Category: Tiny Home Traveling

What are the Different Types of Tiny House Trailers?

What are the Different Types of Tiny House Trailers?

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The trailer of a tiny house is an aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked because this serves as the foundation.

Your tiny house trailer is where your tiny house journey begins.  This is because the trailer serves as the foundation of your tiny house. And, a good foundation is very important in every new venture. 

There are a lot of things that go around when building a tiny house. As unique as each tiny house is, having them built on trailers has become popular throughout the years.

There are actually a few types of tiny house trailers that you can choose from. The choices might be few, but it can surely confuse you most especially when you have no idea about such things. With this in mind, we have created a list of the types of tiny houses trailers and some other things that you need to know before settling into one.

4 Popular Tiny House Trailer Choices

Mobile tiny house. Great for outdoor experiences and wildlife. Lots of mobility and pure adventure. No need for special authorizations, only a decent car to pull this tiny house and off you go.
When choosing a trailer, make sure that you will get what it fitted to the design of your tiny house.

1. The Deck-Between Trailer

The Deck-Between trailer has a flatbed in between the wells of the two wheels. This means that the bed sits a little lower from where the tip of the wheel well reaches. Due to this, the tiny house bed can’t be wider than the space between the two wheels. 

The width of the bed is confined by how far apart the wheel wells can be. With this, the floor of your tiny house will be very limited. 

The advantage of using the deck-between trailer is that it sits nicely to the ground since it is very low. This makes it easier to build a taller tiny house in as much as it makes it possible to build a two-story tiny house.

2. Deck-Over Trailer

As the term implies, the deck over trailer is a trailer type where the bed is placed above the wheel wells. Typically, such trailer types measure around eight feet wide. 

The deck over trailer gives extra space on each side of the tiny house. But, it is too far from the ground which means that a loft is not advisable. This means that the only choice for you is a one-story tiny house.

3. Dove Tail

The dovetail trailer can either have a deck-between trailer or deck-over trailer. What makes a dovetail trailer different from deck-between and deck above trailers is that it has angled towards the ground sections on the rear. 

This feature is usually found on trailers that were once used to move around cars, trucks, or any other vehicles. The benefit of the dovetail section is that loading this trailer is much easier compared to other trailer types. 

On the other side, the dovetail section makes it a little awkward to build a tiny house on the flatbed. But if you still want to pursue this type of trailer, then you will have to apply additional welding in as much as modifying the dovetail before building your tiny house is a must.

4. Gooseneck

This type of tiny house trailer can either be a deck over model or a deck between trailers. It was named after special hitches that it has. Moving around this trailer type requires you to have a pickup truck. 

The head of the pickup truck has a ball hitch. The trailer’s gooseneck then reaches the tailgate of the truck in order to be attached to the installed hitch. 

This type of trailer is well-fitted for the tiny house for a few reasons. First, moving it around is easier due to the pick-up truck. Second, it is light. And lastly, it’s size is real for tiny houses.

Gross Weight Vehicle Rating

Regardless of what trailer type you would like to use as the foundation of your tiny house, knowing what Gross Weight Vehicle Rating or GWVH is very important. 

Basically, the GWVH is how much weight the axles are able to carry. The axles are the parts of the trailer that attach the wheels. It is also known as the weight limit for your specific vehicle which was set by automakers. 

In computing the GWVH of your trailer truck, the base curb weight of the vehicle and the weight of any optional accessories, cargo and passengers are added. To be safer, you should not load your trailer truck more than what it is capable of. 

If you overload your trailer truck then the breaks might not be enough to stop it when needed. The suspension components might not work. It is also possible that break under the added strain which might make the tires generate more heat for it to explode.

GVWR is not the total weight of the trailer. The total weight of the trailer is called gross vehicle weight or GVW. GVWR is constant while GVW is changing. 

To understand further, take a look at this example:

You and your friend are riding the same vehicle. Your friend went out of the vehicle. Since your friend exited the vehicle, the GVW is reduced while the GVWR still remains. 

One thing to always keep in mind when towing your tiny house trailer is that the total weight of the trailer is not a part of the GVW of the vehicle. However, the weight of the part of the trailer that is attached to the trailer hitch known as the tongue weight is part of the GVW of the vehicle. Neither of the two affects the GVWR. 

Trailers have their own GVWR. If you want to find out the GVWR of your vehicle, labels are usually found in the area where the driver’s door latches.  If you can’t find it there, you can look for it on the internet.

Things to Consider

Mobile tiny house. Great for outdoor experiences and wildlife. Lots of mobility and pure adventure.
There are a few things that you have to consider in order to choose the best trailer for your tiny house.

There are a few things that you need to consider when choosing a trailer for your tiny house. First things first, the trailer should have a place where you can place your license plate and brake lights, of course. Otherwise, you will be legally charged for it and you won’t even make it long on national roads. 

So, here are some of the things that you have to consider when buying a trailer:

1. Size of Your Trailer

Ideally, you should already have the design of your tiny house before buying a trailer. However, there are limitations to trailer sizes that you need to know. 

Legally speaking, the maximum width for trailers is 8’6″. Also, in most states, tiny houses are only allowed 13’6 inches off the ground. But in some Western States, they allow as high as 14′. 

The allowable measurement for trailers is 53′. If it goes beyond that, a special permit is needed. 

With that in mind, trailers for tiny houses should not be more than 28′. When choosing the trailers, do not forget to consider the length of your hitch as well. 

2. Hitch

There are five different types of trailer hitches available. But regardless of what type of trailer you end up with, the only hitch that you can use for a tiny house is the Class V trailer. The Class V trailer hitch can max out as much as 17,000 pounds, enough for your tiny house to be moved around. 

Hitches have this so-called tongue weight which refers to its own capacity for weight. In other terms, this is the total weight the hitch can shoulder. Make sure that you consider this factor into your final trailer weight calculations. 

But before you can calculate the final trailer weight, you must know first that too much or too little tongue weight affects the rowing of your tiny house. If you already know the weight of your tiny house, you can simply ask the towing vehicle manufacturer the right amount of the tongue load. 

This means that your ball mount and hitch ball should be rated for Class V too. Thankfully, these are available in almost any auto body store at a very affordable price.

3. Towing Vehicle 

The towing vehicle might not be connected to the trailer at all times but it is needed in order to move around if you want a mobile tiny house. In most cases, a full-sized truck is enough to do the job. 

If not a full-size truck, a large SUV is a good choice too. But if what you have is a gooseneck trailer, then what you will need as a towing vehicle is a pickup truck. 

There is no such thing as one size fits all when it comes to towing vehicles. This is because the towing vehicle that you will choose has something to do with how heavy your trailer, your tiny house, and your things are.

Here is a guide on how you will choose a towing vehicle for your tiny house. 

a. Light to Medium Duty

Light to medium-duty vehicles refers to either light trucks, minivans, or sedans. These vehicles can handle more or less 3,500 pounds. Honestly speaking, it is almost impossible for a trailer truck, a tiny house, and all your stuff to just weigh 3,500 pounds.

b. Medium to Heavy Duty

Medium to heavy-duty vehicles should handle as much as 5,000 pounds. Usually, these vehicles have two dual axle trailers or one large axle. The problem is, such towing vehicles come in different types. These vehicles could vary when it comes to towing capacity by as much as 3,000 pounds. 

c. Extra Heavy Duty

Extra heavy-duty vehicles refer to commercial vehicles that can tow up to 10,000 pounds. Using an extra heavy-duty towing vehicle will take so much controlling power which you have to find out from the dealer or manufacturer. 

d. Super Heavy Duty

If the total weight of your tiny house and trailer is more than 10,000 pounds, then certainly, you will need this type of vehicle. 

The good thing about towing vehicles is that knowing their capacity is not a guessing game. And, if you can’t afford to buy a towing vehicle at the moment, you can simply hire one as long as you have your own hitch.

4. Cost

An average trailer cost around $3,000. But if you can’t afford the price, you can settle for a used one. You can also modify it if you want. 

Trailers have been long debated because basically, it serves as the foundation of a tiny house. Some people choose to spend more on it while others prefer to allot more to the tiny house itself. 

Ideally, you should know the price of different trailers first before you settle into one. This will help you know what goes within your budget or how much you need to get the trailer that you want. 

5. Tiny House – Specific Trailers 

The popularity of tiny houses gave birth to trailers specifically for them. These trailers ensure heavy-duty steel construction and axles, unlike regular trailers which barely have wood decking. Tiny house-specific trailers have steel beams where the tiny house is secured. 

There are already a few companies that build such trailers. Aside from the better features that these trailers have, they can also be of help to figure out the other aspects of a tiny house that you need to understand.

6. Where to Park

One of the most important factors to consider when it comes to trailers and tiny houses is where you are going to park it. The answer lies in the zoning regulations that each state has. Each state has different zoning laws and regulations which makes it very important to find them out before you park. 

Some of the thing you have to look into include:

a. Minimum square footage for tiny houses 

b. Legal parks for RVs

c. Whether you can live temporarily or permanently in an RV or tiny house

f. If the accessory dwelling unit or ADU is allowed or not

Conclusion

Choosing the right trailer for your tiny house is a very important decision. This is because the trailer will serve as the foundation of your tiny house. And, foundations should be strong and made out of high-quality materials to ensure safety. At the end of the day, what you will choose tells how your tiny house will last. 

Related Questions

What size trailer should I use for my tiny house?

The average dimensions for a  tiny house trailer are 20 to 24 feet long, and 90 inches wide. But still, each state has specific rules when it comes to the size of a tiny house trailer that they allow so, check it out first before buying one. 

Do you need a permit to build a tiny house on a trailer?

Yes, most states require a permit to build a tiny house be it on trailer or not. This means that you have to secure a permit first and know existing laws and regulations to be sure that everything is legal. Be careful with this as a different state has different laws, regulations, and requirements for tiny houses. 

How do attach a tiny house to the trailer?

The basic steps when attaching a tiny house trailer are flashing the underside and attaching the subfloor. Flashing the underside means securing the subfloor by installing a metal barrier under. In attaching the subfloor, it is recommended to add a steel flange along the side edges of the trailer to be more secured.

Tiny Houses Legality: Everything You Need to Know

Tiny Houses Legality: Everything You Need to Know

Mobile tiny house. Great for outdoor experiences and wildlife. Lots of mobility and pure adventure. No need for special authorizations, only a decent car to pull this tiny house and off you go.
Tiny houses aren’t just tiny houses. They are following rules and regulations that each state has made.

About 10 years ago, tiny houses became popular. Since then, a lot of people have embraced minimalism through the tiny house lifestyle. Much more than a simpler lifestyle, tiny houses have helped people save money while saving the environment as well. 

Due to its increasing popularity, states across nations have developed building codes and zoning regulations specifically for tiny houses. These building codes and zoning regulations have a direct impact on the construction and placement of tiny houses. 

Whether you are planning to build a tiny house right on your own property or move into a tiny house community, you must know the tiny house legalities in your area. 

Before you finally move into a tiny house, it pays that you carefully review the state and local regulations. Knowing so will help you get the most out of your tiny house right at the moment you step foot on it. 

Here is everything that you need to know about tiny houses’ legality.

Building Codes for Tiny Houses

The following standardization for tiny houses are made in compliance with the International Building Code (IBC)

Ceiling Height

The ceiling of a tiny house in common spaces must have a minimum height of 6 feet 8 inches. Bathrooms must have a minimum of 6 feet 4 inches while lofts are allowed to be less than 6 feet 8 inches. 

Windows

There is no existing law that requires how many windows a tiny house should have. However, the law requires tiny houses to abide by the standard requirement, which is to have at least one window that can be used as an emergency exit. This is important so that you can easily escape in case an emergency happens. 

The bottom of the opening of the window shall not be located more than 44 inches above the loft floor. 

Plumbing

One separate bathroom is required for each tiny house. This is required for sanitation purposes. It would be unhygienic to place your bathroom right inside your tiny house without a wall to keep it separate from the rest of your tiny house. 

Mobile tiny house interior. Great for outdoor experiences and wildlife. Lots of space and pure adventure.
There are parts of the tiny houses which follow certain standards as some codes require.

Lofts

The code does not include the loft in the maximum floor area that a tiny house can have. However, the code requires a minimum floor area and dimensions for a tiny house if it will be used for living and sleeping. 

According to Section AQ104 of the IBC, lofts shall have a minimum floor area not less than 35 square feet and shall not be less than 5 feet in any horizontal dimension. 

However, there are portions of the loft that are not included in the minimum floor area and horizontal dimension that is required. If a portion of a slope is less than 3 feet from the floor to the ceiling, then this is not included in the minimum area required for a loft. 

Stairways

Tiny houses are required to have stairs in order to reach loft areas. Stairways above the handrail height shall not be lower than 17 inches while the stairways below the handrail height shall not be less than 20 inches in width. 

Risers shall not be less than 12 inches in height and not more than 7 inches in width. To get the accepted riser height of a certain tiny house, the following formula is used: 

15 inches – ¾ of the Tread depth = Risers Height

Tread depth, on the other hand, is calculated using this formula:

20 inches – 4/3 of the riser height = Tread Depth

 A landing platform shall be built from the top tread and the riser of the stairway accessing the loft area. The landing platform shall have the following measurements

 and dimensions:

  • 16 inches to 18 inches in height from the landing platform to the loft floor
  • 18 inches to 22 inches in depth from the nosing of the landing platform to the edge of the loft

The handrails and stair guards of tiny house stairs follow the same dimensions that are required in a full-sized house. 

Ladders

The rung of the ladders that are used to access the loft area of a tiny house shall have a width that is not lower than 12 inches. The rungs shall have 20 to 14 inches spaces in between. 

It is required that a ladder could support a 200-pound load and shall be installed at a 70 to 80-degree horizontal incline.

When it comes to Alternating Tread Devices or Ship Ladders, the required is 20 inches and above below the handrail height. Loft guards shall be placed on the side of the loft that is open. The minimum height for loft guards is either 36 inches or ½ of the height to the ceiling.

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Zoning Regulations

In as much as you can’t build a full-sized house anywhere, tiny houses have restrictions when it comes to where you can build or park them. To find out if it is legal to park or build a tiny house to where you are planning to have one, consult your local zoning department. 

There are federal laws and local zoning regulations that a tiny house should comply with. However, you are allowed to build outside of the existing codes by applying through your local planning commission. At the end of the day, it all boils down to how tiny-house friendly a place is. 

Variations in Tiny Houses

Generally, there are two types of tiny houses – tiny houses on wheels and tiny houses on a foundation. The rules and regulations that govern each of these types of tiny houses vary drastically. Take a further look at the things that each of these types has to abide:

Tiny House on Wheels

Legally, tiny houses on wheels are called recreational vehicles or RV. This means that you have to find a legal place where you can park your vehicle. RVs are required to be registered with the state’s motor vehicles department. 

While there are a lot of campsites in the States, most of the states do not allow an RV to serve as a full-time residency. Not unless the campsite has a designated RV parking area. 

In most cases, these rules are not followed not unless you give your neighborhood a reason to complain against you. 

