Exactly Where Can You Park a Tiny Home Legally?

Exactly Where Can You Park a Tiny Home Legally?

Parking sign for tiny homes

Tiny houses are a new housing option that often falls in the grey area of many local laws. With that in mind, is there any place where you can park your unit without breaking the law?

There is no definitive answer to the question, where can you park your tiny home legally? After all, tiny houses, especially those on trailers, can be considered as a temporary residence, an RV, or even both. Consequently, some jurisdictions require tiny homes to follow the building code, while others don’t. 

Furthermore, laws and regulations regarding tiny homes usually differ from one state to another. The difference even goes down as far as the city or town level, which further complicates the issue of parking. 

However, there are still some guidelines you can follow to determine if it’s legal to park your mobile home in a particular area. Thanks to the input of pioneering tiny home owners, we have come up with an article that addresses your parking woes. 

parking a tiny home legally

Can you Park a Tiny Home Anywhere?

Definitely, no. There are only a few places where the law allows you to park a tiny home. One of the reasons is because of the combined size of the trailer and the towing vehicle.

Much like cars and other vehicles, tiny homes also have their parking designations. Often, RV parks allow them to settle in their grounds because their sizes closely resemble RVs. 

It’s also important to note that there are different types of parking depending on the amount spent on the parking space. 

  • Short-term parking may last only for a few hours up to one day. 
  • Long-term parking could last for more than a day up to a few weeks. 
  • Permanent parking has the intention of staying there for a few months and even a few years.

Parking in a spot not designated for recreational vehicles or tiny homes usually results in a stiff fine of $10 or more. The fine often depends on the parking laws of the city or municipality. 

In some states, it is illegal to live in a tiny house permanently. In most cases, it’s unlawful not because there is a specific law against it, but rather the rules are quite unclear how to classify tiny houses. 

Living permanently in an RV or any mobile home is illegal in most states. Most jurisdictions only allow people to dwell in an RV or tiny house on wheels (THOWs) for a couple of weeks up to one month. 

tiny home village parking

Legal Classification of a Tiny Home

To further understand where a tiny home can park, we must first establish how it is classified. Aside from being “small” to meet some of the building codes, tiny houses can also be considered as a home and a trailer cargo.

The treatment of tiny houses also varies depending on the state or jurisdiction. Some states like California, Minnesota, Florida, and Michigan are more lenient about the Tiny House Revolution. 

Generally, there are two classifications of tiny houses — first, tiny house on wheels, which sits on a trailer and can be mobile anytime. Second, small homes that sit on a foundation and is treated as a residential structure and thus follows the building code. 

Below are three classifications of a tiny home which directly affects where you can park the unit:

1. Trailer

In some jurisdictions, tiny houses are often treated simply as trailers or something that is being towed by a vehicle. However, some municipalities or cities have strict guidelines for the dimensions of what can be considered cargo. 

When a tiny home is considered as a trailer cargo, it has to follow the guidelines under the road usage law. Hence, the trailer’s dimension has to be limited to 40-feet long, 8.5-feet wide, and 13.5 feet tall. Furthermore, it must also have other safety devices such as tail lights and turning lights. 

2. Recreational Vehicle

You can register your tiny house as a recreational vehicle and have it reaped the benefits of an RV, including parking. The process usually involves getting a certificate from the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Furthermore, your tiny house will be inspected by a person from the city regulatory board to ensure everything is in place.

You also need to pay a certification fee, which varies from city to city. Once the process is through, your home is no longer just a tiny home that sits on a trailer but technically an RV. The main benefit of RV certification is that you can now park in RV parks with ease by merely showing them the certificate. 

However, there are also disadvantages of registering your tiny house as an RV. For example, you can only live anywhere between two weeks to one month inside an RV.

3. Accessory Dwelling Unit

The easiest way to define an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is that its a smaller housing option within a property. For a tiny home to be considered an ADU, you need to settle it in a property that has a larger traditional house.

