Category: Tiny House Inspection

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.

live big in a tiny living space - tiny house interior with brown and white hues

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

USA map with states - pictorial geographical poster of America, hand drawn lettering design for wall decoration, travel guide, print. Unique creative typography vector illustration.
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. 

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. 

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. 

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 excellent 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.

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. 

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.

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 a 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 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

Travelling/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 travelling. 

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.  

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.

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. 

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 jewellery 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 hand wheel 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 Safety: 5 Major Safety Issues You Can’t Ignore

Tiny House Safety: 5 Major Safety Issues You Can’t Ignore

Living in a small quaint house sure does sound like a dream. And with the Tiny House Movement, that dream isn’t far from reach for many. Nevertheless, you still have to face issues such as tiny house safety.

Just because you’re living in a tiny house doesn’t mean you’re free from hazards. Below, we discuss these five crucial safety issues of living in a tiny house. 

5 major tiny house safety issues

In the US, you will find many different types of small housing. The tiny house that we’re describing below is any dwelling that measures less than 400 square feet and is built on foundations, as defined by this review. 

If you’re planning to live in a tiny house, you have to face reality. Having one isn’t a walk in real estate park. Read on to know more.

1. Fire hazards

burnt roof of an old house.
Burnt roof of an old tiny house

There are two common fire hazards in most tiny houses—combustible materials and space heaters. 

If a tiny house is built with combustible materials, and you use gas or electric heaters and gas stoves, the fire risk is greater. 

For example, plywood fire is a Class A fire, which means the fire can spread easily on a structure built with plywood. Therefore, if you’re planning to buy or build a tiny house, consider other non-combustible materials. 

Fiberglass, for example, won’t burn when it catches fire—instead, it will just melt. Besides that, it’s also lightweight, strong, and an excellent heat insulator, which means you can rely on it during cold nights. 

Moreover, because it’s a tiny house, you should watch out for space heaters. Appliances like space heaters commonly cause deadly fires in US homes because they easily overheat.  

2. Carbon monoxide poisoning

a hand holding a white carbon monoxide detector device.
This CO detector will help save lives.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning is a common house hazard, but it’s deadlier than others since it’s colorless and odorless. Therefore, it’s very tricky to detect without a device, making it even more critical in a tight space with poorly designed ventilation. 

Since a tiny house is often tightly sealed, you have to be three times careful with equipment. A gas-powered kitchen range, especially, gives off a lot of CO when you start it. 

The CO level in your kitchen’s air elevates even more when you don’t use a range hood when using your gas range. So, don’t forget to use that range hood to reduce the harm of CO. 

Are you still serious about living in a tiny house? Besides using a range hood when cooking, you can also invest in a carbon monoxide detector. In the US, 27 states mandate residential buildings with fossil-fuel burning devices to install at least one CO alarm. 

Other cost-effective ways to prevent CO poisoning is making sure your kitchen is well-ventilated and letting a qualified pro inspect your gas range for combustion safety. 

3. Indoor air quality 

female Asian disgusted of indoor air quality in her house.
Indoor air quality has long-term effects on wellness.

Indoor air quality is a significant factor in your wellness. Whether you’re in a tiny house or a workspace, the indoor air quality will affect your physical health and even your productivity. According to this study, people perform poorly if they work in an area with terrible indoor air quality. 

Now, in a typical residential house, improving the indoor air quality can be as simple and cheap as opening the doors and windows. However, in a tiny house, it can be a bit trickier. Compared to a wider space, where the moisture can dilute better, a tiny house with poor indoor air quality will bring you many issues. 

Humidity problem

First, you might encounter a humidity problem. When a house in an already humid area develops a high level of air moisture, it will pose some risks to the occupants. People’s bodies might not cool down easily, exposing them to a risk of heat strokes. 

Allergies

Another issue you might encounter with a humid place is allergies. Dust mites thrive on air moisture since they can’t absorb water. Their waste is particularly dangerous, as it can trigger allergic reactions like red eyes, sneezing, runny nose, inflammation, and itchiness. 

Costlier electricity bills

With poor quality and circulation, a tiny house’s indoor air will easily allow dust buildup in the HVAC systems or Air Conditioning (AC) units. And if they do have dust buildup, they will work harder to maintain the required level of heat exchange in your house. What comes next will be a series of repairs or high utility bills. 

4. Mobility inside the house

wooden interiors of a tiny house
Any occupant should be able to move freely inside a tiny house.