Tiny Houses on Foundation

Tiny houses on a foundation are legally referred to as an accessory dwelling units or ADU. This type of tiny house may be site-built, or it may be transported to your lot and permanently attached to the foundation. They often come in the form of cottages or granny flats.

Due to the regulations which prohibit purchasing lands for tiny houses alone, most owners opt to build their tiny house beside an existing residential dwelling. 

Codes and Regulations for Tiny Homes in Some States

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In the United States of America, laws, and requirements from each state vary.

Whether you own a tiny house or plan to have one, you will surely come across the problem of where you can build or park it. Finding a place where you can legally have a tiny house is not as easy as it sounds. 

Finding a place where you can home your tiny house starts with knowing the codes and regulations that each state has. Here are the codes and regulations that each state has when it comes to where you can build or park your tiny house:

Alabama

Tiny House Friendly: 2⁄10

In Alabama, tiny houses are not that accepted. The building codes and zoning requirements drastically differ from one country to another. In fact, some cities in Alabama have their own set of limiting and unique requirements, which makes it hard to make tiny houses.

Thankfully, Alabama has not totally closed its door to tiny houses. Some areas in the state have accepted it. In Jefferson County, ADUs are allowed in certain areas, given they do not exceed 200 square feet. 

Alaska

Tiny House Friendly: 4⁄10

Alaska is more open to tiny houses than it is in Alabama. But, there are still considerable differences between counties and towns in the state. In the Anchorage metropolitan area of the state alone, around 40 percent of the state’s population lives there already.

Tiny houses on a foundation are required to secure a conditional use permit and have to meet certain building codes. On the other hand, tiny houses on wheels are considered as RVs, which makes them restricted to R – 5 zones. Also, the state requires tiny houses that are built on municipal properties to be connected to sewage and water.

A point to remember is that Anchorage’s suburbs have specific requirements that vary from unincorporated areas. In addition, Anchorage and the communities that surround it do not have official building codes that are specifically made for tiny houses. 

Arizona

Tiny House Friendly: 7⁄10

Arizona is more tiny house friendly than other states. Just like any other state, it does not have statewide tiny home building and zoning requirements. Due to this, tiny houses are subjected to city and county regulations and laws.

In Piman City, which is located on the southern border with Mexico, building a tiny house is legal. Pima City is the second most populated county in the state of Arizona. Tucson and its suburbs mostly compromise this county. 

In this county, a tiny house on a foundation can be built on any lot allotted for single-family detached houses. On the other hand, a tiny house on wheels is considered as a factory-built home given that it is located on a permanent foundation, and its suspension and axles have been removed.

The county has building codes that are specifically made for tiny houses. Such building codes include the following:

  • Tiny houses with loft areas should have stairs or ladders as access. 
  • Tiny houses with lofts must follow standardized safety requirements. 
  • Tiny houses must abide by the special electrical circuit requirements.

The building codes in the county do not have any specific requirements when it comes to the number of windows, doors and emergency exits. It does not also require any specific ceiling height. 

As of now, the county places second as the most tiny house friendly area in the state, which is followed by Coconino county. Unluckily, other areas in Arizona do not still have tiny house regulations. 

Arkansas

Tiny House Friendly: 2⁄10

It is not a secret that the housing cost in California is expensive. This makes it very thrilling to know that somehow, California is open to tiny houses. Tiny houses are considered to be accessory dwelling units or ADUs in most jurisdictions which means that they are allowed yet with certain restrictions.

The destructive fires in Sonoma County have made it possible to build tiny houses without building permits. It also has permitted the fire victims to build tiny houses without compelling zoning. 

Tiny homes on wheels are allowed as a secondary dwelling in San Francisco and Fresno as long as there is an existing residential house in the lot. 

This means that tiny houses are only allowed in a residential neighborhood and can’t be built as a permanent house. 

One thing to keep in mind when planning to have a tiny house in California is that RVs are not allowed to serve as a permanent house. But this isn’t exactly an issue. Besides, California has one of the highest numbers of nomads. 

Nomad is the general term used for people who travel trailers or even their car or the ones who live in RVs. They are the ones who do not have a permanent address. It is advised to reach out to local jurisdictions since laws and regulations vary from one suburb to another in California. 

Colorado

Tiny House Friendly: 6⁄10

In Colorado, there is no such thing as national laws or regulations specifically for tiny houses. The good thing is many counties have welcomed people who want to live in this lifestyle. 

There are already established site-built tiny house codes in Park County. To be more specific, tiny houses in this county must have a private bathroom and a separate closet. The private bathroom must have a lavatory, a water closet, and either a shower or a bathtub.

Moreover, if the tiny house is for one or two occupants, then it should at least be 220 square feet. An additional 100 square feet is required for an additional occupant. 

Tiny houses in Park County should also abide by the standard residential building codes for life safety features, mechanical equipment, ventilation, and lighting.

Also, the kitchen counter’s work area should be at least 30 inches long. If a modular or manufactured tiny house is your choice, then it should at least be 600 square feet. It should also follow local Land Use Regulations.

Walsenburg has a specific regulation when it comes to tiny houses. Tiny homes are required to compel to a lot of building code requirements just like residential houses do. However, the city has certain requirements when it comes to exit door width, stairways, and minimum square footage.

Connecticut

Tiny House Friendly: 0/10

Connecticut is considered as one of the strictest cities when it comes to tiny houses, be it an RV or on foundation. Despite the fact that the city needs affordable houses, the topic of tiny houses is not yet unveiled yet. This is because its zoning regulations aren’t compatible with tiny houses.

Delaware

Tiny House Friendly: 4⁄10

There is no specific regulation for tiny houses yet in Delaware, but there are already advocates who are bringing out the topic. Tiny houses on wheels are considered RVs in Delaware. This means that the owner should secure an ownership title 30 days after purchase. 

If a tiny house is greater than 400 square feet, then it is qualified as a mobile home. Thus, it has to abide by existing laws and regulations. On the other hand, if a tiny house falls less than 400 square feet, then it is considered as a trailer. 

Florida

Tiny House Friendly: 7⁄10

Most parts of Florida have openly welcomed tiny house dwellers. In Florida, there are already existing tiny house hotels and rental communities which allow everyone to experience the lifestyle. This indicates how open the city is when it comes to tiny houses. 

Tiny houses on wheels in Florida are required to be properly registered as RV at the Department of Motor Vehicles. On the other hand, laws and regulations on tiny houses on foundation vary from one area to another. 

In St. Petersburg, accessory dwelling units or ADUs that are between 375 and 750 square feet are only allowed in specific zones. 

While in Orange County, it is required that an accessory dwelling unit should at least have footage of 400 square feet. Lastly, in Sarasota County, if you plan to stay in the same RV park for 45 days or more then you should build it on a foundation. 

Georgia

Tiny House Friendly: 8⁄10

Just like Florida, Georgia has widely accepted tiny houses too despite the lack of statewide regulations and requirements. This is because tiny homes are more affordable compared to traditional houses. Most areas in Georgia have not addressed the issue yet between tiny houses on foundations and tiny houses on wheels.

In most cases, tiny house owners are required to abide by the 2012 International Residential Code. Furthermore, accessory dwelling units or ADUs are not legally available for rent. 

Particularly, there is no minimum square footage requirement for accessory dwelling units in Decatur since 2014 under the Unified Development Ordinance.

On the other hand, Atlanta has classified accessory dwelling units as a tiny house that has a kitchen stove. Tiny houses with full-time occupancy are also considered as ADUs. Such tiny houses are only allowed in R-5 zoned areas. 

Tiny houses without full-time occupancy or gas stove are considered as a guest house. Guesthouses are allowed to stay anywhere from R – 1 to R – 5 zoned areas. 

Hawaii

Tiny House Friendly: 5⁄10

Unlike other states, regulations, and requirements of tiny houses in Hawaii is statewide. Tiny houses are allowed to be built anywhere in the state. Tiny homeowners wanna-be can freely buy land and build a tiny house. But, tiny houses are not allowed in places that are ruled by restrictive covenants. 

Hawaii has a unique requirement when it comes to tiny houses on wheels. This is because tiny houses on wheels are considered as ADUs in the state. This means that they have to abide by all relevant zoning restrictions. They are also considered travel trailers so they must be registered to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. 

The Hawaii Tiny House Initiative has greatly contributed to accommodate the affordable housing needs of the state’s agriculture workers. Building a house in Hawaii is expensive due to the booming tourism industry that makes it hard for residents to build a home which makes tiny houses a perfect option for them. 

County codes have been changed through the Hawaii Tiny House Initiative. Such codes have allowed tiny houses (less than 220 square feet) to be built as special farm dwellings. These special farm dwellings should have a bathroom and a separate living room and kitchen. 

Idaho

Tiny House Friendly: 7⁄10

Different types of tiny homes have different definitions in Idaho, which serve as the basis for regulations going forward. Tiny houses in Idaho must comply with one of the following options:

  • Modular Tiny House – This is a type of tiny home that has been mostly or entirely prefabricated in another place before it has been transported to its intended location. A modular tiny house must follow everything under the HUD construction and safety standards created for manufactured housing. A modular tiny house should at least have a floor space of 150 square feet.
  • Site – Built – Site built tiny houses are the ones that are built where they are really intended to be placed.vThey are not meant to be moved or relocated. It should also have a floor space of 150 square feet just like the modular tiny house. 
  • Recreational Vehicle – A recreational vehicle in Idaho is defined as a travel trailer, camping trailer, motor home, or truck camper that is designed for emergency human habitation or for recreation. Their maximum width is 8½ feet.

Illinois

Tiny House Friendly: 5⁄10

Most areas in Illinois have not yet accepted tiny houses. Besides, there are areas which really do not accept tiny houses. Chicago and other cities, for example, have not allowed tiny houses to be built in their respective areas at all. 

Yet, there are still places that have accepted tiny houses. In these areas, tiny houses are allowed to be built or parked in private properties as well as in mobile home parks and campgrounds. 

Whether you can build a tiny house or not on your own land depends on the county-specific rules. If what you own is a tiny house on wheels, then it is classified as a recreational trailer that compels you to register it to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Indiana

Tiny House Friendly: 6⁄10

Building codes for tiny houses in Indiana vary from one place to another. The residential building codes in the state are not applicable to tiny houses that were built for personal use. This is known as The Log Cabin Rule. The Log Cabin Rule is only applicable to tiny houses that are fixed on lands and not on wheels. 

You can, however, find tiny home neighborhoods in Indiana. Some residential neighborhoods have also been allowed to build tiny houses near or beside residential homes. Also, the tiny house rules vary in Carmel, Indianapolis, Evansville, Fort Wayne, South Bend, Bloomington, and others.

Iowa

Tiny House Friendly: 3⁄10

A lot of communities and counties in Iowa can’t build tiny houses because of the set minimum square footage requirements for residential dwellings. This requirement hinders residents from building their own tiny house in their desired area. One particular place with such a rule is Iowa Falls.

In Iowa Falls, the minimum size requirement for residential properties has been adjusted to 500 square feet. So, the city can only allow larger tiny homes as of this time. But actually, the 500 square feet minimum is a downgrade of the 600 square feet requirement before. 

Other parts of Iowa greatly discourage tiny homes. In Des Moines, a proposed tiny house development was not approved. This means that people who want to have a tiny house near Des Moines should look for land in rural or outlying areas surrounding the city. These places have less stringent zoning regulations.

Kansas

Tiny House Friendly: 6⁄10

Kansas is more open to tiny houses as long as it is on a foundation and not on wheels. There are county-wide and state-wide regulations in the state when it comes to tiny houses. The minimum square footage for tiny houses on a foundation is 170 square feet. 

The 170 square feet floor space should have one room and a second room which can’t be either the bathroom or kitchen. The second room should at least be 50 square feet. 

Furthermore, all tiny houses on foundation should be built on a lot with an area of at least 3,000 square feet. RS3 is the smallest zoning district that allows tiny houses. 

Accessory dwelling units are not allowed in RS3 or RS5 zoned areas. They can only be built on single dwelling residential zoning areas with the likes of  RS40, RS, RS10, and RS7. Composting toilets are banned regardless of where the tiny house is built. 

But, propane gas and solar panels are allowed based on IFC regulations. A small wind generation system that does not exceed 35 feet is also permitted. 

Tiny houses on wheels are not allowed to park in private lands and parks. They can only be parked on designated campgrounds. 

Kentucky

Tiny House Friendly: 5⁄10

Most tiny houses in Kentucky are built in Louisville because of how large the city is. There are specific rules in restriction in the city but all in all, tiny houses are allowed in the entire metropolis. 

Site-built or permanent tiny homes are allowed only if they are built on a foundation. And, the process of securing building requests for a tiny house on a foundation is the same as acquiring other residential construction requests.

In Louisville, a modular tiny house is considered as a house with components that are made off-site that will be assembled on a fixed foundation later on. In order for a tiny house to be considered as a modular home, special tiny house construction kits should be used. 

Louisville is very open to tiny houses but a special review process is necessary before a permit may be granted. The applicant may also be required to submit additional documentation to secure a building permit. 

On the other hand, tiny houses on wheels are required for the zoning restrictions of Louisville. Keep in mind that manufactured and assembled off-site tiny houses are considered as pre-manufactured homes in the state. Pre-manufactured homes in Louisville are subject to special state approval. 

Louisiana

Tiny House Friendly: 4⁄10

A lot of tiny home designs are not conducive to Louisiana’s building regulations. This is because compliance with the 2012 International Residential Code is mandatory in the state. 

The code requires ceilings of tiny houses to be elevated to at least 7 feet. This includes lofts and all other areas of the structure. Stairs are more preferred than ladders in loft areas. A window that serves as an emergency exit is also required. 

Furthermore, one of the rooms of the tiny house should at least have a floor area of 120 square feet. Doors, hallways, and staircases must be 3 feet or wider. The city is open to tiny houses but its restrictions make it hard to build a tiny house. 

Maine

Tiny House Friendly: 9⁄10

Maine is one of the few states that has approved requirements when it comes to the construction of tiny houses. To begin with, a tiny house should not exceed 400 square feet. Sleeping lofts with ladders as access are allowed. Skylights in loft areas that serve as emergency exits are also allowed. 

Tiny houses on foundation must comply with the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code requirements. These guidelines for tiny houses are statewide, but cities have the power to deny a construction request. 

There are areas in Maine too wherein boat houses are converted into an accessory dwelling unit following the time home’s construction guidelines.

Tiny houses on North Yarmouth are considered as camping if it is in the same exact location for more than 120 days of the year. If it exceeds 120 days, then it must comply with the established building codes for tiny homes already. Tiny homes that were built before the effective date of the ordinance are exempted. The same goes for land areas that are more than 30,000 square feet.

Maryland

Tiny House Friendly: 4⁄10

There is no specific definition of what a tiny house is in Maryland. This means that there are no existing tiny house laws or requirements yet in the state. But generally speaking, they consider tiny houses on wheels as recreational activities or RVs. 