However, once you register your tiny house as an ADU, it must be placed in a foundation and comply with the local building code. Furthermore, there are but a few jurisdictions that allow this type of setup.  

One of the loopholes that you can look into the local zoning laws is if they have ADU provisions. Some states also allow tiny houses as ADUs, if a resident of the tiny home is taking care of someone from the primary residence. 

tiny house on a foundation

Best Places Where You Can Park a Tiny Home Legally

1. RV Parks

RV parks are one of the best places to temporarily settle your tiny home. These locations usually have facilities such as water and power that can significantly improve your daily life. In some cases, these places may also have WiFi access and recreational amenities such as swimming pools. 

However, not all RV parks allow tiny homes into their vicinity for several reasons. If you are planning to park your small home unit in an RV park, make sure you check out if they allow it or not. 

Furthermore, very few RV parks allow permanent residence in their vicinity. Often, they only allow tiny homes to park for a few weeks or months. Rents also vary depending on the season that you visit these places. In some areas, parking fees could spike during seasons with lots of tourist activities such as in the spring or summer. 

2. Campgrounds

Some campgrounds allow tiny homes to park within their vicinity, especially if you have an RV certification. However, very few campgrounds offer the same amenities as RV parks. For this reason, campsites are often seen as a temporary parking option. 

tiny house parked near lake

The great thing about parking in campgrounds is it gives you direct access to nature or the closest tourist attraction. Campgrounds also bring a sort of community among people who are currently parked in the area. Here, it’s natural for people to share their stories about travel, current events, and life in general. 

Not all campgrounds, however, are the same. Some camping areas only have necessities such as a well and bonfire area. The general rule is the further the campsite is from the nearest city, the fewer its amenities. 

tiny homes park in campground

3. Private Property You Own

There are a few jurisdictions that allow you to park your tiny home in a piece of land you own. However, there might still be provisions that restrict this type of parking arrangement. For example, some towns only allow parking on private property if the tiny home has a foundation.

In some townships, they may require you to have a septic tank or well within the property. If you plan to live outside of a county, then most township require you to have these structures.

Before you purchase a piece of land or park your unit to the one you already own, do your research first. Look up in the city or municipality’s website for their zoning laws. You can even download some of these documents , but prepare for a long read.

If you don’t want to read the zoning laws, you can contact the town’s office directly and ask for advice. Some jurisdictions also entertain variance, which is a kind of exception for building a “unique” structure.

4. Your Backyard 

Permanently parking a tiny house at your backyard is generally illegal. However, there are several exceptions to this rule. Some jurisdictions have loopholes or provisions that may allow you to pull this off.

For example, some states allow you to register your tiny home as an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU). However, most jurisdictions only permit such an arrangement if you’re going to live part-time on your tiny house. In some cases, you also need to register your tiny home as an RV so you can take advantage of such loopholes.

Another exception to parking your tiny home in your backyard is if the zoning law has a caregiver provision. Under this stipulation, some jurisdictions allow people to live in a smaller home on the same property if they are taking care of someone in the main household.

Furthermore, some states also allow such an arrangement if the tiny home owner or ADU resident is a property or commercial sitter. In such cases, the residents are employed to secure the business complex or estate. 

5. Tiny House Communities

Over the years, some places have been rezoned to accommodate tiny house owners. From these areas emerged tiny house communities that allow tiny house parking for reasonable prices.

Some tiny house communities also allow renting a piece of land where you can park your small home for months or years, depending on your contract with the owner. Furthermore, most tiny house communities also allow small houses on wheels and those that are built over foundation. 

So far, these communities are the best place to park your tiny home, especially if you intend to stay or reside in the area for an extended period. Many of these communities also have amenities that you can find in RV parks such as power, water, on-site laundry, sewage access, and recreational activities. 