Mobility may be the well-known benefit of tiny houses, especially for the elderly who can still take care of themselves. Since all the facilities are near each other and easily accessible, older people won’t need to walk several meters just to relieve themselves. 

However, mobility inside a tiny house might pose safety risks for most people.

For example, if a person injures themselves, and they use a wheelchair, their dwelling needs to have enough space to cater to wheelchair mobility. However, it’s rare for a tiny house to have ramps. 

Another concern is the occupants doing different activities in the house at the same time. What if one person is cooking and another person is fixing something nearby?

They should be able to move freely to avoid bumping into each other. The stairs inside a tiny house shouldn’t be too steep as well to prevent falls and slips. 

The point here is a tiny house should supply adequate mobility for each occupant. You can’t ignore this issue because people’s needs change, and so do their activities in the house.

5. Mold growth 

disgusting mold growth on a white wall.
Long-term exposure to mold growth will worsen underlying upper respiratory diseases.

Mold growth is another crucial safety concern in a tiny house. 

Humid spaces enable the growth of mold. Therefore, any small signs of growth in a poorly ventilated tiny house will blow up to a mold infestation in no time.

Wooden materials are especially notorious breeding grounds for mold. If you notice a rotten wood smell or a musty smell, you might be having a huge mold infestation. You should not dismiss this and identify the source. 

If you find mold, you can instantly get rid of it. You can either use a soap and water solution or bleach to remove mold from a wooden surface. Bleach is a known mold killer.

Mold is dangerous for a number of reasons, just like the following. 

  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Asthma 
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose
  • Red and itchy eyes

If a person has a compromised immune system or an undiagnosed lung problem, they should be extra careful of living in tiny houses. They are more at risk for complications if they get exposed to mold. 

Final thoughts

Do you still think tiny houses are good investments? If you do, then never forget to address these five safety risks we listed. Tiny houses already have a bad rap to the public, so don’t add fuel to the fire by being even more careless with your tiny home. 

Related questions 

How do you avoid mold growth in a tiny house? 

To avoid mold growth in a tiny house, make sure to fix any roof leaks immediately. Make it a habit to open the windows and doors frequently if possible to allow better air circulation inside the house. Finally, ensure that you have properly functioning vents. Tiny houses easily get wet inside.

Are tiny houses safe? 

Living one will surely not expose you to fatal conditions. It can also withstand storms and strong winds if it’s properly designed and constructed. However, just like the ones we listed here, you will still encounter major safety issues, and you should be ready to address them. 

8 Tiny House Safety Procedures: An Important Guide

8 Tiny House Safety Procedures: An Important Guide

tiny house safety procedures

Did you know? According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), more accidents happen at home than anywhere else. It also added that there are about 6,000 deaths per year as the result of a home accident. 

The statistics added that falls are the most common accidents. RoSPA encourages everyone to take preventative actions to reduce accidents at home.

Accidents can still happen even in tiny houses. And for the most part, wheeled tiny houses are more exposed to accidents, especially whenever they zip the road. 

However, by taking tiny house safety procedures, you can reduce or even prevent accidents from happening. 

There’s a lot you can do to avert you and your family from home injuries. This blog post enlists the safety methods you can perform from building your tiny home to residing in it.

Are Tiny Houses Really Safe to Live In?

Petite homes offer shelter, comfort, and protection the same as large, traditional houses do, albeit the limited space. 

Tiny houses are safe to live in, as long as you practice safety procedures religiously. Preventative measures should also be exercised when constructing your home and traveling from one place to another. 

1. When Building Your Tiny House

tiny house construction safety

When building your tiny house, the chance is that there will be no officials to look over your shoulder to ensure that you’re following the necessary requirements in constructing a house. But this doesn’t mean that you must cut corners. 

Safety starts at the beginning of your project. When constructing your tiny home, you must use safety gear and ensure that everything you do is according to the code requirements. 

This may sound like a hassle, but you won’t regret doing so. Don’t underestimate the potential dangers. 

If it’s possible, take extensive training before constructing your home. 

Do not use unsteady scaffolding, loose boards, and unsecured ladders. If you need to reach something, use a safety ladder, not a chair or table. 

You must also stay dry, especially if you need to access zones where electricity is being installed. 

And when you need to lift something, make sure you do it the right way!

Most importantly, be watchful! By being aware of all that is happening on your building site, you escalate your safety.  

If you hire a professional crew to build your home and notice that they violate basic safety procedures or code requirements, you must report them immediately to the foreman. 