Since tiny houses on wheels are considered as RVs, they can only be parked on designated RV parks. It is the management of the RV parks too who establishes specific rules for the tiny houses. 

Tiny houses on a foundation are allowed in most areas in Maryland. That is, as long as zoning restrictions in urban and suburban areas permit. But since such zoning restrictions do not confirm with tiny houses, most tiny houses then are in rural areas. 

Massachusetts

Tiny House Friendly: 8⁄10

Living in a tiny house that meets the requirements for an accessory dwelling unit is an easier option than living in a tiny house on wheels in Massachusetts. Most of the towns in the state allow accessory dwelling units. But, the building requirements vary from one town to another. 

They are very open to tiny houses that certain towns allow up to three ADUs with the condition that the third tiny house should not be more than 550 square feet. However, the state has no definite definition yet of what a tiny house is. But certainly, tiny houses do not meet the requirements for accessory dwelling units.

Tiny houses on wheels are allowed for camping purposes in the state as long as they are parked on an RV park. Certain problems may arise for people who want to permanently live on tiny houses on wheels. 

Michigan

Tiny House Friendly: 8⁄10

In the entire state of Michigan, zoning restrictions and building requirements are set in order to accommodate tiny houses. There were campaigns before for accessory dwelling units to be allowed in all residential areas as well.

As a matter of fact, Economy Efficiency Dwelling was introduced in Briley Township. An Economy Efficiency Dwelling is a house that has an area between 240 and 500 square feet. The exterior of this dwelling should be between 20 to 30 feet wide and 12 and 20 feet tall. 

In addition, it also has to abide by the state’s sanitation and building codes. Economy Efficiency Dwellings is also required to meet all requirements for a Certificate of Occupancy. 

They must be built on a permanent foundation. Such houses are only allowed in areas zoned for Residential 2, Agriculture and Forest Rec.

Minnesota

Tiny House Friendly: 7⁄10

For zoning purposes, Minnesota has defined tiny houses in two ways. The first one is, tiny houses on wheels are Recreational Activities or RVs. The second one is, tiny houses on foundations are considered as accessory dwelling units. 

This is because ADUs in the state are required to be built on a foundation. Furthermore, ADUs also have to comply with the same building codes for traditional houses. 

Finding a place where building or parking a tiny house is legal is very hard in the city. Thankfully, a lot of towns in this state are becoming more open to tiny houses as a more affordable option for seniors and disabled residents. 

Mississippi

Tiny House Friendly: 4⁄10

After Mississippi was hit by hurricane Katrina, the state has used tiny homes as emergency shelters. But, the use of tiny houses as a permanent home is not yet allowed in most cities of the state. Generally, Mississippi has not yet officially accepted tiny houses since there are no defined rules and requirements yet. 

However, there have been a lot of efforts in order for tiny houses to be fully accepted and be legalized in the state. Tiny houses on permitted places typically measure between 100 square feet and 900 square feet. 

Some of the places in Mississippi which have accepted tiny houses include Southaven, Jackson, Vicksburg, Biloxi, Meridian, Hattiesburg, Meridian, Gulfport, and Tupelo.

Missouri

Tiny House Friendly: 3⁄10

Tiny houses on wheels are considered travel trailers in most parts of  Missouri. This limits the place where tiny houses on wheels can park. Travel trailers are defined in the wheel-mounted portable temporary shelter platform. 

Travel trailers are not allowed to be parked on streets and in any public place in the entire state. They are also not allowed to be used inside the boundaries of a city. Tiny houses with a living area that is less than 220 square feet are not required to secure special permits. 

The cities Saint Charles, Branson, St. Louis, Jefferson City, Kansas City, Columbia, and Springfield have permitted site-built tiny homes on foundations. However, zoning restrictions and construction guidelines vary between cities. 

Montana

Tiny House Friendly: 3⁄10

Montana is in great need for affordable housing solutions but has not yet recognized the existence of tiny houses. This makes it important for tiny house owners wanna-be in the state to do thorough research on laws and permissions which might be needed when building or parking a tiny house. 

Tiny houses on a foundation are allowed while tiny houses on wheels are considered as RVs or travel trailers. Thus, it must comply with relevant restrictions and regulations. 

Nebraska

Tiny House Friendly: 6⁄10

Nebraska has a formal definition of tiny houses. It also has specific building requirements and zoning restrictions when it comes to the different types of houses in the city. 

A manufactured or mobile home is an assembled structure based on the regulations of the HUD Federal Manufactured Home. These are the tiny homes that have successfully passed the HUD inspection which qualified them to receive an approval label. 

Modular home refers to tiny houses that are constructed under the guidelines and codes of the National Electric Code and the International Residential Code. These tiny houses have received a label that approved their status as a Nebraska Modular Housing Unit.

The last type of tiny house on the list in Nebraska is the tiny house on wheels. Tiny houses on wheels are required to comply with the Park Model Recreational Vehicle Standard, the National Fire Protection Association Code 1192 or the NFPA Standard on Recreational Vehicles. 

Tiny houses on wheels in Nebraska are classified as to how travel trailers and motor-homes are classified. 

New Jersey

Tiny House Friendly: 4⁄10

Due to how affordable tiny houses are than traditional houses, a lot of residents in New Jersey are getting interested in it. But, there are no zoning regulations and requirements yet when it comes to tiny houses. Besides, there are cities in New Jersey that have totally banned the building of tiny houses.

The Land Use Board did not allow tiny houses in a community that would be used by military veterans. Other areas have passed laws allowing restricted uses of tiny houses. For example, Haverstraw allows you to build a tiny house on a foundation if it will be used by a property caretaker and only if the parcel of land meets acreage requirements.

In Rockland-area communities, a tiny house on wheels that is classified as a recreational vehicle and that is not occupied can be stored on an unincorporated parcel.

North Carolina

Tiny House Friendly: 6⁄10

The legality and acceptance of tiny houses is a hot issue in North Carolina. This is because some netizens think that tiny houses have a negative value on the impact and appeal to their houses. 

Others consider tiny houses as an excellent solution to overcrowding in high-density areas and are a good alternative for people who can’t afford a full-sized house. 

In the county of Wilmington, a tiny house that is occupied by a single person is to at least have a floor area of 150 square feet. If there will be another occupant, then another floor area which is around 100 square feet should be added. 

Tiny houses in North Carolina are subjected to local housing ordinances too. Just like in Winston-Salem wherein accessory dwelling units are allowed to be built on single-family residential lots given that the occupant is the caretaker or a relative. 

There are still other restrictions on tiny houses in the entire state so make it a habit to check first before doing something. 

North Dakota

Tiny House Friendly: 5⁄10

Tiny houses are of increasing popularity in North Dakota. But there are no specific laws in the state yet when it comes to tiny houses. The requirements in each city and county generally vary which requires a thorough understanding of each of them.

In Burleigh County, residential homes are required to at least 965 square feet floor area. This is too large for a tiny home. 

Due to this, tiny houses are only allowed on agricultural lots throughout the area. This requires tiny houses to comply with the Burleigh County Ordinance and the North Dakota Century Code. 

Tiny houses are also allowed on lots that are more than 40 acres. In the same county, all residential structures are required to meet all local building codes. 

Tiny houses are also required to be connected to public utilities for water, electricity, gas, and sewer. 

On the other hand, tiny homes on wheels that are meant to stay one place must be mounted to a permanent foundation. Accessory dwelling units are not accepted yet in Burleigh County. Only specialized granny suites that have met the specific requirements are allowed. 

Ohio

Tiny House Friendly: 3⁄10

Ohio has no specific classification system for tiny houses yet. This means that there are no laws and regulations for tiny houses yet in the state. 

For example, in Cleveland, residential homes, regardless of their size, are required to at least have 950 square feet floor area. There are no local ordinances yet for tiny houses alongside its unique building requirements. But, accessory dwelling units are allowed in the area as long as it will not serve as a primary house. 

On the other hand, other areas have grouped tiny houses with other structures known as a variance. The confusion on the residents is the primary reason why tiny houses are not yet fully grown in the state. 

Oklahoma

Tiny House Friendly: 4⁄10

The state of Oklahoma has no specific definitions and regulations yet for tiny houses. But this did not become the hindrance to tiny house owners to spread the lifestyle in the entire state. Besides, there are already tiny house communities in the Wheeler District and in the northwestern region of the state as well. 

Tiny houses on wheels are considered as RVs in the state. This means that they should meet all necessary requirements. Due to the unaddressed specific requirements of tiny houses, a lot of Oklahoma residents prefer to have their tiny houses in a rural area which is not under the strict zoning regulations of the state. 

Oregon

Tiny House Friendly: 8⁄10

The state of Oregon already has established laws and requirements for tiny houses. There are already existing housing construction and zoning requirements due to the popularity of the state’s Tiny House Hotel. 

Tiny houses on wheels across the state are required to secure required documents from the Department of Motor Vehicles. However, the permits and inspections for tiny homes on wheels are not yet under the control of the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association. 

This means that tiny houses on wheels residents must use a commercial hauler. They should also have a special trip permit whenever they want to transfer to another area. 

Pennsylvania

Tiny House Friendly: 8⁄10

Pennsylvania is open to tiny houses. Generally, some cities are more accepting while others are not. 

The largest tiny house community in the entire USA is located in Elizabethtown, which is a county in Pennsylvania. On the other hand, there is no minimum house size requirement for tiny houses in Philadelphia. But, they should follow the requirements of the International Residential Code 2009.

The tiny house should also have at least one room with a floor area of 120 square feet and above. In addition, another room with a floor area of 70 square feet and above is also required. Unless it is the kitchen of the tiny house, all rooms should be 7 feet and above in length, width or height. 

Rhode Island

Tiny House Friendly: 2⁄10

There are no laws and regulations yet for tiny houses in Rhode Island. However, there are passed laws already for accessory dwelling units. The law allows ADUs to be built if the primary home is used by the owner or if the ADU will be occupied by a family member that is 62 years old and above. 

South Dakota

Tiny House Friendly: 7⁄10

South Dakota has gone through a lot for tiny houses. Communities across the state have passed different ordinances for tiny houses. For example, tiny houses on wheels are allowed to stay at a commercial campground for a short time. 

While tiny houses on a foundation are required to comply with the local zoning restrictions and building codes. A tiny house that will be occupied by one person only should at least have 187 square feet of living space. 

If there will be an additional person, the tiny house should expand by around 50 square feet. The tiny house must have a width ranging from 8.5 feet and 20 feet.

Texas

Tiny House Friendly: 9⁄10

Tiny houses are not yet that popular in Texas but there are established regulations already. These codes and regulations are based and determined by local jurisdictions. 

In Breckenridge, tiny houses should be permanently fixed on a foundation. They should at least have a floor area of 320 square feet. While on Spur, there is no required floor area. Tiny houses on wheels are also allowed as long as the wheels have been removed and the home is anchored to the ground. 

Conclusion

Generally speaking, the laws which authorize tiny houses vary from one state to another. This makes it a must for you to check the existing laws and regulations in your target location. In as much as possible, avoid areas that are very strict when it comes to tiny houses to avoid any problem from arising. 

Related Questions

Do you need council approval for a tiny house?

If your tiny house is registered as a trailer, then you do not need council approval. But if your tiny house is on a foundation, then you will have to secure DA approval. 

Do you need planning permission for a tiny house?

Mobile homes that measure around 65 x 22 ft in size can be placed on a property without planning permission as long as members of the household use them as additional living space.

Tiny Home Safety: Top 26 Life-Saving Tips From the Experts

Tiny Home Safety: Top 26 Life-Saving Tips From the Experts

Tiny home safety is one of the most crucial concerns of new homeowners. 

How can one stay safe and secure in such a small abode? 

Tiny houses are not entirely dangerous. However, you should never be complacent—authorities have been strict with tiny houses for valid reasons

Moreover, the critics’ disapproval of tiny houses is not baseless. After all, they are only advocating for the highest safety standards for properties.  

Therefore, if you’re really hell-bent on living in a smaller home, then tiny home safety should be your utmost priority at all times. 

In this blog post, we shared 26 tested and proven safety tips from experts. 

Tiny home safety: Inside your home

Whether you live alone, with an elderly, or with your kids in your tiny home, you should take notes from these tiny home safety tips. Don’t worry, we have something for everybody. 

Bathroom 

tiny bathroom with cleaning materials
Add more traction to your teeny bathroom’s tile floors to prevent slips and falls.

Did you know that the majority of accidents and injuries happened to people who were in their bathrooms? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 14 percent of those people get hospitalized. 

With a bathroom that’s even teenier, how does tiny home safety work? Similar to regular houses, you need to do some few tricks to keep you safe while showering, soaking, etc. 

1. Install grab bars. 

Falling is one of the top five causes of unintentional home injuries. Every year, slippery bathroom floors cause 80% of falls in the elderly aged 65 years and older. So, it’s no surprise that bathrooms are more sinister than you think.  

Therefore, whether you live with an elderly relative or not, you have to add grab bars to ensure tiny home safety. Besides being secure fixtures against falls and slips, these metal bars can serve as towel racks near your bathtub or your shower area. 

We found the best-selling grab bar in the market. Check out this AmeriLuck Stainless Steel Bath Grab Bar.

2. Don’t just dump anything in a composting toilet. 

Composting toilets’ prices and installation processes can be expensive. But besides their price, take good care of composting toilets because they’re the most convenient type of toilets for tiny houses on wheels. You don’t even need to frequent dumping places to release their waste. 

Prolong your composting toilet’s life by not throwing anything in there, except your waste and absorbent materials like untreated sawdust. Absorbent materials will create an odor barrier, minimizing the bad smell. Avoid throwing trash like baby diapers and tissue paper as well. 

Get yourself a high-quality trash bin that locks odor. We found this iTouchless 13 Gallon SensorCan Touchless Trash Can with Odor Control System.

3. Add anti-slip accessories.

Metal grab bars, although effective for tiny home safety, are not enough to prevent slips. You have to make sure your floor and walls are not that slippery when wet. Good thing you rely on affordable but effective anti-slip accessories for bathrooms such as stickers, mats, and tapes. 

If you’re still in the process of building your tiny house, you can even install anti-slip, textured tiles. Meanwhile, if you already have tiles, you can apply an anti-slip treatment, which is a solution that adds traction to smooth and shiny tiles. One example is Stone Grip. 

4. Add tamper-resistant outlets. 

Tamper-resistant outlets are great tiny home safety accessories, especially if you live with kids or pets. Also known as tamper-resistant receptacles (TRR), these outlets have safety shutters that block the access of any foreign object into the receptacle. 

With the safety shutters inside, it will only work if you insert a fully functional plug. You can’t insert broken plugs with jagged edges—otherwise, the safety shutters inside won’t open and you can’t use the outlet. We suggest you add these outlets everywhere in your house, especially in the bathroom. 

5. Install night lights. 

Night lights will increase tiny home safety and cultivate your kids’ independence. These are small lighting fixtures that don’t produce an overwhelming brightness but are still effective in lighting a dark room. 