Below are some of the popular tiny house communities in the country:

  • Lemon Cove Village near the Sequoia National Park in California
  • The Sanctuary Minnesota Village in Minnesota
  • Whispering Aspen Village in Colorado
  • Orlando Lakefront in Florida
  • Tony Hsieh.Tiny House Community in Las Vegas

If you want to search for a tiny house community near your area, you can visit TinyHouseCommunity.com. 

tiny house hotel

Other Places Where You Can Temporarily Park a Tiny Home

Surprisingly, other establishments allow you to park your tiny home, albeit only for a short period. Many of these places usually have free parking, but some require some flat or per hour fees. 

1. Friend’s or Relative’s Property

If you register your tiny house on wheels as an RV, you can temporarily park it in a property owned by a relative or friend. Just make sure that you get their consent first before settling your tiny house on their land. 

However, most states only allow this type of arrangement for 3-5 days. Hence, once that period expires, you need to move your tiny home out of their property. If you are traveling around a friend’s area, you may want to inform them in advance of your intention to park in their lot. Just make sure that doing so doesn’t violate any zoning laws. 

Some homeowners also allow RVs and tiny homes to be parked in their property for a fair price. However, before you book the place, make sure that what you are doing isn’t going to violate any local laws or regulations. You can check out properties that allow tiny home parking at these websites:

2. Truck Stops

Truckers aren’t the only ones welcome in these establishments. Tiny homes on wheels and RVs can also park in them and enjoy the different shops around it. Truck stops are also great places to do your basic hygiene care and to stock up on supplies.  

However, because you also need to follow the regulations of the parking spaces that are usually meant for truckers. You also need to be mindful of your surroundings, especially because other large vehicles like oversized rigs and tractor-trailers even stop here. 

Furthermore, make sure you lock the doors of your tiny home and don’t leave any valuable items while you are away from your unit. 

3.Casinos

If your tiny mobile home is on the shorter side and registered as an RV, some casinos will allow you to park in their lot. Las Vegas casinos, for example, enable temporary parking as long as some available spaces or slots can accommodate your rig. 

The NASCAR circuit in Las Vegas also has an RV exclusive parking slots which charge a small fee. However, do take note that these fees can rise, especially during holidays, weekends and if there are events nearby. 

Consequently, not every casino allows tiny homes into their property. Hence, before you park your unit there, make sure to first check with the casino management if such an arrangement is possible. In most cases, RV parking lots are separated from the regular parking spots for smaller vehicles. 

4. Walmart

This might surprise you, but some stores of Walmart allow RVs and in extension, some tiny homes to park in their area. The chances of them allowing such arrangement is better on states that are deemed small home friendly. 

However, some stores are quite strict as to what type or size or RVs their parking lot can accommodate. Regardless, parking at Walmart while you shop is an efficient way of shopping for your supplies. 

To ensure you aren’t violating any rules of a particular Walmart store, ask the management first if they allow such an arrangement. Take note also that most branches only allow short-time parking or until their store closes. 

tiny house parked in RV parking

Where to Find the Best Tiny Home Parking Spots Online?

Whether you are looking for a short term or permanent parking for your tiny home, you can find most of them on the Internet. Many of these websites that post small home parking and communities were also started by people who support the Tiny House Movement. 

Below are some of the websites where you can find your next tiny home parking spot:

1. TryItTiny.com

Originally, TryItTiny is a property listing website which posts tiny homes for rent across the country. In recent years, however, the site has also begun listing properties that can host tiny mobile homes. Among the services offered by these hosts is parking, power, water, and other amenities.

The website also has a minimalistic and classy layout which sticks to how most tiny homes are designed. Furthermore, they also show reviews, ratings, and feedback of past customers about a particular listing. This feature is going to be quite handy when you are trying to make your decision about where to park. 

Furthermore, it also has Google map integration which helps you to navigate the location of the listing. TryItTiny has even listed down the events and celebrations near the host’s site to ensure you won’t be bored while you’re there.

2. TinyFriendly.com

If you want to park in a tiny home community, then look no further than TinyFriendly.com. This website jots down all of the known tiny house communities in the country. Currently, there are over 20 locations on the site, but this could grow more in the coming years.