2. Reducing Risk Inside and Around Your Tiny House

Home accidents don’t just happen out of the blue. They happen because we fail to notice the things that lead us to them. 

For example, not cleaning up cooking oil spills can cause the floor to become slippery, which can then lead to an injury. The injury could’ve been avoided if only you took immediate preventative actions. 

The safety tips mentioned below will help you reduce the risks inside and around your tiny house.

Kitchen

Cooking is fun, but your safety in the kitchen is a top priority. Some of the most dangerous items can be found in the kitchen, including knives, electrical appliances, and even bacteria.

So what can you do to reduce accidents in the kitchen area?

  • Do not put flammable objects near fire sources. Papers, plastics, and curtains, for example, must be put away from the stovetop, oven, or portable heater. 
  • There must be space around appliances for proper ventilation. Otherwise, the devices may overheat and cause a fire. 
  • Store sharp objects like knives and other similar tools and utensils in a drawer or a wooden block. 
  • Make sure all electrical cords are not tangled to other appliances or are not draped across the stovetop. 
  • When cooking, make sure to tie your hair back. Avoid wearing loose clothing when cooking, as well. You don’t want your hair or clothing to catch fire accidentally. 
  • Keep potholders nearby and use them, but do not leave them near an open flame. 
  • Clean up spills immediately to avoid slips and falls from happening. 
  • Make sure there’s a fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen. 
  • Always wash your hands before and after handling foods or meat. 
  • Toxic and poisonous chemicals must be stored properly. Don’t place bleach or other similar chemicals in the kitchen. 

 Bedroom

  • Do not smoke in your bedroom. Your linen can easily catch fire, and you want to distance them from any source of fire or heat. 
  • Use mattresses with flame-resistant protection. 
  • If you’re sleeping in a lofted bed, make sure the loft is sturdy and can manage your weight. 
  • Your phone and flashlight should be reached easily in case of emergencies. You are also very vulnerable when you sleep, so ensure you have a weapon within reach, pepper spray, for example. 

Bathroom

  • All electrical appliances must have a safe distance from water. 
  • Adding non-slip floor mats or strips can help prevent slips and falls. 
  • Keep your bathroom clean and dry as much as possible. 
  • If you’re using a DIY composting toilet, make sure to manage your waste properly. 

Roof Deck

A functional tiny house roof deck is perfect for enjoying cold nights, but this zone can still put you at risk. 

Falls are one of the most common home accidents, and it can happen on roof decks. So make sure to perform safety procedures in your roof deck to prevent accidents from happening. 

  • Upon building your roof deck, use durable materials that can withstand harsh weather and wear and tear. 
  • Know how much loading capacity your roof deck can manage. 
  • Protect yourself, your kids, and your guests from falling from the deck by installing robust railings on your roof deck. 
  • The access to the roof deck must be easy and safe for both young and old. 

In the yard

Owners of tiny houses on permanent foundation enjoy the perks of having a yard they can garden in or walk their pets to. 

But accidents can still happen in the yard. Hence, you must take safety precautions in it. 

  • Install a sturdy fence surrounding your property. 
  • When working in the yard in bad weather, wear the right footwear that will prevent you from falling or slipping. 

Stairs

  • The steps must be dry and clean. 
  • Remove objects in the steps that can hurt; Lego bricks, for example. 
  • The stairs must be sturdy and well lit.

3. Living in a Tiny House with Children

tiny house children safety

Safety procedures must be exercised if there are kids in your tiny house. 

Kids love to explore their homes, but they really don’t give that much care about the potential dangers. As an adult, there are things you can do to keep the children safe from accidents. 

Choking

Suffocation and strangulation are two of the common accidents that happen to children. To prevent these from happening, you must:

  • Keep stuffed toys and piles of clothing out of cots;
  • Wrap blind cords in cleats installed to the wall
  • Inspect your kid’s toys. Avoid giving them toys that they might swallow.

Cuts

  • Don’t let your kids play with sharp objects. Knives and other similar tools and utensils must also be kept away from them. 
  • Ensure that your children play toys without sharp edges that may cut them. 

