Saturday, November 14, 2015

Finding or Buying a Place for your Tiny House

Follow any of the blogs or Facebook pages for Tiny Houses and one of the most common problems tiny house folks face is finding a place to park your Tiny House on Wheels or to build your tiny dwelling. There are several roadblocks commonly face, but the biggest one is code. 

So let's start at the very beginning with finding out about codes in your area. Assuming you know where you want to live this can be simple. If you haven't yet figured out where you want to live or are contemplating exploring options, use the X method to find what state I wanted to reside in. If you are in another country, you can still do the same thing, just download the appropriate map and apply the X method to it. 

Codes were developed to prevent people from living in substandard housing. It is an important part of housing and should be respected, however many codes are not tiny house friendly. The first step in finding a place for you tiny house is understanding limits placed on them. Codes are normally found on your counties website. If your county doesn't have them posted, phone your local county and ask where you can find them online. 

If you have a Tiny House on Wheels you may be able to park it at a friends or at a local RV Park, but often limits are put on those locations by Home Owner's Associations or because tiny houses on wheels are not classified as RV's. You are going to need to do your research and ask a lot of questions. 

An option besides parking on someone's land is to park on your own. I chose to purchase my land. I am far enough out in the country that codes don't affect me and I was able to build without issue. Again, I checked into the codes prior to buying my land. 

Start by researching code for where you choose here:

If you find a place you would really like to park your tiny home, but code doesn't allow for it, you may be able to apply for a variance. A variance is permission to park despite code. Some folks go by the idea of asking for forgiveness rather than permission, but when you are wanting to stay in a particular spot for an extended period of time, asking permission may be wiser. If you are wanting to park in a well-loved or well-populated area, asking permission is a given as you will be noticed

With regards to building a tiny house like mine, built from a portable building shell, you would do best to explore areas where code will not prevent it. The first parcel of land I purchased in Oregon stated portable buildings or sheds could not be built on land until a building meeting code was built. Living in an RV for more than 6 months was forbidden. I didn't want to have someone knock on my door one morning and, in essence, kick me off my own land. I decided to build where code didn't apply so I didn't have to worry.

I hear a lot of chatter about tiny house communities popping up here and there. You can read here about eleven tiny house villages . Perhaps one is close to where you want to live? There are downsides to choosing to live in a community as I talked about here in my post Tiny Houses with Big Problem. Let Boneyard Studios be a warning to all those who want to live in such a setting. 

The key to finding the perfect place to build or live in your tiny home is taking the time to research and asking a lot of questions. Don't wait until you have a tiny house before trying to make these decisions. 

So, in summary:

  • Know if you want a tiny house on wheels or a tiny house that is not mobile.
  • Have an idea of where you would like to live.
  • Understand code enforcement and know the code for where you want to live.
  • Weigh the pros and cons of living in a tiny house village 

Have you found the place you want your tiny house? Share with other readers your experience in the comments below.