If your kids are scared of going to the bathroom at night, you can teach them to turn on the night lights. Plus, they don’t consume that much power, so you don’t have to worry about unnecessary energy loss at night. 

The Vont ‘Lyra’ LED Night Light is one of the best selling night light that we found. Go check it out.

Kitchen 

tiny home safety - tiny kitchen that is white and clean
It’s better to have the expensive essentials in your kitchen than having multiple pieces of mediocre equipment.

The kitchen is where you prepare your kid’s meals, boil water for your coffee, and wash your dishes, mugs, and plates. That only means you should be steadfast in ensuring this area is contamination-free and accident-proof. 

Bathrooms can be dangerous, but your kitchen can be lethal, too. Take note of these tiny home safety tips in the kitchen. 

1. Use a cast-iron skillet. 

Not only this is life-saving (you can fight zombies with this!), but also space-saving. Cast-iron skillets may be a bit expensive, but they have many qualities that compensate for the price. Cast-iron skillets have an ellent non-stick surface, chemical-free material, and great heat-retaining quality. 

Best of all, they are space-saving because they’re versatile—you can cook them on open-fire or on a gas stove. So, if the situation calls for it—like a family barbecue or camping with your buddies, you can rely on cast-iron skillets. You don’t need to bring another type of cooking pan to the trip.

This AmazonBasics Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet is highly recommendable!

2. Stock on hooks. 

In this blog post, we explained why hooks should be staples in every tiny house. However, hooks should be the most present in your tiny house kitchen. Besides being affordable and durable enough to carry heavy objects, they are also highly versatile, which is ideal for a small kitchen. 

You can use hooks to hang caddies for spices and herbs, baking tools, glasses, plates, and mugs. You can mount a single hook to hang a drying towel or use several to dry pots and pans. Need something customizable? Use two durable hooks to put up a pegboard, which you can use for multiple things. 

We bet you will love this Love-KANKEI Floating Shelf Wall Shelf. It comes with a sturdy shelf and hooks, perfect for your kitchen!

3. Prevent gas buildup in your propane stoves.

You can use propane stoves to cook meals inside your tiny house, but make sure to prevent gas buildup. To avoid that, make sure your kitchen is well-ventilated, so the toxic fumes to exit your kitchen area. Moreover, when you’re cooking, open your windows or turn on an exhaust fan. Propane stoves generate a lot of heat. 

Moreover, don’t forget to turn off your propane stove when not in use. You will also need a carbon monoxide detector in case the gas leaks. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, so you will need a detector to prevent contamination during a leakage. 

4. Avoid/eliminate electric stove hazards.

Electric stoves are safer than propane stoves, but they still have fire hazards. Therefore, you need to eliminate those and follow safety measures. First of all, be mindful if they’re turned on or not. Propane stoves are easier to detect when they’re running since they smell. Electric stoves, on the other hand, are silent and odorless. 

Another hazard to eliminate is excessive heat generation. Again, it’s not easy to notice right away that an electric stove is turned on. When an electric stove gets too hot, you might accidentally burn your hand if you’re not alert enough to notice that it’s turned on. So, if not necessary, don’t use too much heat.  

5. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby. 

And learn how to use it! Knowing how to prevent fires in the kitchen is not enough. You also need to know how to put them out. Since you live in a tiny house, you should keep one under your kitchen sink—before a fire from your burning mac and cheese engulfs your home. 

You can buy fire extinguishers best used for houses. Since we’re talking about kitchen fires here, a standard fire extinguisher can already help you. It can put out Class A, B, and C fires, which are ordinary combustibles, flammable liquids and gases, and electrical equipment fires.

If you don’t have a fire extinguisher yet, you might want to check this Kidde 21005779 Pro 210 Fire Extinguisher.

Bedroom 

tiny home safety - bedroom, POV from inside the closer
Get a peaceful sleep by making sure your sheets are clean and your furniture pieces are untippable.

Your bedroom is the space where you rest, dream, and recover. Nothing should go wrong, right? Well, don’t be too relaxed. You still have outlets, wirings, and windows here, right? Therefore, to truly achieve peace of mind, you should also ensure it’s a secure environment. Follow these tiny home safety tips for your bedroom. 

1. Prevent bed bug-friendly moisture. 

Bed bugs love humid environments. If your bedroom doesn’t have good indoor airflow, they will grow in no time and might trigger adult on-set allergic reactions. Bed bugs might even cause skin irritation, asthma attacks, and anaphylaxis shocks. 

Therefore, do your best to prevent bed bug infestation. Air out your mattress frequently. If you can, wash them every week. Choose a high-quality material, too, if you haven’t bought one yet. Most importantly, don’t forget to open your windows every day at certain periods to let the stale air out. 

2. Use dust-proof pillow and mattress covers. 

Dust mites also thrive in cramped, humid places, so it’s very likely that you will have them in your bedroom if the air doesn’t circulate properly. Also, did you know they love your skin flakes? Yikes. 

To prevent dust mites from growing in your bedroom, use a dust-proof pillow and mattress covers. If you can, avoid putting carpets in your room. Use sheets and rugs with fine threads. You also have to dry your newly washed pillows and mattresses in a hot dryer. 

3. Attach your drawers and storage boxes to the wall. 

Even if your tiny house is on a foundation, you still have to make sure those heavy boxes will not tip. You’ll never know when earthquakes will strike. Those sharp edges must also be covered and those drawers should be locked, especially if you live with a child who’s in his/her “terrible-twos” stage.

Besides securing your shelves, drawers, organizers, and boxes to the wall, we also don’t suggest putting freestanding items in your bedroom. Apart from occupying your precious floor space, they will also just contribute to the dust-gathering convention in your bedroom. 

Tiny home safety: Outside and beyond

Traveling/On-road safety

tiny home safety - tiny house on wheels with a lush green background
Before you live that mobile life, make sure your towing vehicle is capable to tow the heavy load behind it.

Do you have a movable tiny house? Tiny houses on wheels are known to be trickier to handle since you have many things to consider such as the weight distribution, load limit, and other road hazards. Plus, you’ll be traveling most of the time, so you will do more upkeep frequently. 

With that said, get a load of these tiny home safety steps for when you’re traveling. 

1. Follow the required service schedule. 

Your towing vehicle has a service schedule, which is indicated on the car’s dashboard’s warning light or its manufacturer’s manual. Now, you should follow this schedule to prevent fluid leaks, on-the-road malfunctions, and engine trouble. Plus you will save yourself from expensive repairs and replacements in the future. 

Moreover, by taking care of your towing vehicle, you can preserve its resale value. Many homeowners and critics don’t like tiny houses because they lose resale value quickly. If you keep the car in good condition, then your mobile house’s value won’t dwindle that much. 

2. Ensure there’s proper weight distribution. 

Tiny houses on wheels (THOWs) have the same materials as normal houses, so they are a bit heavier than most RVs and trailers. Therefore, you should be meticulous with keeping stuff inside to avoid surpassing the weight limit and improper weight distribution.

Many states in the U.S. also impose a weight limit on tiny houses on the road, which you should adhere to. Meanwhile, for a smooth-sailing towing, your tiny house should have a proper weight distribution. 

The standard ratio is that from the trailer tongue to the center point of the axle, it should weigh 60% of the total weight. The remaining area from that center point to the rear area of the THOW should weigh 40% of the total weight. 

3. Make sure your vehicle has a great towing capacity. 

There are heavy-duty SUVs but there are also large vehicles exclusively designed for towing. Therefore, choose the latter but with even greater towing capacities. Remember, your tiny house’s weight will increase as you put more stuff in it. 

The brands of the best towing trucks for tiny houses are Ford, Chevrolet, Nissan, and Ram. These big boys can pull more than 30,000 pounds. The Ram 3500, particularly, has a towing limit of 31,210. That’s monstrous even for tiny houses.  

Also, make sure to use the right towing kit. We totally recommend Reese Towpower 21536RAK.

Storms, hurricanes, etc. 

tiny home safety - a dark cloud looms over a tiny house
Will your tiny house withstand a storm?

There are dozens of reasons why some states in the U.S. impose strict standards on tiny houses, two of them being storms and hurricanes. 

They can mess up even the bigger houses—can a tiny house withstand them? Yes, they can. Just follow these tips for securing your tiny home against extreme weather and reducing the damage it causes.  

1. Elevate your tiny house.

The simplest and most affordable countermeasure to avoid flood damage is to move your tiny house to higher ground. If this isn’t an option because your house is stationary, then you can do a preventative measure like elevating the whole structure. 

Meanwhile, do your part and get insurance for your house. Before, it was challenging to insure tiny houses, but it’s definitely better now. Insuring tiny houses can cost $500 to $600 per year. 

2. Toughen your roof against strong winds. 

The roof, doors, and windows are the parts that usually get damaged over time. So, you need to make them “tougher” against the strong winds, which are especially brought by hurricanes. 

For example, the Journal of Light Construction suggests you tighten your roof by applying a high-wind-rated roof covering, re-nailing the roof sheathings, or using wind-rated asphalt shingles. 

3. Weatherstrip and caulk your windows, doors, and walls.

As for moisture, leaking, or rust, get ahead of those by weatherstripping your windows and doors and caulking your house. Weatherstripping is done by applying a seal that endures friction and external elements, prolonging the life of the fixture.

Here’s a reliable MAGZO Foam Seal Tape if you’re looking for one.

The Dept. of Energy particularly suggests vinyl and metal weatherstripping since they are durable and they last years. Vinyl is typically used for weatherstripping garage doors, but it can be a bit pricey. 

4. Secure your appliances. 

You secured your roofing and your fixtures—how about your appliances and wiring? Just because you’re off-grid doesn’t mean they are safe. 

Therefore, make sure to ground your solar panels to avoid electrocution and fires, even though most models are waterproof. Invest in weatherproof appliances and cords. If you have solar batteries, keep them warm in snowstorms by charging them. 

5. Invest in your insulation. 

Proper insulation not only keeps you warm during the bad weather but also saves energy. Storm windows and doors, particularly, bring those benefits. They help regulate your tiny house’s temperature, preventing energy loss. 

To insulate effectively against storms, you can use fiberglass insulation. It’s an excellent and easy-to-install insulating material, plus it’s not too heavy or expensive. Other good insulation materials are cotton, spray foam, and Rockwool. 

Protection against theft

a robber pries a door open
Tiny house theft is becoming more common these days.

Tiny house theft has been rampant, so you can’t be too complacent with your mobile home. It’s small and movable—it’s no wonder it’s red-hot on the criminals’ radar. Therefore, it’s essential for you to invest in security methods and gadgets. 

1. Use wheel clamps and claws. 

Wheel clamps and claws are anti-theft wheel locks, which prevent your towing car or RV from getting stolen. 

Clamps lock the lug nuts, which secure the wheels to your car’s axles. They are pricier but more effective. Claws, on the other hand, help immobilize your wheels—having these will prevent your vehicles from rotating and turning. 

2. Purchase heavy chains. 

Heavy-duty chains will also make it nearly impossible for a robber to tow your tiny house away. These chains may have clevis grab hooks on both ends, which prevent the chains from slipping. 

Heavy-duty chains are being used to tow large vehicles with tons of cargo, so they won’t break easily. It’s better if you tie it to a permanent structure—yes, even if your tiny house is built on a foundation. 

3. Get trailer hitch locks.

Simple, cheap, and easy-to-install, a hitch lock will help foil a sneaky robbery attempt. Hitch locks fuse the cargo and the trailer’s hitch, preventing any thief from towing it. A trailer hitch lock can be made of aluminum, which is a tough kind of metal. 

If you search for hitch locks, look for ones which design suit your tiny house or RV. Great hitch locks can resist crowbars, saws, and even sledgehammers. If you want our recommendation, then we vouch for Connor Trailer Hitch Lock.

4. Buy an alarm system. 

Alarm systems are not just for regular houses. There are actually plenty of fully-functional alarm systems for RVs and small homes

The prices of alarm systems for tiny houses start at $29 and can go up to $700. Some devices will set off and call the police, fire, and medical dispatches. Others will let you sync it with your phone in an app. They can even have wireless motion sensors. 

5. Conceal a tracking device in your tiny house.

Concealing a tracking device inside your tiny house will be your last line of defense. These devices are waterproof and they can recharge from your RV’s battery. They will also send a notification to your phone. 

When shopping for a tracking device, check the reviews if its motion sensors are highly sensitive. This is ideal because once the trailer moves, it should send an alarm to your mobile phone ASAP. 

Conclusion 

Your tiny house is not just your home; it’s your investment. Unfortunately, it’s small and mobile—many confident robbers will try to snatch it in a snap. 

Therefore, regardless of its value, you should do everything you can to protect it. 

Also, remember that it’s not easy to get a tiny house in most states in the U.S. If you’re lucky enough to live in one, then do your part and invest in safety measures.

Besides, you can’t trust anybody these days even if you live in a tiny house community. Better be safe than sorry! 

Can’t get enough of our safety tips? We have more here. 

Related Questions

Do tiny houses get stolen? 

Yes, surprisingly, tiny houses are getting stolen these days, whether they are on wheels or on a foundation. Yes, even if the house doesn’t have wheels! The criminals are obviously not just interested in the gadgets and jewelry but the house itself, which is interesting because tiny houses lose value quickly.  

How do I keep my tiny house from being stolen? 

First, spend more time researching—read tiny home safety blog posts and watch YouTube product reviews. After that, start canvassing for heavy chains, hitch locks, and alarm systems. Research is imperative because if those devices are not effective, then your tiny house will still get stolen. You can also hide your wheels in a secure place if you’re parking it in a spot. 

How do you disconnect a trailer? 

  1. First, park it in a place with a flat surface, so the trailer won’t easily roll down. 
  2. Next, turn off the engine and then set the parking brake. 
  3. Put a wedge under the trail. 
  4. Now, disconnect the wires and unhinge the safety chains. 
  5. Loosen the coupler and the handwheel to drop the ball clamp. 
  6. Use the tongue’s handle to lift the trailer to release the coupler from the hitch ball. 
  7. The trailer will disengage once the hitch ball is released. 

Tiny House Security: Ways to Protect Your Tiny House from Theft

Tiny House Security: Ways to Protect Your Tiny House from Theft

tiny house miniature with key
Keeping your tiny house safe and protected is as important as keeping your full-sized house secure.

Stolen tiny houses are not something new. This is because of how mobile tiny houses are that burglars can easily pick them up. The necessity to put the security of your home on top of everything is very important. 

The question is, “How do you keep your tiny home secure?” Well, this awful situation can be avoided if you are well prepared and you have the right tools with you. Remember, it is not just your stuff that you are protecting from being stolen. You are protecting the entire house as well. 

Thus, a simple door lock won’t do the trick. An additional door lock can’t even keep your trailer from getting stolen.

Here are some of the things that you can do to make your tiny house as secure and as easy to find as possible:

1. Make Your Tiny House Immovable 

If your tiny house is immovable then, sure enough, thieves can’t take it with them. Making your tiny house immovable is one great way to prevent your tiny house from getting stolen. To make your tiny house immovable, you have to remove the wheels. 