Poisoning

Prevent kids from eating or drinking harmful substances by following these safety procedures:

  • All medicines must be stored away from the children. Items that seem harmless can be extremely dangerous if consumed in large quantities by kids. And remember, just because your cabinet is placed up high doesn’t mean your children can’t get their hands on what is in them. 
  • Laundry and cleaning supplies must be out of sight and out of reach of children. 
  • Do not put cleaning materials in containers that were once used for food. This may lead the kids to get curious about what’s in the container is still ingestible. 
  • Bad food preparation can also cause food poisoning. Keep the kitchen clean and practice proper hygiene when preparing meals. 

Burns

Many household items can cause burns to kids. Here are some tips to avoid childhood burns:

  • Keep children away from hot beverages and spills. Do not cook, carry, or drink hot beverages or foods while carrying or holding a kid. Keep warm foods and drinks away from the table or counter edges. 
  • Don’t let the kids get near a fire source. If possible, do not let them come near your stove, space heater, or radiator. 
  • Keep hot devices out of sight and reach. Items like iron, water heater, and curling irons must be stored away. 
  • Cover unused electrical outlets with safety caps. 
  • Keep wires and electrical cord out of the way. 
  • Hide lighters and matches. And always warn your kids not to play with fire. 

4. Living in a Tiny House with Elders

Making your tiny house safety-proof is crucial, particularly if you live with older adults. 

You must have a list of emergency numbers by each phone. If you’re moving to places from time to time, make sure to get the emergency hotlines of your locality. You should also know the location of the nearest hospital in case of an emergency. 

  • If possible, let the elderly sleep in a lower bed instead of a lofted bed. It’s easier for them to access, and it reduces the risk of falling. 
  • Make sure to tape all rugs to the floor, so they don’t move when you walk on them. 
  • Always keep their medications within reach. 
  • Clear clutter and electric cords. 
  • Keep your tiny house — inside and outside — well lit.

5. Guard Your Tiny Home Against Fire

We need fire for cooking. While the fire is beneficial, it is also dangerous. Fires are a big concern in any house — big or small. However, because tiny houses have limited space, a small fire can quickly turn destructive.

It’s not unusual to make cooking mistakes when cooking. But you need to remember that these mistakes can lead to small-scale fires, and then to a disastrous fire. 

So, you must take precautions so you can keep your tiny home safe. 

The best way to prevent a fire is to make a plan. 

The good news is that there are now hundreds of tools you can use to help you detect potential causes of fire. 

Fire Detectors

Fire detectors come in different kinds. A fire detector identifies phenomena that may lead to a fire. 

tiny house fire alarm
Fire alarms can help you detect early signs of fire

Smoke Detector

Some states require that your home must have at least one smoke detector. 

A smoke detector alerts you if there is smoke present inside your house. The number of smoke detectors you must have depends on the size and number of levels of your tiny house. 

Modern smoke detectors can now notify you via your phone, so you’ll know if there is smoke in your tiny house even if you’re far away.

Propane Gas Detector

Propane has a lot of use in a tiny house. You can use it for cooking and heating. Though helpful, it can also be dangerous. 

Propane leaking may result in a destructive fire. 

Smoke detectors only sense smoke, but not propane gas. Also, your nose can’t always smell a gas leak, no matter how good it is. 

Fire Extinguisher

If there is a fire already, you need something to put the fire out before it gets worst. 

Having a fire extinguisher is common sense, but you’d be surprised to know that not everyone has it. Most people overlook the importance of having a fire extinguisher, which, obviously, is wrong. 

No law requires you to have one at home, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have one. 

The number of fire extinguishers you need depends on the size of your tiny home. If, for example, you have a two-story tiny house, then one for each level is advised. 

Exit Access

Detecting fire before it becomes destructive is important. And urgently putting off a small-scale fire is also vital. But when the fire becomes rather harmful, you must get out of the house immediately through your exit access. 

If you can extinguish the fire, do so thoroughly. But if not, you need to run to safety and call for help.

There should be no household items or clutter that block your way to your exit, so in case of a fire, you can easily escape.

Loft Window

Fires can happen anytime. And you’re most vulnerable when you’re asleep. So in case of fire during the night time, you must be able to escape from your tiny house through your loft window. 

6. Keep The First Aid Kit Handy

First aid kits are a must so you can quickly treat ailments and injuries that happen at home. A first aid kit can help reduce the severity of the wound or ailment. It can also reduce the risk of infection. 

7. Get Directions

You must know where the nearest hospital, fire department, and police station are, so you can quickly go to them in case of emergencies, and you can’t reach them out through your phone. 

If you’re constantly moving to places, you must get information about the place you want to go before traveling. 

