Canada why not come check us out . Western Quebec is a very nice area for anyone wanting to get out of the city and live the off grid life ! Check out our website . As far as rules and regulations , there are some but nothing against the tiny home on wheels which would be staying on a campground lot for an annual rental fee that is a fraction of any apartment or house rental price in today’s world . If people come together the movement is real and if the government decides to change their mind for the almighty dollar , they might sing a different tune when everyone bands together to fight the power and potentially win this fight that for most of us has just begun .

  • Varenikje
    December 18, 2015, 2:27 am

    I actually have no idea if it is legal to have a tiny home in my town. And I am actually kind of afraid to ask.

  • Anonymous
    December 19, 2015, 9:38 am

    I’m in! Looking forward to attending the Tiny House Jamboree next year!

  • Richard H Chapple Sr
    December 22, 2015, 12:05 pm

    In our small community which borders the Crow Indian Reservation I see opportunity for tiny homes all over the place. We have lots of old residential areas that already have very tiny old homes on them that need lots of help. If all of these small places could be gutted and rebuilt to modern tiny house living, the whole area would benefit. Perhaps encouraging owners to rebuild if they don’t want to sell, or buy the places and rebuild. Empty lots abound that once had old homes on them that were condemned and tore down. An empty lot if rezoned could produce some space for several tiny homes. I can think of several more ideas but I’ll stop with this. Small victories will lead to bigger victories. Sometimes we have to plant ideas into the powers that be so they can claim it for themselves and run with it.
    The tiny house movement is wonderful. How many years did we live in tiny trailer houses through the years.

  • Laurel Bartlett
    January 2, 2016, 12:01 pm

    I found a tiny house community just outside of Flagstaff, Arizona. It’s in Munds Park and can be seen from the freeway, which is how I spotted it. I know a lot of you are just looking for a place to put your home and wanted to share this info, mundsparktinyhouses.com next time I pass through I plan to stop and check it out. Heads up though, this area does have four seasons and it does snow here. It’s also a lot cooler here than most of AZ in the summer.

    • August 21, 2016, 8:29 pm

      The mobile park you are talking about in Munds Park, AZ is not a tiny house community. It is a limited stay, 2nd home park model location. They are only open from May to September. You cannot live there year round. They allow park models, RV’s and travel trailers, NO Self-Built THOW.

  • Troy D.
    January 3, 2016, 3:00 am

    Hi folks:

    I live up here in Alaska, where if you’re outside of the city limits there is no building code, and while there still is zoning, it’s mostly to prevent a high-rise being put up in a residential subdivision, etc.

    With that being said, I was pretty shocked when I started erecting a 12′ x 28′ tiny house on my own property that I already pay about $3000 a year for in property taxes. Before the TH was 50% complete, the local Borough assessor’s started looking at it with hungry eyes.

    Bear in mind, that this is built on a trailer with two 7000 pound axles, and those axles are clearly visible, along with the A-frame towing hitch. The local power company will not supply power to it, as they consider it to be mobile. Hey, it’s got wheels after all.

    The borough, on the other hand, very conveniently starts to talk about intent. I used some concrete piers, the type used for decks, and they consider these to be permanent. I went on to explain that RV stabilizers are on the expensive side, so I picked up these 30 pound concrete piers, as they were cheaper, and they still just sit on the ground– Nothing permanent here. Then, they start looking at things like oil tanks or propane tanks. If you got yourself a 100 or 200 gallon oil tank, it looks like you’re going to be staying for a while. Same thing goes for a big one or 200 pound propane tank.

    Meanwhile, my neighbor has a class a motorhome that he parks out in the front of his house, and they would not dare consider taxing, as it clearly an RV afterwards. So, what happens if you put a big propane tank there? It doesn’t seem to matter, it just looks like an RV so nobody says anything.

    Now, start putting up a small 8′ x 20′ travel trailer, but put some nice cedar siding on it, a metal roof, a small deck, and now you’ve got a house, or at least it looks like one.

    So, I’m currently in the process of trying to determine what constitutes mobile. I think I should be able to park an RV on my property, whether I intend to live in it full time or not, and not have to pay additional property tax simply because I’m putting something on land that I already pay for. This is overregulation in my opinion and unjust taxing.

    The local borough assessors can simply start claiming a different “intent” than what a typical person would use an RV for, although I do know at least two people who use class a motor homes as permanent full-time homes, (both happen to be in my same neighborhood block btw) so it’s nonsense.

    I suspect this is mostly a rant. Clearly we need some definition as to what is mobile, and what is not. I can certainly see that the city does not want people to buy up city lots and erect tiny homes to avoid paying taxes. In this case you got completely different ramifications. You now have communities of tiny homes, which can start to form cities of tiny homes. Completely different.

    This however is far different than somebody who already owns a home, and pays their fair share of property taxes, and is prohibited from putting a tiny home on the property without additional taxes. Their argument is this is no different than an out building/storage shed, and yes those they will tax you on as well.

    It’s no wonder people feel like they are being squeezed, and the life force is being sucked out of them. I for one sure don’t feel like I have any freedom. These bastards will smile at your face while they reach around and shove a screwdriver up your ass, and then ask why are you not smiling?

  • Dana
    January 3, 2016, 12:31 pm

    I can also provide a copy of the Housing section of Portland’s Comprehensive Plan for those that are interested in their future plans. This plane is being developed right now and will be in force until 2035. The Jan. 7th meeting is the last time the council is accepting public comment. Let’s speak up now.

  • jill
    January 21, 2016, 10:33 am

    I live in a tiny home with my daughter and we love it. It is located in an rv park. Simple life is great and the reward is designing and owning your own home. Awesome. More people should do this. So much better than renting.

    • Tiny House Diary
      February 12, 2021, 5:56 pm

      yes! I agree with you! so much better than renting! I love the freedom of “owning”. The small luxury and modern can be possible too.

  • Lynn
    September 22, 2016, 11:42 am

    It seems many municipalities object to tiny homes being parked on land that already has a permanent structure. Their argument seems to be that these tiny homes are escaping taxation, which covers the cost of police and fire protection, public education, hospitals, road maintenance etc. Okay, so why not come up with a simple flat fee for these tiny homes that could be imposed instead of the more familiar property tax millage rate system? I’m no expert on this topic but it seems to me that if local governments were willing to consider common sense approaches to the issue, more tax dollars would flow into their coffers and tiny home owners could actually live in peace without always having to look over their shoulders.

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