But of course, you have to secure the wheels too. You can’t just put it anywhere. If possible, lock the wheels up somewhere that isn’t just around where your tiny house is located. This is because thieves will surely look for the wheels first to where your tiny house is parked. 

If your trailers come with an adjustable coupler, then remove it. It is even better if you replace the bolts that hold it with a security bolt. There are a lot of different security bolts available in the market today.

Some are simple while others will require you to use a special keyed wrench just to remove it.  Otherwise, thieves can get around the locks by replacing the locks you have installed. 

Thieves are geniuses but not enough to bring their tires or couplers with them when doing the crime.

2. Lock Up Your Tiny House

Locking up your trailer has never been more convenient with the number of products designed for such function. There are heavy-duty chains that you can run through the walls of your tiny house.

Wheel locks are also available. Plus, you can use a coupler lock to prevent the trailer from being attached to a tow vehicle. 

With such wide choices, choosing the best among them is kinda hard. Each of them claims to be effective, but do not simply rely on what they say. You have to do your very own thorough research to make sure that what you will get really works. 

Do not get blinded with their offers. It will help if you watch videos maneuvering such products and read articles about these products. This will help you get the most out of what you are paying.

tiny-house-security-lock-home
Locking up your tiny house will ensure that thieves can’t easily steal your home.

3. Lock the Doors and Windows

What is good about the windows and doors of tiny houses is that they are stronger and of better quality. This is the reason why thieves can’t easily break-in into tiny houses. 

It is very essential that you secure the door of your tiny house with a high-quality door lock. For example, you can use bump proof locks for deadbolts to secure the door of your tiny house. Just be sure that you do not put anything in your door and windows that will stop you from coming out in case of an emergency. 

Securing your doors and windows with good locks are very important. After all, these are the passages where thieves can sneak in. If possible, install double locks for better security. Here’s a durable and reliable double lock for your window. Check out Barn Door Latch, 2 Pack 4” Barn Door Lock Heavy Duty.

Another good option is to install a keyless deadbolt. Aside from keeping your doors secure, this door locks will also make it easier for you to open the door from time to time. You no longer have to fumble around to look for the right key. And, keys can easily get lost or are even hard to use when you are in the dark. 

For the best keyless deadbolt lock, we recommend Kwikset 92640-001 Contemporary Electronic Keypad Single Cylinder Deadbolt.

4. Install LED Outdoor Safety Lights

A motion-activated is an easy yet good way to prevent thieves from sneaking in. This LED lights will just light up if it detects any motion around it. 

What is good about these lights is that they are solar-powered and waterproof. This means that your electric bill won’t actually rise because of using them. Ideally, these lights should be installed in the corners of your tiny house. 

Each unit of these LED lights come with a battery and a small solar panel. The battery stores power during the day which will be used at night. 

These LED lights work by staying on a very low output level when it’s dark. Then it brightens up if its motion sensors have detected any movement. When they are turned on, the lights can still light up the way. 

LED lights are a good option not just to help you secure your tiny house but to help you see what is happening around during the night as well.

For heavy-duty outdoor lights, choose Upgraded SANSI LED Security Motion Sensor Outdoor Lights.

tiny-house-security-outdoor-lights-motion-sensor
Having motion-activated LED lights make it easier to find out if someone tries to sneak in your tiny house.

5. Have a Security System for your Tiny House 

Finding a security system that perfectly fits your tiny house is very easy nowadays. This is because of the availability of all kinds of security systems out there. A security system is very helpful most especially when you are near other households. 

But if your tiny house is located in a far-flung place, a security system won’t work as effectively as using it in a populated area. After all, a security system needs someone to hear it and respond to the emergency. But this does not mean that you can’t install security systems just because your tiny house is located in a remote area. 

Security systems will always be of help. Thieves can get uncomfortable with an alarm that just doesn’t go off. With this, they will be forced to go away. 

If your tiny house is equipped with an internet connection, you can opt for an alarm that will notify you through your phone in case someone is trying to break in. With this, you can have others check your tiny house in case you are not around. 

The downfall of these security systems is that routers don’t have a backup. So, if the burglar is genius enough to unplug your house first, then you are done. Your Internet connection will go down and you might just find out what happened to your tiny house once you see it. 

To prevent any of these awful events from happening, an alarm that uses the cellular signal to notify is a better option. Just pray that the thief is not that patient to wait for the battery of the alarm to die. 

This Ring Alarm 5 Piece Kit (1st Gen) – Home Security will add a layer of protection to your tiny home.

6. Install Security Cameras 

Security cameras are very held full and are highly effective. You have two options when it comes to security cameras. You can choose a security camera that uploads videos to “the cloud” or go for a security camera that stores their video locally to a digital video recorder (DVR). 

The advantage of using a camera that locally stores that store the recorded video is that they produce a higher quality video. Also, an internet connection is not needed in order for it to work. The thing is when a thief tries to break-in, the DVR might be stolen as well which means that the recorded video would be useless to you. 

On the other hand, security cameras that require an internet connection allow you to store videos offsite. This means that the videos can’t be stolen or destroyed as well. This security camera is connected to the outside world through the internet or cellular network. But these cameras are more expensive. They will also need you to have a separate data plan for each of them. 

Heimvision HM241 1080P Wireless Security Camera System is a security kit that allows you to monitor your home through your mobile phone. Or, you can opt for the more popular Ring Spotlight Cam Mount HD Security Camera.

Generally speaking, security cameras are a better option when it comes to the protection of your tiny house. This is because they do not just simply secure your tiny house but they can show you who the burglar is.

Conclusion

Securing your tiny house is a very challenging task since it is not just your belonging that you are protecting. You are protecting the entirety of your tiny house at his. That is why it is very important that you do everything you can to secure your tiny house. 

Do everything you can to make sure that your tiny house is safe. Always remember that prevention is better than cure. It is better that you prevent your tiny house from getting stolen than looking for it once it is lost.

RVs and ADUs: Which one would suit you best?

RVs and ADUs: Which one would suit you best?

RVs and ADUs have become more in demand, as everybody is downsizing these days. From their eating habits and their clothing to their houses—people are craving more for something less in their lives. 

But how do you know which of those two is suitable for you? You must carefully consider this. Just because you’re pining for smaller dwellings doesn’t mean the consequences for the wrong choice is also tiny. 

In this blog post, we explained the differences between Recreational Vehicles (RVs) and Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). We also listed the things you should consider when shopping for an RV or an ADU, so you can make a better-informed buying choice.

RVs and ADUs: What are the differences?

two white RVs on the mountains
RVs and ADUs: Which of them is right for you?

First, let’s make it clear. Recreational Vehicles (RVs) have wheels, but Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) don’t. A property has to be built on a foundation to be legally considered an ADU. 

RVs are also known as tiny houses on wheels, while tiny houses on foundations may be considered as ADUs given they meet the required minimum size. That size varies in every state. 

RVs are not considered ADUs because they have added safety risks due to being mobile. As a result, they are more difficult to regulate. For instance, the city of Boise, Idaho, prohibits tiny houses on wheels (THOWs) from being recognized as ADUs. They consider THOWs as RVs and vice versa. 

ADUs can be any small structure that is a standalone unit. It can also be a former attic or garage that you remodeled, which has its own living space, bathroom, and kitchen. It can also be an added room to an already existing residential house. 

The term ADU also includes structures like casitas, cottages, granny flats, and in-law suites. RVs also have many types, including truck campers, travel trailers, toy haulers, and more, which we discussed in the later sections. 

Choosing between RVs and ADUs: Things to consider

In the later sections, we discussed the different types of RVs and ADUs. However, below, we’ll give you a rundown of the important things to consider when choosing between RVs and ADUs. 

Purpose of buying/building

cute small white house on green grass
For whom or for what are you building this property?

It’s easy to make a choice when you’re clear about your purpose of buying an RV or an ADU. And when we said clear, we meant laser-focus clear. 

For instance, ask questions like: Are you having a family member come over and/or live beside you? Are you financially equipped to tour the entire North America? 

If you want to care for your aging in-laws or elderly relatives, then an ADU will be your choice. If you already set aside a budget for travel-by-land expenses, RVs will easily fit your lifestyle. 

Don’t just plan to buy an RV or build an ADU “in case” you might need them in the future.  This is a property, mister/miss—you’re still going to spend a huge amount on these. As a result, your purpose should be clear, urgent, and sure.  

Features and amenities

ADUs can have a similar amount of amenities in a regular house. The only difference is theirs are smaller versions of their amenities.

For example, an ADU like a Granny Flat can have two bedrooms, a toilet and bath, a kitchen, a living area, a porch, and even a garage. You will not get these together with an RV. If you want to live with accessible amenities, then your best choice might be an ADU. 

Although, some RVs have bedrooms, a bathroom and toilet, a kitchen, and a common area. For instance, these travel trailers, such as the Forest River Wildwood, can let up to four people sleep, with each trailer having two to three beds.

Bigger RVs like Fifth-Wheel trailers and Travel Trailers can give ADUs a run for their money when it comes to space. However, if space, especially outdoor space for amenities, is crucial to you, we suggest building an ADU. 

Resale value

RVs and ADUs - resale value
How will this property fare in the future?

If your goal is to live a sustainable life, then you should mull over for a while. Think about a property’s resale value. 

RVs are terrible at holding their value, especially those poorly designed ones and, interestingly, the luxurious, high-end RVs. Although, if an RV is well-designed and well-maintained, it will fare well in the resale value department. 

If you don’t want something that loses its resale value in a wink, maybe an RV is not for you. 

On the other hand, since ADUs are often built separately but nearby the main house, the original property value will increase. Your original PV will increase a good half of its value at 51%

That’s why if you prefer developing your property for a tasty resale in the future, building an ADU is a good idea. 

Budget 

We’re going to give it to you straight. Both are going to be expensive! 

ADUs are basically second houses. It will still require building permits, foundation, structure, electricity, and other essential appliances you need in a regular house. 

Also, other construction fees like the System Development Charges (SDC) may apply to your project, especially if you live in Portland, Oregon. SDC is a one-time payment that will cover sewer and water fees. 

So, it wouldn’t be surprising if your expenses will almost cost you similarly to building a regular house.

RVs, meanwhile, besides their retail price, will have you spending on travel costs and vehicle maintenance fees once you’re out of the car’s warranty. 

When choosing between RVs and ADUs, make sure your budget can compensate for the hidden costs as well. 

Speed of construction 

extended porch, white RV
If you’re in a hurry to travel by land, an RV might suit you better.

This one’s easy, right? RVs are the way to go if you want something immediate. 

You just scour the internet for the best RV deals there is and you’ll find a page or two in a jiffy. If you like customization, you can even design your own RV in RV Wholesalers.

There are even tiny house kits you can use to build your own tiny house. The company will just ship the parts to you. and you can start hammering the nails. Just make sure you have a legal residential lot, first!

Meanwhile, ADUs are generally known to take longer, even if you’re building on the same lot—they often take a year and a half to build. According to Santa Cruz Green Builders, a standalone ADU will take seven months to complete. Converted garages will be faster. 

However, don’t lose hope. There are prefabricated ADUs these days. Prefab ADUs start at $50,000 and can cost as much as $120,000. 

Since they are already pre-built in the factory, they will take a lot shorter to complete. All you need to do is assemble and build it. You can even save a huge deal if you build it yourself.  

Mobility 

This is an easy one, right? If you want a mobile house, go for an RV. ADUs are stuck in your main property’s lot. So, in case you have no plans of moving to another place, ADUs should suit you. 

RVs are for people who don’t like having a permanent address. It’s also suited for people who are financially and emotionally equipped to deal with the legalities of owning a recreational vehicle. 

Living in a mobile house brings many challenges, one of them being the weather. If you’re prepared to weather-proof your RV, then great. Environmental elements will eventually scar your RV, making you spend on maintenance costs. 

Sustainability

a large red house and one small brown house
You can’t invest in a property without looking at its sustainability.

What is sustainability, anyway? It’s the capacity to maintain a property at a steady rate. 

If you want a sustainable property, then all you have to do is to… Go green!

Regardless of whether you own an ADU or an RV, maintenance costs will pile up together with your other expenses. That’s why you should take matters in your own hands before the construction begins or before you buy a prefab ADU. 

Make sure you’re working on an energy-efficient property. Consider solar panels, well-designed ventilation, environmentally-friendly construction materials and sealants, and more. 

Any ADU or RV can be energy-efficient as long as you take the time and effort in making sure it does become that way.

More about RVs and ADUs

Are ADUs expensive to build? 

RVs and ADUs - small white house
ADUs can be as expensive as a regular house.

It depends on the kind of ADU you’re trying to build. However, they are pricey to build and maintain, in general. Standalone ADUs, for example, can cost homeowners up to $400,000. You also have to pay for permit/s. Your property tax will also increase, especially if you’re making it for rent. Meanwhile, yearly maintenance costs can start at 1% of the property value. 

Types of ADUs

Casitas

Casita, in Spanish, means “tiny house”, which makes them more than qualified to be called ADU. It’s often separately built with a bigger, single-family house. In the US Southwest, you can see plenty of casitas. In fact, many realtors offer properties with ready-made casitas because of their popularity. 

Cottages

If casitas are “tiny houses,” then cottages are their more “chill” version. You can find cottages beside lakes or on seashores. They are typically more open, so the breeze can come in. However, cottages can also come in two-story forms, even having bathrooms, dirty kitchens, and bedrooms. 

Granny flats

Granny flats, like Casitas, are structures built in one lot together with the main house. Although, granny flats have more amenities and features compared to Casitas. You can say granny flats are smaller and slimmer versions of the main house.

In-law suites

Also known as “mother-in-law suites”, these structures are typically made for a family’s in-laws or/and grandparents. They are either attached to the main house or built separately on the same lot. Like granny flats, the elderly commonly live in these structures.

Guesthouse

Guesthouses are secondary housing units meant for friends and families who want to stay temporarily. The guesthouse’s difference with the previous structures is that the amenities are meant for temporary use. They could be adjusted to be viable for permanent living, of course. 

Are RVs pricey to build?

three white RVs, parked in the mountains with pillows and blankets on the ground.
RVs have the ability to drill a hole in your pocket as well. But is it worth it in the long run?

Just like an ADU, an RV is also expensive to build and own. Buying one alone can cost you up to $300,000. However, the overall cost can depend on the features, materials, type of RV, and your state’s imposed sales tax (if you’re buying one). 

So, some types can cost cheaper than others because of their design and amenities. In choosing an RV, you also have to consider the tax laws in the state in which you’re planning to register your RV.

Types of RV trailers

Classic travel trailers

These RVs stay faithful to their name. Travel trailers are not complicated to set up in camping grounds. You can also park most travel trailers in campsites. So, if you’re the type to move around a lot and camp with your friends, the travel trailer is a worthy investment. 

Truck campers

If you want a reliable RV with incredible towing power, you should start looking for truck campers. You can cook, do number 1 and number 2, and sleep on a truck camper. However, we don’t recommend bringing a lot of stuff since most truck campers have limited storage. 