The cool thing about TinyFriendly is the number of details you can get about a particular tiny home community. Each listing gives a clear description of what you can expect once you live or park in these communities. 

Additionally, it also mentions other opportunities available in the area, such as if there are lots for sale or rent. It also tells readers if they can bring their own tiny home or if they need to rent one. The site also has its own Facebook group where you can reach out to fellow tiny home owners.

However, the website is still relatively new, and the number of listings is only a few. That is quite understandable as there are only 10,000 to 12,000 tiny house units in the US, according to tiny house manufacturers .

3. TinyHomeClassified.com

This online platform was created by GiveBig and GoTiny, two of the known brands in the tiny house space. It’s meant to be a website that caters to the micro-housing community. Here you can find listings of small houses for sale, pre-built homes, and other services related to the industry.

More importantly, the website also has listings of tiny home communities and parking spaces across the country. Consequently, it also listed lands where you can place your tiny home be it on a foundation or still on its trailer.

This online classifieds also has clear photos of the property or land, which you can review before you decide to avail the parking services. However, because tiny homes are a relatively new concept, there are only a few parking spaces listed on the site.

Regardless, TinyHomeClassified is still a great website where you can strike good deals related to tiny homes. They also have a blog page that has a few articles about the Tiny House movement. 

4. MyTinyHouseParking.com

When you are looking for the best parking spots for tiny houses, this website is an excellent online resource. MyTinyHouseParking is part of the Tiny House Network, covers everything related to the Tiny House Movement. 

Here you can find different parking options such as RV parks, tiny house communities, and private parking options. Their listings also have Google map function so you can quickly tell the location of the parking space.

Furthermore, the website also describes in detail the parking space, including the amenities that the management offers. The site also tells you how many lots of spots are still available in the particular parking listing. 

The monthly parking fee for most of the listings here ranges from $225 to $700, which also reflects the average price on most tiny house listing sites.   

5. Craigslist

Craigslist is the largest classified ads website in the US. As such, it wouldn’t be entirely surprising to see posts related to tiny house parking. Some homeowners or establishments list their properties here specifically for RV and mobile home parking purposes. 

If you need a place where you can temporarily park your tiny home while visiting a particular area, Craigslist can help. Most of their listings have pictures that can help you determine if that parking spot fits your needs.

However, before you contact the person who posted that listing, makes sure that the jurisdiction allow parking of tiny homes . If the city or township has a website, you can research if the existing zoning laws allow such a setup.

Additionally, you can also check with the lister if their neighbors won’t mind seeing a tiny home parked on their neighborhood. 

family in a parked tiny home

Conclusion 

Finding a place where you can legally park your tiny house can be quite challenging, especially for new owners. Fortunately, the Tiny House Movement is slowly gaining traction and support from different parts of the country. With this renewed interest in tiny houses, many parking solutions are coming out of the woodwork. 

We hope that this article has helped you understand where you can park your mobile tiny home without having to deal with the law. 

Related Questions

How much does it cost to park a tiny home?

Tiny home parking fees can vary depending on the period you are going to use the spot, the area it is in, and the time of the year. Short-term parking may cost around $10-12, which lasts only a day. Meanwhile, monthly rents on tiny home communities range between $600 to $1,200 depending on the amenities within the facility.

Can I put my tiny house on my property?

Yes, but there are some rules you need to follow, depending on how it is classified in your jurisdiction. If it’s an ADU, then you have to comply with the building code and zoning laws in your area. However, if you register it as an RV, you may not live in it for a long time, and it needs to be next to temporary residential housing. 

Why are tiny houses illegal in some states?

The idea of a tiny home is entirely new, and legislation in some states hasn’t caught up with this development. Hence, it is quite difficult to regulate them if the local government will use the building codes and zoning laws meant for larger traditional housing options. Furthermore, the design of tiny homes sometimes doesn’t comply with the safety provisions of residential building code.  

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