Legal Concerns with Building and Living in a Tiny House

Legal Concerns with Building and Living in a Tiny House

The tiny house movement has become all the rage in recent times. Converts have lauded tiny homes for their affordability, aesthetic capabilities, and overall practicality.

The idea is to maximize the quality of one’s life by living smaller. Still, it is also largely a response to the housing crisis in the United States as home prices continue to rise, putting many at risk for eviction and homelessness. In this context, it is understandable that many people are now looking towards tiny houses for affordable, comfortable living.

While the shift to tiny houses has been alluring for many, it also comes with tricky legal considerations and heavy lifestyle changes that could drastically affect one’s quality of life for better or worse.

Reconsider Its Practicality for Your Lifestyle

Before diving into the legal run-ins one might experience while transitioning into tiny house living, there are practical concerns to think about. First, and the most obvious, is that living in a tiny home requires a lot of downsizing.

How many people comprise your household? What are your usual activities? How much stuff does each of you possess? These will help you assess if moving into a tiny home is the right choice for you and your family.

Also, the location of your tiny home will entail adjustment. For instance, living on a farm will require smart methods to keep various insects away, such as mosquito traps against yellow fever, screens, and the like.

Additionally, building a tiny house might not always cost less than a regular house in terms of price per square foot. Since tiny homes should accomplish more within a smaller space, every bit must be intentional and multipurpose. This means that your furniture will usually need to be custom-made to ensure a good fit.

Understand the Legal Considerations for Tiny Houses

tiny house

The legality of a tiny house varies per state. Laws will inform you if the size and type of tiny house you are planning to build can legally count as a home in that particular area, among other things.

Take note, too, that some states have looser regulations than others. According to Business Insider, California, Florida, and Colorado are the three friendliest states for tiny houses, so you can consider these areas for your move.

State laws will also say if a tiny home is considered an RV and must then, therefore, comply with local RV regulations and licenses. If you plan on crossing state lines in your mobile home, get a towing license to avoid getting towed.

Another thing you need to know is that even if you have a mobile tiny house, you will need a permanent address in most states. Make sure that you have a mailing address that also has proof of residency.

Avoid Potential Issues About Zoning Laws

Regarding what constitutes a tiny house, these, again, will usually vary per state. These are some of the most important aspects to know to avoid issues with your tiny home.

What is the size of your home?

States require minimum square footage for homes, which means that a tiny house might not count as a permanent residence in many areas. Tiny houses are usually around 100 to 400 sq. ft., but the usual minimum for residences is 700 sq. ft.

Again, some states have smaller minimum requirements than others. Be sure to double-check zoning requirements in the location you plan on building or parking your tiny home in, as minimum square footage can also vary among different neighborhoods in the states.

Is it on wheels?

When your tiny house is built on wheels, it is usually classified as a recreational vehicle instead of a permanent home. Since RV regulations apply to mobile tiny houses, an owner might experience parking roadblocks as local rules limit the number of days an RV can be parked in designated areas. Some municipalities even limit the number of days one can live inside an RV, too.

Can it be considered an Accessory Dwelling Unit?

ADUs are smaller units located in the same property as a single home. Some states allow tiny houses to be placed within private properties so long as they are built on a foundation instead of wheels. But again, these rules still vary from state to state and community to community.

Living in a tiny house is not a simple shift for anyone. Before making any big changes about your lifestyle, make sure you have done intensive research on state laws and local regulations to avoid experiencing hassles for your tiny house transition.

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