Fifth-wheel trailers

If you see yourself living in an RV for a long time, this is your choice. It’s more spacious and has more storage area. It’s easily recognizable for its elevated frontal part, which gives the illusion of two floors. You can even set up an outdoor kitchen area with this. 

Toy haulers

This RV is more suitable for business use, especially if your business involves towing motorcycles and smaller cars like golf carts. It has a big rear opening and a ramp. Since they can also serve as fifth-wheel trailers, they become heavier once they carry another motor vehicle. 

Pop-up trailers

Pop-up trailers are soft-sided small and cheap trailers. Soft-sided means their sidewalls are made of cloth or plastic. Although, some sellers are already making pop-up trailers with hard sides or frames. Pop-up trailers are usually for temporary use since they don’t have enough space for storage and essential facilities like a bathroom. 

Hybrid trailers

Hybrids are a mix of pop-ups and travel trailers. They are still lightweight like a pop-up, but they have more space like a travel trailer. It also comes with a small bathroom, a canvass, and a kitchen. You can’t park it in your garage because of its bigger size, but it can sit comfortably on a camping site.

The bottom line

In choosing between RVs and ADUs, you will go through many considerations. You might even give up and slide back to looking for regular homes. 

However, you must not falter because the truth is there is no perfect RV or ADU. 

As long as either of these two dwellings meets your needs, keeps you safe, and enriches your life, then you are free to choose one. Your choice won’t lead you to a doomed life. 

Regardless, just keep learning and watching out for regulations, so you can live a healthy and sustainable downsized life. 

Related questions

Should I buy a travel trailer? 

If you’re a single person who lives an “on-the-go” lifestyle, and if you see yourself in the future sustaining it, then, by all means, consider buying one. However, if you see yourself settling with a family, please reconsider. Raising a kid in a travel trailer poses many challenges. We don’t recommend it unless you are emotionally and financially prepared.

How long do RVs last?

Similar to other vehicles (or house-vehicle hybrid), RVs will last up to two decades or fifteen years if you work hard to maintain them. If you skip service schedules, it might only last a decade or even less. You can also drive an RV up to more than 250,000 miles if you take good care of it. So, remember to do preventative care on your RV, especially if you travel around a lot or/and live with your family in it.

Why are tiny houses illegal in some states?

Why are tiny houses illegal in some states?

Living in a tiny house is the ultimate goal for many American families today. Yet, that aim might be a mountain to climb. Why? Well, some state governments have rendered tiny houses illegal in their residential zones.

Now, why are tiny houses illegal in some states? Tiny houses are not legal in several US states primarily because of their building codes. If a state doesn’t recognize a tiny house as a legitimate structure in its construction code, then it’s very likely that it’s illegal. Although, there are states that allow tiny houses—however, it comes with restrictions. 

We listed several reasons why tiny houses are legal in a few US states. 

Why are tiny houses illegal in some states?

Did you know that the demand for downsizing has been stronger than ever? People, especially young families, are exchanging their American dream houses for smaller, cuter, and energy-saving mobile abodes. 

Apparently, they have been realizing that all they need can fit in less than 400 square meters. And best of all, they can drive it anywhere they want to! That is why, despite the fluctuating costs and prices and minor legal obstacles, the tiny house movement is all the rage in the United States. 

Despite this huge exigency, some states still look down on tiny houses. Now, to answer the question “Why are tiny houses illegal in some states?”, here are the main issues. 

1. The state’s building code does not allow it.

house plans with a miniature house and pencils
Building codes vary by state in the U.S.

No national building code considers tiny houses as legitimate residential structures. States’ regulations, meanwhile, can vary; that’s why some states are more lenient with tiny houses and others are not.

As for those states that prohibit tiny houses, the reason is that their building code does not allow it. This might sound too much of an Occam’s razor, but it’s true. 

The state government might have refused to acknowledge the tiny houses’ practicality yet. It could also be that they lack the resources to validate the movement’s sustainability.

Although, if a community is passionate and relentless enough about advocating for tiny houses, that restriction might eventually loosen up. Connecticut, especially, is known to be very uptight with tiny houses—but they are apparently scouting for advocates for the movement.  

Some states also allow tiny houses but pose strict limitations. Other states such as Alabama, meanwhile, don’t also have a state-wide construction code. The sliver of hope, perhaps, is that the state is on its way of legalizing tiny houses. 

RELATED: The 7 Best States For Living In A Tiny House

2. HUD is against tiny houses. 

white tiny house on wheels.
Tiny house on wheels are considered RVs

There are two prominent kinds of tiny houses in the US: tiny houses with foundations and tiny houses on wheels. 

The federal government has always been stringent with the former. However, lately, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a federal agency, has been proposing to outlaw tiny houses on wheels and RV living in general.

With this looming circumstance in the future, the increasing number of tiny houses, and some states’ dependence on the federal government aid, state governments might find it harder to legalize tiny houses. 

If that proposal takes flight, thousands of families and occupants will stop having their right to own and live in tiny houses. Ultimately, the tiny house movement will lose its legs.

3. Tiny houses are not easy to regulate.

Many licensed professionals and firms in North America build and offer tiny houses. These experts have years of construction experience behind them. 

Regardless of the manufacturers’ credibility and compliance, some states are still on the fence about tiny houses, particularly tiny house living. That’s because tiny homes are tricky to regulate when talking about zoning, security, and privacy. 

For a house to become a viable place in which one can permanently live, it must pass certain standards. Unfortunately, tiny house designs are not conventional enough to check all the boxes. 

This does not mean tiny houses are not safe abodes for living. They are not just equipped with the ideal specs for standard house living in America.

Particularly, tiny houses, despite being well-designed, will inevitably have ventilation challenges. Tiny houses have limited space, making indoor airflow high-maintenance. If a family is not savvy enough, it will add to their home-related expenses, considering they might add HVAC systems and dehumidifiers.

That safety issue alone is why some state governments find it hard to regulate, and ultimately, approve of tiny houses and tiny house living in general. 

4. To prevent greedy landowners from taking advantage. 

an abandoned shotgun house in New Orleans.
A shotgun-style house in New Orleans

Apparently, because of the demand for tiny houses, some greedy landowners in the US have taken advantage. 

For instance, some landowners in 2017 have built many rental shotgun houses in residential land, going beyond the required number of properties built in a land. 

Shotgun houses are tiny dwellings, with widths measuring less than 12 feet. Minorities, such as African-American families in Southern parts of the United States, mostly live in shotgun houses. 

Having more than the required number of houses in a residential zone brings many issues. Besides that it’s illegal, it will also compromise the quality of life of the residents in that area, especially the children’s. 

The danger doesn’t end there. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), housing has a significant impact on a child’s development. Along with constant moving, this inconsistency might cause a behavioral problem in the kid. 

5. They are strict with recreational vehicles (RVs). 

white RV with extended porch.
RVs have stringent regulations in some states as well.

Finally, some states are stringent with tiny houses because they are the same way with RVs and towing. 

Since tiny houses on wheels are considered RVs, the same strict rules also apply to them. Other RVs such as campers and travel trailers also fall under the same roof. 

We’ve mentioned here that states are likely to be less uptight with recreational vehicles. However, it’s the opposite for a few towns. The concern lies in the dwelling disengaging from the SUV or any car that hauls the tiny house.

Some states don’t also allow parking in some areas, but the aim is to make sure the occupants in the RV won’t be in harm. 

Therefore, if you’re planning to invest in a tiny house on wheels, it’s best if you check the enforced regulations for RVs in your town and neighboring cities. 

You should also study the required lane usage, trailer lights, parking rules, and even required safety items. Not only will studying those protect you from theft and accidents but will also save you from paying penalty fines. 

Final thoughts

There you have it. The next time someone asks you “Why are tiny houses illegal?”, you can share these five main issues.

It’s unfortunate that some money-hungry capitalists are taking advantage of the tiny house movement. Because of this, tiny houses are becoming not so tiny and even pricier. 

Nevertheless, there’s good news and bad news. 

The good news is that some states have become looser with their restrictions, making zoning laws beneficial to tiny house residents. The bad news, however, is that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) might be out to get the tiny house movement. 

Related questions

How to start a tiny house community? 

First, you have to study your town’s zoning and construction codes regarding tiny houses. You need to find land in a residential zone. After that, you still have to deal with an endless barrage of legalities. Expect submitting requirements, meeting with town officials, and, of course, estimating how much everything would cost. 

Why are tiny houses on wheels? 

Most people choose to build a tiny house on wheels to exempt themselves from construction codes. Tiny houses on wheels have looser regulations since they are not defined as structures but as recreational vehicles (RV). Also, people who own these types of dwellings like to move around. They love the feeling of not having a permanent home. 

Tiny Home Living: The Hidden Costs

Tiny Home Living: The Hidden Costs

Sure, the concept of tiny home living is attractive. For some, it’s their long-time dream. But what about the hidden costs of tiny home living? 

At a glance, you might spend more if you add upgrades, if you need external storage, or even if you raise a little kid. You also have to face zoning regulations. 

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 

That is why we listed these potential hidden costs. We are not aiming to discourage you from tiny home living; we just want to warn you of the possible financial roadblocks ahead. 

Hidden costs of tiny home living

1. Upgrades

The one benefit of owning a tiny house is saving on home expenses, compared to having a regular size dwelling. 

For example, tiny house residents in Orlando only spend less than $1000 every month for their home-related expenses. Meanwhile, according to Pocket Sense, the average American family of 2 spends $5,005 per month to maintain their lifestyle. 

Living in a tiny house, you can definitely save more disposable income. 

However, whether it’s necessary or not, you will eventually have to pay for house upgrades if you live in a tiny house. These particular hidden costs of tiny home living will even be more likely with a tiny house on wheels.

Such, inevitably, those upgrades will pile up on your monthly home expenses. 

Several of those installations might be a newer (or better) HVAC system, a solar panel, or an alarm device. Other maintenance and towing necessities will also add up more quickly to your home-related budget.

So, you have to watch out for that. 

Tiny Homes: What Is the True Cost of Living Small? 

2. External storage

Being in a restricted space, one of the most obvious concerns you might deal with is storage.

Sure, you can find plenty of storage-saving hacks online and they are easy to follow. However, eventually, your stuff will multiply—especially if you’re living with a kid. 

You can’t forever rely on storage containers because you need space for them to occupy. As a result, some tiny house residents have even used their lofts as storage space. 

The consequences? Dust and poor indoor airflow. 

So, what happens when you already filled every nook and cranny in your house with things? Well, you might now have to spend on additional outdoor storage.

 The average fee for renting a storage unit is $40 to $50, and that’s just a 5×5 unit. The price will vary based on the size of the facility and unit and its location.

Urban places, of course, have higher annual and monthly fees. 

3. Your town’s zoning laws 

This is one of the more complicated and potentially expensive hidden costs of tiny home living—dealing with your town’s zoning codes. 

Zoning laws are important because they help residents live peacefully without the commercial hustle and bustle from businesses that disturb neighborhoods. Similarly, zoning laws also protect businesses from trespassing residents in an area. 

You’re lucky if you live in a state that is relaxed about the Tiny House Movement; however, if you don’t, you might have to adjust and pay for fees. Moreover, if you violate a zoning code in your state, the consequences might be brutal. 

It is even more challenging, considering residential zone areas are not that many these days. So, if you want to build a tiny house in a non-residential land, then you might have to request for a zone change. This involves an application, a payment, which depends on the locality, and a hearing with the zoning board. 

On top of that, your tiny house has to pass building code compliance. But to do that, you have to be a certified tiny house manufacturer, which will cost you more than a thousand dollars and requires submitting a dozen qualifications. 

Meanwhile, you can expect looser zoning codes if your house is on wheels, which is considered a recreational vehicle (RV). 

And, if your town isn’t that friendly with tiny houses, you can also advocate for the changing of its zoning laws

4. The appliances 

Haven’t bought a tiny house yet? Well, prepare an allowance for appliances, because customized equipment for tiny houses can cost more.  

Sure, you can find some fully furnished prefab tiny houses; however, one size doesn’t fit all, right? Your family might have specific needs the prefab can’t provide. Moreover, your needs might change over time. 

For example, if you have a tiny house on wheels, you might have to spend on a compact heater if you’re commuting to colder places like Wyoming or Vermont.

Additionally, you might have to spend on battery or solar panels for your other off-the-grid appliances.

One thing you should also consider, besides the cost of your appliances, is the hidden price you’re paying for your appliances. 

Some cheap appliances might be noisier than their expensive competitors. For example, be wary of the noise that some “eco-toilets”, Roombas, and water pumps make.

Knowing you’re in a tiny house, where sound can quickly travel, this will be a hassle. So, when buying appliances, you have to think about that as well. 

5. Insurance

yellow tiny house on wheels

In the past, insurance has not been kind to tiny house owners. Tiny houses that are towed by an SUV or a truck, which are considered RVs, are not even covered by traditional homeowners’ insurance. 

The good news is that insurance options for tiny houses are slowly increasing. Still, it greatly depends on the location and their laws about tiny houses. So, if you’re living in a state that acknowledges their existence with fair regulations, then you’re fortunate. 

Tiny houses on foundations and tiny houses on wheels have different insurance policies. Interestingly, the cost doesn’t stray far away from a traditional regular size house.

According to the Home Insurance Learning Center, a tiny house’s annual insurance can cost up to $1,500. Factors such as the house’s materials, location, and level of difficulty to repair will also affect that amount. 

6. Your tolerance and patience 

Finally, the often-overlooked ones—you will probably lose a lot of patience and tolerance in your tiny home living. 

From your buying/building journey to your living stage, you will deal with different personalities, trials, setbacks, and more. It’s totally normal to go through those, but you can avoid those by studying what you’re heading to. 

If you’re hiring a contractor, make sure they understand your journey. Not only do they have to be skilled and fast with the deliverables, but they should also empathize with your woes as well. 

Fortunately, with everything going digital right now, it’s easy to scrape the web for a tiny house supplier’s reputation. Get to know them through tiny house owners’ forums on Facebook, Reddit, etc. 

Conclusion 

As you can see, every dream has prices—and that includes the hidden costs of tiny home living. That is why before you rush to buy your dream tiny house, take a few steps back and plan properly.

Never forget to save up for an allowance for these hidden expenses in your tiny home journey. 

Related questions

How much does it cost to build a tiny house in California?

The starting cost of a tiny house in California is $40,000. Depending on many factors such as location, materials, and zoning codes, it can cost you more than $100,000.

How do you build a tiny house?

It all depends on your construction experience, budget, and personal preferences. You can either buy a blueprint from a tiny house provider and then build it yourself. Or, you can also order prefab tiny houses and the supplier will ship it to your location. Check out our blog post about tiny house marketplaces to know more.

Where to buy your very own tiny house?

Where to buy your very own tiny house?

Where to buy your very own tiny house

Finding a cute house these days is not so difficult. Your real challenges, however, are going through the legalities and making sure it truly fits your lifestyle and needs.

It’s even more complicated when you have a kid.  

So, where can you actually buy your very own tiny house? Here’s the simple answer. You can find plenty of real estate marketplaces online that let you pay for tiny houses. They will then ship it to your location. You can also check out Amazon for prefab tiny houses and blueprints, and then build it yourself.

Want something more? We got you. Below, we listed sites that offer tiny houses, floorplans, and other options. 

Where to buy your very own tiny house

1. Tiny House Listings

interior view of tiny house by Tiny House Listings
Custom 24X8 Tiny House on Wheels – Tiny House Listings

You may have joined the bandwagon by looking for tiny houses; however, that doesn’t mean you have to get similarly designed abodes as well. Good thing an online marketplace such as Tiny House Listings exists. 

As mentioned in their landing page, Tiny House Listings has plenty of interesting and unique house designs to offer.

We checked out their Browse section and they have a pretty diverse array of tiny house designs—from trailer-style houses to minimalist ones. 

People can also post their designs on the site and sell them. So, whether you’re planning to rent, sell, or actually buy one, you can do all of those on THL. 

Meanwhile, if you’re ready to move into a tiny house but your pocket isn’t, you can also opt for their financing. THL has worked with Even Financial to let online buyers apply for up to $100,000-worth of loans on their website. 

Even Financial is an Application Programming Interface (API) for financing mobile applications, so if you’re really serious about applying for a loan, you can do it for free and hassle-free on the site of Tiny House Listings.

Site: tinyhouselistings.com/

2. Amazon 

Although your search won’t be as laser-focus on Amazon compared to others, it’s still a viable option if you’re still looking around. But in all honesty, it has a meh quality to it, but you can still give it a try. 

A search on Google about “Amazon tiny houses” will lead you to this page entitled Tiny Homes: Amazon. On the page, you will find a random mix of unavailable prefab products, very few prefab houses, and documentaries. 

So, instead of browsing further on that page, we suggest you type “tiny houses” at the search bar on the top and then hit enter. Amazon will then lead you to a list of prefab tiny houses.

Although, it will still suggest documentaries about small houses (which is not surprising but still weird). 

Site:  amazon.com/tiny-house/s?k=tiny+house 

3. New Frontier Tiny Homes 

isolated wooden house in the woods
Live Intentionally – New Frontier Tiny Homes

Want a rustic tiny house where you can write in peace, hang out with your friends, or relax with your significant other for a weekend? NFTH might just have something perfect for you. 

On their landing page, you can instantly see a list of beautiful, quaint rustic tiny houses. Made of wood and steel, their small size only accentuates the peaceful vibe they give. 

Those beautiful houses have names, too. Alpha, Escher, Cornelia, and Orchid—and they all have unique designs that cater to a particular buyer’s preference. Cornelia, for example, is designed for writers who want to finally finish their great American novel.

While they don’t offer to finance, they have suggested personal or construction loans from lenders like LightStream, SoFi, and Prosper. 

Site: New Frontier Tiny Homes

4. Tiny Heirloom 

If you want a more flexible approach to building your own tiny home, you might like Tiny Heirloom. While they are also offering prefab designs like the others, interestingly, you can also customize pretty much everything. 

On their site, you can see browse their Signature Series, which consists of five luxury pre-designed tiny houses. They also offer custom tiny houses and even preowned tiny houses. 

Besides that, they also offer construction services to B2B businesses. Apparently, they can build food trucks, mobile showrooms, and show booths for enterprises. 

As for financing, they are offering loan applications in all 50 states in the United States. You can apply for a loan right on their site. They also suggest you go to LightStream if you want other loan options. 

Site: Tiny Heirloom

5. Wheelhaus

Tiny House in the woods - Wheelhaus
Tiny House in the woods – Wheelhaus

In our previous post about tiny house kits, we mentioned Wheelhouse being a good source of prefab tiny houses. Now, we’re expanding that here. 

The unique thing about Wheelhaus is that they deliver turnkey tiny houses right at your doorstep. With a background in log cabin construction, Wheelhaus boasts a combination of rustic and modern in their models.

They have a variety of models on wheels or on foundation, but their speciality is building less than 400 square feet Recreational Park Trailers (RPTs) and Rolling Cabins. 

Interior view of a tiny house model from Wheelhaus
Interior view of a tiny house model from Wheelhaus

Now, before you can choose any model from Wheelhaus, you have to undergo an initial consultation. Only then you can pick your most desired model that suits your budget. 

And if you want to get a loan, you can sign up at their Lightstream-backed financing program on their site, which allows up to $100,000 financing. 

Site: Wheelhaus | Tiny houses 

6. 84 Lumber

84 Lumber doesn’t have a diverse range of designs, but you can see their kind of brand on their models. In both of their on-wheels and foundation series, you can see the signature wooden, colorful panel design. 

On their site, you can see each model’s floor plan, which will really help if you’re living with young kids. This way, you can determine what needs adjustments, should you want to buy your very own tiny house with your kids.

They also offer designs with blueprints only, which costs $500; meanwhile, the blueprints plus trailer will cost you less than $7,000. 

Moreover, although it’s not that easy to find on their site, they also offer to finance. Just like the others, they have also partnered with Lightstream to offer housing loans to their clients. 

Site: 84tinyliving.com

7. Escape Traveler

Gorgeous tiny house on wheels from Escape Traveler

Escape Traveler is a suitable marketplace for people who are always on the move. 

Besides their financing, the variety of their designs is also notable. They were even featured on Forbes Magazine’s “The Most Beautiful Tiny Houses In The World“. 

Similar to the previous marketplaces on this list, they also deliver prefab homes with their own fleet company and leveling systems. You can also order their models anywhere in the US. 

If you like modular homes on wheels, they are offering discounts if you choose premium designs. Each model can cost more than $30,000 $60,000, but if you pick the premium plans, they can give you more than $3,000 to $5,000 discounts. 

In case you want financing to buy your very own tiny house, you have to send them a quote, first. 

Site: escapetraveler.net/

8. MODS International 

Modular On-Demand Structures (MODS) International specializes in building tiny homes using shipping containers all over the world. That means their services also extend to commercial, temporary shelters, and trade shows. 

HGTV also featured multiple of their container homes. In the show “Container Homes’’, MODS built a residential project for a family in Wisconsin. 

Besides container homes, they also built some unique structures. Several notable ones are bunkhouses, man camps, and workforce housing.

They even built a Grow Container System, which is also known as “farm in a box”, where you can grow and produce hydroponic plants. It’s also available on Amazon. 

MODS is also a full-service firm, which means they cover everything, from the designing of the house to the delivery to the owner. 

Site: mods.us

9. Jamaica Cottage Shop

A cute cottage for rent with white walls and yellow green and pink doors. Jamaica Cottage Shop.
A cute cottage for rent

Last but definitely not least is JCS, which is a no-nonsense supplier of tiny house prefabs and kits. 

Their edges against other sellers, apparently, are their free shipping costs in the US and Canada, customizations, and overtime payments. 

Particularly, they have partnered with a lender called getbread.com, which allowed them to offer low rates to their customers. 

Don’t like going DIY? Their fully assembled tiny houses can cost you more than $50,000, depending on the size and design. 

Meanwhile, the other tiny structures they build are tool sheds, potting forts, and garden sheds. They also construct cabins, garages, barns, and storage units. 

Site: jamaicacottageshop.com/

Conclusion

With the plethora of real estate marketplaces, choosing where to buy your very own tiny house may overwhelm you. 

Nevertheless, just don’t lose sight of what you have really envisioned—the best life you want to live—and you can make less lame buying decisions. 

Also, don’t forget to make sure you can legally own it in your state. 

Related questions

Which states allow tiny houses? 

In the US, you can build or buy tiny houses in Arizona, California, Colorado, Indian, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, and Texas. 

How much do tiny houses cost? 

The average cost of a tiny home can be $30,000 to $40,000. Usually, it can become more expensive (up to $180,000) as you add upgrades like an HVAC system. 

Can a Tiny House Be Registered And Used As An RV?

Can a Tiny House Be Registered And Used As An RV?

Recently, I’ve seen a lot of tiny homes on the highway. Because they resemble recreational vehicles (RV) so much, it got me thinking. Can a tiny house be registered as an RV and be used as such?

Based on my research, most states allow registration and usage of tiny homes as an RV. The process involves someone from the regulatory board inspecting your unit. Only when your unit meets their standards can it be certified as an RV.

Many tiny homes on wheels (THOWs) owners prefer to register their unit as RV for one main reason- parking. Very few establishments allow long-term parking of THOWs. On the other hand, numerous places such as RV parks and private properties allow parking of RVs.

However, one of the downsides in registering your tiny home as an RV is the total cost of the certification process. However, if you have made up your mind in doing so, here is a step-by-step guideline:

tiny house registration as RV

Can a Tiny House Be Registered as an RV Legally?

There are two legal ways to register a small house on a trailer as an RV:

1. You can apply for your mobile home inspection. An inspector from the local office of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) does the evaluation.

Independent inspection are also carried out under alternative programs. These organizations can also issue tiny home to RV certificates:

● Pacific West Associates- can issue a similar certificate if your THOW met the same standards as that of a traditional RV. They can either issue an ANSI 119.5 or NFPA 1192.

●     National Organization of Alternative Housing- releases certificates stating your mobile home has met standards unique to the construction of small houses.

2.    Buying a tiny home from a manufacturer that sells units in partnership with the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) clears you with this issue. However, make sure you’re buying a fully built model and not a partially constructed one.

However, if you want to build a tiny home by yourself, inspection will be done while you build your home. Same thing when you use plans from a manufacturer to aid you in your construction efforts.

 Difference Between a Tiny House on Wheels and an RV

By legal definition, a tiny home is an RV. However, most small homes on trailers are for permanent residence. Whereas, RVs are for temporary residence.

Moreover, most RVs follow the NFPA standard 1192 and usually have certifications from its manufacturers. Meanwhile, THOWs may not have certification even though it came from a tiny home manufacturer.

The design of tiny homes on wheels and an RV are also quite different. The former is much like home including its exterior. Tiny homes also use materials for constructing traditional homes, such as wood.

Meanwhile, appliances and living amenities such as refrigerators, sinks, and beds fit into an RV. These mobile homes have a metallic shell that protects its interior. 

Can you Live in an RV or Tiny Home?

small home registered as an RV

You can live in an RV or tiny home for a few days or weeks, but not permanently. The law requires that a residential property needs to be built on a foundation.

Building codes and other structural regulations only apply to structures with a foundation built beneath it. When you are parked outside an RV park, most jurisdictions consider you to be “camping.” Hence, your tiny home may be restricted in the same way as tents.

However, there are a few loopholes that tiny home owners used to “prolong” their stay on their tiny house. In some states like Idaho, you can live a few weeks inside your parked tiny home or RV. However, you need to change spots every now and then to avoid breaking the law.

In most cases, tiny home owners eventually settle in one place for about a year or more. In exchange, they need to build a foundation beneath the tiny home for it to comply with the building code. Furthermore, they need to file the property as an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

 A Few Exceptions to the Rule

While making your RV as your permanent residence has several prohibitions, there are also few exceptions. Such as:

●     Many jurisdictions authorize full-time occupancy of an RV or a mobile home while its owner is constructing a permanent residence.

●     Several jurisdictions also allow people to live on RVs and mobile homes near a commercial site. However, it’s residence must be providing 24/7 security on an associated business.

How the Different States Deal With Tiny Homes and RVs

One of the reasons that people register their tiny home as an RV is that they want to get around the country with their dwelling in tow. Various states treat tiny homes differently especially in the issue of parking.

Some states are very considerate when it comes to building and parking tiny homes. However, there are also areas that are very restrictive of tiny homes whether they are on a foundation or on wheels.

Let’s take a look at how some states regulate small houses:

Alaska

·         Small homes on wheels are considered as RVs and confined to R-5 zones.

Arkansas

·         Most counties here treat mobile tiny homes as an RV. They can only park on RV parks. There are a few tiny house communities such as the one near Bella Vista Lake Park.

Connecticut

·         Still has no one advocating for tiny home development. They are very strict when it comes to anything that could crowd residential land such as RVs and tiny houses. The state has zoning regulations that discourage anyone from building or living in a tiny home.

Florida

·         Overall, the state is quite friendly and supportive of the tiny house movement. There are plenty of RV parks and small home hotels around. However, tiny homes on wheels must have corresponding registration at a DMV in this state. Sarasota County only allows mobile tiny homes to stay in a park for less than 45 days, or it will require it to be built on a foundation.

If you have or are planning to build a tiny house in Florida, this Totally Bamboo Florida State Destination Bamboo Serving and Cutting Board is a must-buy!

Maryland

·         The state of Maryland has yet to acknowledge tiny homes. While they may be registered as RVs, the only places they can park are in RV parks. However, most establishments place a restriction on the number of days a unit can park in their vicinity.

Massachusetts

·         Owning a tiny home built on a foundation is fairly easy here because you can declare it as an ADU. Camping in a tiny house parked in an RV park is also allowed, albeit only for a short period.

Minnesota

·         State acknowledges two types of tiny houses for zoning purposes- ADUs and RVs. Finding a place to park your unit can be tricky as regulations and code vary by town and county.

Do you own a tiny house in Minnesota? You will love this Kindred Hearts 12″x13.5″ Minnesota State Slogan Pallet Board Wall Art.

Montana

·         State allows registration of tiny houses. But they are restricted only as RV or travel trailer and not as suitable housing.

New Hampshire

·         State has a law that allows ADUs. Owners are not required to live on site. There are 13 municipalities without zoning laws. Most of the RV parks are further up north.

New Mexico

·         Tiny homes on wheels are required to follow the same residential code standards and the ANSI codes. You can convert a THOW into a legal dwelling by obtaining a certificate of occupancy. The house must have at least 70 square feet and not less than 7 feet in length, width, and height.

If you have a tiny home in New Mexico, add this 6×12 Inches Vintage Feel Metal Tin Sign Plaque to make your house more personalized!

Oklahoma

·         The state doesn’t have regulations on tiny houses yet. THOWs are generally considered as RVs. Few tiny home communities are in development like one in Wheeler District.  

Oregon

·         THOWs owners need to get a special permit to build or own a tiny home. When moving the unit you need to also have a permit for a commercial hauler to move your small house. The state allows one small home or an RV to be hosted in a residential property.

Texas

·         Tiny homes are widely regulated in Texas. The town of Spur is dubbed as the first tiny house friendly municipality in America. Tiny houses on wheels are required to be tied down and their wheels removed.

Here’s a Texas home decor that doubles as a hook for your clothes. Check out this Texas Metal Key Holder Hooks Clothes Hanger Western Vintage Home Letters.

Wyoming

·     The state allows THOWs in an R-6 or a Manufactured Home Park zoning district. The city of Cody is one of the few exceptions as it treats small homes as RVs, but also doesn’t allow them to be used as ADUs.

Purchase this Mugod Decorative Throw Pillow Cover for Couch Sofa to give style and beauty to your Wyoming tiny house.

The rest of the other states generally allow tiny home owners to register their tiny home units as RVs. However, they don’t have any other specific restrictions when it comes to its design and where it can legally be parked.

tiny house on wheels

How to Apply for a Zoning Variance to Help You Out

Not all states immediately accept mobile tiny homes as RVs. Some states require that the THOWs also have specific dimensions and/or amenities like toilet, kitchen sink, and bedroom. Others require tiny home builders to follow the building code or ANSI guidelines.

However, there are a few loopholes that small home owners can use to make it legal to drive a tiny home registered as an RV. One of these methods is to apply for a variance. Once approved by the city council, it can exempt you from some provisions of the zoning laws.

You can use variance in cases when the design of the house doesn’t conform to the existing zoning laws. It is most effective when the jurisdiction you are in has unclear rules pertaining to tiny homes.

The city code is often a guideline rather than a set of rules that must strictly be followed even during exceptional cases.

Here is how you can apply for variance:

1. Choose the type of variant you want to apply.

Area variance may apply when you encounter difficulties in complying with the physical requirements of the building code. Meanwhile, use variance may allow the owner to use his property in a way that is quite different from the local zoning standards.

2. Submit a variance permit request to a building inspector or a zoning enforcement officer.

They will then decide if they will allow the variance or not. The initial application review usually takes anywhere between 2-4 months.

If it also has to undergo an environmental review, you need to wait an additional period of 6-12 months. You also have to pay a certain amount for filing the variance which is approximately $2,000 to $5,000. The fees vary depending on the state you are in.

3. If you get denied, you can still appeal to the local zoning board of appeals.

Their decision usually will depend on whether the variance can negatively impact the community or neighborhood.

4. However, once approved, property owners within a radius of 300-feet from where you plan to build your tiny home will receive a public notification.

To ensure that you have a high chance of being granted a variance, please check the existing building codes in your jurisdiction. You can also consult with an attorney or someone familiar with the housing or construction industry.

tiny house parking options

Top Places Where You Could Park an RV or Tiny Home

RV parks and nature parks are just a few of the places where you can leave your tiny mobile home (registered as an RV). Numerous establishments also encourage RVers to park in their vicinity. Below are some of these places:  

 1. Walmart

Some Walmart branches, especially in tiny home-friendly states, allow temporary RV parking. However, some stores are very specific as to what type of RVs can be allowed in their parking lots.

Take time to inquire about this arrangement with the store manager, so you will know where exactly to park. This is quite useful when you want to shop for supplies without having to leave your THOW in an RV park or tiny house community.

2. Private Property

If you’re driving cross-country you can stop by a friend’s residence and park there for a few days or nights. In some states, you can temporarily park your mobile tiny home in a property’s driveway.

You can find properties that allow RV parking using platforms such as Outdoorsy and RVwithMe. However, check first the city regulations, especially the provision that covers private property parking just to be safe.

3.    Casinos

Numerous casinos allow RVs to park when there are available spaces. You can find RV parking along the NASCAR circuit in Las Vegas. These casinos usually charge a small fee, which slightly rises during holidays and weekends.

If you want to ensure that you can park your RV in their establishments, check first with the management. Some casinos also have a designated parking area for RVs which is separate from the regular parking spots for their customers.

4.    Truck Stops

This might surprise you, but you can actually use truck stops for RV parking. However, you also need to observe rules meant for truckers. Be mindful, though, as you will have larger vehicles such as tractor-trailers and oversized rigs parked in the vicinity as well.

The great thing about truck stops is you will get to meet people who also choose to stay there for a while. On the flip side, you also need to better secure your vehicle and belongings.

Conclusion

Registering and using your tiny home as an RV is one way to make your tiny home on wheels legal. However, doing so also has its own consequences in some states because it is now a vehicle rather than a dwelling place.

Related Questions

What are the advantages of registering my tiny home as an RV?

There are numerous pros when you register your THOW as an RV. For example, it can help you bypass some provisions of the building code. But for the most part, its main advantage revolves around mobility and gaining more places where you can park it.

What are the disadvantages of cataloging your THOW as an RV?

Once registered as an RV, your mobile tiny home is now a vehicle. RVs are generally temporary shelters for camping. Hence, you can’t use it as a permanent dwelling.

Is it required to register my tiny home as an RV?

Not necessarily. However, if you have decided you want a mobile tiny home rather than a stationary one, you best do so. Registering your THOW as an RV can help you prevent stiff fines once you drive the unit.  

Should Tiny Homes Have a Foundation or Stay on Wheels?

Should Tiny Homes Have a Foundation or Stay on Wheels?

Should tiny homes have a foundation or stay on wheels?

Living in a tiny home, while it sounds appealing, is no picnic. The challenges that come with the tiny house lifestyle are not meant to be easy. And if you’re thinking about joining the tiny house movement, then you’re into something BIG. 

There are many things to consider. One is whether to build your tiny house over a foundation or on wheels. And so, the question arises: should tiny homes have a foundation or stay on wheels?

Regardless of where you want to build your tiny home — be it on a foundation or wheels — each option has advantages over the other. And of course, it’s fair to say that each also has its disadvantages. 

You might be wondering which of the options is best. Well, you’re on the right blog post. Read further as we dissect the upsides, downsides, and other whatnots of both tiny houses on a foundation and wheels. 

To Roll Or Not To Roll?

The tiny house movement has gained broad exposure in the media. And no doubt, the TV shows and magazines have expertly drawn many to join the campaign. 

The primary goal of the tiny house movement is to inspire people to live simply in tiny homes to promote financial prudence and conservationist living. 

Some, though, join the tiny house campaign because of the fringe benefit that comes with it, like the mobility that tiny house on wheels offers. This is a big deal, especially for those who are always driven by their wanderlust — their pursuit to roam the world and saunter different places. 

The concept of living in a tiny home is, nonetheless, dreamy. But it’s not as appealing as many think. As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of factors to consider. One is to decide whether to have your home built on an affixed spot or wheels. 

To help you get through this dilemma, allow us to enumerate the advantages and disadvantages of both options. 

tiny home on a foundation
A tiny home built on a foundation has a lot of advantages

Why Your Tiny House Should Have A Foundation

When you hear the word “tiny house,” the first thing that probably pops out of your mind is one that has been built on a trailer. True, a tiny house on wheels is an excellent solution for those who are fond of traveling, but it’s not for everyone. 

Some people love to live in a home with a backyard they can garden in. This led us to a new tiny house concept that has captivated those who fancy residing in a traditional home while living a tiny lifestyle. 

There’s really no reason for you to put your tiny home on wheels, unless if you want to take it on the road. Building your tiny house over a foundation comes with a lot of benefits, including:

Living in Your Own Land

Building a tiny house on foundation means buying a piece of land you can construct it in. You may rent a piece of land, but it’s a risky option you don’t want to take. 

There might come a time when the landowner will decide to sell the land or use it personally. In this kind of situation, you may lose your tiny house. And so, that’s the reason why buying a piece of land is a better option. 

This shouldn’t be so hard since there are a lot of great deals you can find. Some cities even sell small vacant lots at no more than $1,000. 

Building your tiny house in your own land means you don’t have to stress yourself in finding parking lots or campgrounds, which, often, is tricky. 

Applying for Loan? No Worries!

Most banks don’t lend money to someone who plans to build a home on wheels. This is because tiny houses on wheels tend to depreciate in value and deteriorate as time goes by. 

Banks, in general, are more willing to invest in the construction of houses that they can resell if the lendee isn’t able to pay back the loan. 

Plus, houses that are always on the move are harder to foreclose. 

Land Value Appreciates

The reason why properties appreciate is plain and simple: it’s because of the limited supply. Because after all, no one is producing any more land… that is, earth!

This factor is essential, especially if you’re constructing a temporary home. Unlike tiny houses on wheels that depreciate over the years, homes built in an affixed spot are an investment. 

Think about it: even a run-down house still holds some value because of the land.

Forasmuch as the foundation is in good condition, people will want to purchase your property. 

Less Maintenance

Unlike tiny houses on wheels, a tiny home perfectly perched in a permanent spot is less likely to experience wear and tear. 

Houses on wheels require regular attention, specifically the wheels and the trailer. Let’s not forget the sidings that need to withstand all the rocks and gravel that kick up while you’re driving.

Your home built on a foundation will experience none of these. The only areas that will need regular checkups will be the surrounding of your property, such as trimming your bushes or mowing your lawn. 

Need a Basement? Check!

A basement is a necessity for tiny houses. It gives you extra storage or living space. 

A basement is only possible for tiny houses built on a foundation as it requires excavation.

Utility Hookups Are Doable 

People living in tiny houses on wheels often stress themselves when it comes to plumbing and electricity.

This is true, especially for those who want to live off-the-grid. Off-grid living requires the dwellers to come up with alternatives. This means using solar power, water tanks, and compost toilets. 

Houses built on a foundation, however, allows you to hook up to the grid so that you can have conventional electricity and plumbing. Your toilet can be tied up to a septic tank system or sewer. And most importantly, you have the option to connect to the WiFi. 

The Disadvantages of Tiny Houses on Foundation

Now that we’ve discussed all the good things about tiny houses on foundation, it’s time to talk about the downside… the things that will perhaps give you a second thought. 

Buying a Property Can Be Pricey

Buying a piece of land may cost an arm and a leg. True, you can find great deals, but because of the high demand, it can be difficult and tricky. 

The price of the property will vary depending on your location. 

Some tiny house dwellers choose to join the tiny house movement to cut down expenses and live a simple life. 

If buying a piece of land is not a viable option for you, then a tiny house on wheels might be the best choice. 

Repairs and Maintenance Are Costly

True, tiny permanent houses may not require as much maintenance as a tiny house on wheels does, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t ever need to be maintained and repaired. 

Your tiny house, though built in an affixed property, is never exempted from harsh weather conditions and other non-weather related damages. 

A petite home on a foundation is just as exposed as a mobile house. Kids may punch holes inside the house, a storm may break some parts of your home and cause a leak, the water heater could break down, or the electric system may not be updated. 

Plumbing repairs can also add up to the expenses. More so if you hire help. 

If you rent a home, you can simply call your landlord and have them take care of the issues. But when you own your place, you need to shell out cash from your pocket.

While homeowner’s insurance can be a solution, it doesn’t always cover routine maintenance, sewer backups, mold, or termites. 

If you plan to have your tiny house built on a foundation, you must keep a substantial cash reserve to cover maintenance costs. 

Adding a Basement or Crawlspace Requires More $$$

Because of the limited space, you might think of adding a basement or crawlspace to get an extra room for storage. 

While this is doable, it’s worth noting that adding a basement can be just as expensive as building the house itself. 

Excavation is needed. You will also need to mimic the shape of your home. Hiring professionals is a good choice. It will save you time and ensure your basement meets the standard quality. But then again, it will require you to spend big. 

No Mobility

Because your home is permanently affixed in one spot, there’s obviously no way for you to bring your house on the road. 

If traveling isn’t that much of your liking, then this should not be a big deal. 

But let’s not forget how mobile houses can move from one place to another. When a disaster strikes, a tiny house on wheels can be easily transported to a safer place. 

a tiny house on wheels
A tiny house on wheels has features that a stationary home can’t offer

Why You Should Live in a Tiny House on Wheels

Now let’s talk about how great tiny houses on wheels (THOW) are. There sure are a lot of upsides in dwelling in a THOW, but the most prevalent is probably its ability to travel with your house. 

If you own a truck or an SUV, you can easily tow your tiny home to places — for sightseeing, visiting family and friends living afar, or living in various places for extended periods. 

And if your job requires you to move to another place? You can easily take your tiny house with you. Isn’t that lovely?

Movability for Your Tiny House

Just imagine how relaxing it is to sleep in the very comfort of your home after a long trip. No need to book hotels. No need to set up a campsite. Just go straight up to your bed. You can sleep tight with all your belongings. 

Promotes Sustainable Living

Living in a THOW means transitioning to an off-grid lifestyle. Sounds intimidating? No. An off-grid lifestyle actually promotes sustainable living. 

You will be relying on solar panels for power and use a composting toilet to conserve water. Your primary source of fresh water will be water tanks, or better yet, streams (if you’re living near a water source). 

More Affordable Than A Stationary Tiny House

You do not need to buy a piece of land for your tiny house on wheels. That alone saves you A LOT of money. 

Most people cannot afford to buy a property without taking out a land mortgage – a debt that can go as long as 30 years!

Tiny Houses on Wheels Are Not Always Subject to a Building Code

Yeah, that’s right. Tiny houses on wheels are not, in most locations, subject to building code. Why, you ask? It’s because they’re not constitutionally considered a structure. 

The Disadvantages of Tiny Houses on Wheels 

While there are lots of good things to say about THOWs, there are still some drawbacks that need to be discussed. It’s vital to take these disadvantages into deep consideration before embarking a THOW living. 

Transporting Your Tiny House Isn’t That Easy

Transporting your tiny house may sound easy and swift, but it is actually not as easy as many make it sound. 

It’s not just about hooking up a tiny trailer to make a quick trip. No. You will have to disconnect utilities, and several features (interior and exterior) need to be secured to ensure safe transport. 

Some places also require special travel permits depending on the size of your tiny house. 

Yes, there are LOTS of things to do before you can transport your tiny house on wheels, something that turns off many people.

Tiny Houses on Wheels Relatively Breaks The Law

As mentioned already, a THOW can help you fly under the radar and skip building codes. This, for some people, is breaking the law and an act of civil disobedience. 

Your Stay Is Always Temporary

In most places, THOWs are considered an RV. You can even camp in an RV, but your stay is limited. 

Moreover, some law requires any RV used for camping to be certified by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. This means you will have to build your tiny house to the RVIA standards. It will then be inspected for compliance. 

While you’re able to go around building codes, you may still be stepping into a more complicated set of standards that need to be followed.

Your Tiny Home on Wheels Can Experience More Wear and Tear

Because you will always be traveling with your mobile home, it’s fair to expect that it will be more susceptible to wear and tear. 

The vibrations due to rough roads can cause damage to your home. Let’s not forget how they can still be exposed to harsh weather conditions. 

Maintenance Can Be Costly

Maintaining your trailer house means regularly checking and changing your tires. 

The overall health of your THOW must be maintained. This is not just the house itself but also the entire trailer; the framework, bearings, tires, lug nuts, hitch, and lightings. 

Final Takeaway

After going through the pros and cons of tiny stationary houses and on wheels, it’s time to recap the question:

Should tiny homes have a foundation or stay on wheels?

Both options have advantages and disadvantages. Regardless, both choices allow you to live a minimalist, sustainable lifestyle. 

Related Questions

Which is better? A tiny house on a foundation or on wheels?

There’s no better than the other as both have advantages. The best choice will depend on your preference and budget. 

Do tiny homes appreciate in value?

Unfortunately, tiny homes depreciate like cars and RVs. This is the reason why most banks aren’t willing to invest in tiny houses. Small houses, however, have a better resale value than tiny homes. 

How much does it cost to live in a tiny house?

The cost of living in a tiny house can go anywhere from $10,000 to $180,000. It can even go higher than that, depending on how luxurious you want your tiny house to be.