8. Guard Your Tiny Home Against Intruders

Tiny house safety is not just about reducing risk and protecting your house from fire. It also involves protecting your household from intruders. 

  • Do not open the door to strangers. You must also teach this to your kids and even to your aging parents. 
  • Before heading to bed, make sure the windows and doors are locked. 
  • Keep your phone and lights within reach. 
  • You can install an intruder alarm that beeps when a culprit tries to enter your home. Some home alarms can notify you through your phone if someone tries to break into your house.

Related Questions

Why is home safety important?

By keeping your home safe from dangers and equipped with home safety products, you can prevent accidents such as falls. You can also prevent emergencies like fires. 

What are the most common home accidents?

The most common home accidents are falls, cuts, burns and fire, poisoning, and drowning. 

Do Tiny Houses Get Inspected

Do Tiny Houses Get Inspected

Tiny House Inspection
Tiny House Inspection

When you own and live in a tiny house, you also have to deal with a few dilemmas. For would-be tiny house owners, one of their questions before buying or building and moving to a tiny house has to do with getting inspected.

Is it true that tiny houses also get inspected? Yes, a tiny house also has to go through and pass inspection. However, unlike the inspection of traditional houses, the process of inspecting a tiny house is different. When your tiny house gets inspected, the following issues will be checked:

  • Insulation
  • Power
  • Safety
  • Power

If you are beginning to feel discouraged about owning and living in a tiny house, don’t let the inspection process put you off. What you must know are the different considerations that come with tiny house inspection. These issues will be determined by your type of tiny house as well as your chosen location.

The Tiny House Inspection Process

Tiny House Wind Turbine Inspection
Tiny House Wind Turbine Inspection

Every tiny house inspector will have a specific set of measures. But then again, the procedure is just the same most of the time. When your tiny house is up for inspection, here are a few things that you should be expecting:

  • Heating and Insulation System

In a smaller house, keeping the heat inside is easier. On the other hand, in conventional houses, the heat has to fill up more space. When your tiny house is getting inspected, you have to make sure that it is without any leaks. It would help if you know which type of insulation is in your tiny house. Another important thing to keep in mind is that there are several options when you get your tiny house insulated.

  1. Denim insulation
  2. Fiberglass insulation
  3. Open-cell insulation
  4. Organic cotton insulation
  5. Wool insulation

You must take note, however, that every type of insulation has its advantages and disadvantages.

  • Electricity and Water Supply
Power Outlet Voltage Testing
Power Outlet Voltage Testing

When inspecting your tiny house, inspectors consider its access to electricity and water, which makes tiny house pass most inspections.

As for your tiny house’s power source, you have a few options – electricity or solar energy. So you better know which of these choices work best for your tiny house. On the other hand, making sure that you have a safe water source is not as simple as ensuring your power supply because you will need two sources of water – one for running water and the other for hot water.

  • Security

The most important factor that tiny house inspectors look at is security. They have to make sure about the safety of your tiny house. The inspectors will first completely check the foundation where your tiny house is settled on. However, when your tiny house has wheels and is attached to a trailer, the process of inspection will not be exactly the same.

On the other hand, if your tiny house rests on a permanent and more secure place, its structural reliability has to follow building codes. When your tiny house has already passed this inspection process, it will be certified as a safe dwelling.

Different Tiny House Inspections

  • NOAH

NOAH only conducts tiny house inspections with InterNACHI Professional Certified Inspectors. It individually inspects tiny house on wheels. Inspections by NOAH are done during the construction of a tiny house.

  • PWA

Unlike NOAH, PWA does not conduct tiny house inspections by letting its staff visit the house during or after the construction. Instead, the tiny house owner is asked to fill out a form and to take pictures to verify their qualification for the certification. The homeowner will also have consultations with a PWA inspector via phone.

  • RVIA

The cost of an RVIA inspection is four times more expensive than that of NOAH and PWA. In addition, RVIA inspectors conduct casual inspections every 90 days when the manufacturer has already been approved. They only inspect four times each year. In the event of finding any issues in the tiny house, a disciplinary action will be taken. This disciplinary procedure will differ and be dependent on the gravity of the defect.

Your Tiny House could Pass the Inspection if…

  • Inspectors never came to look at your house

In some instances, an inspector will claim that they had visited the tiny house location but did not show up. Their reason is because they have a tight schedule. In almost every city, it is required that inspections be done within a specific time span. However, because the quantity of tiny houses to inspect is higher than the number of inspectors, there isn’t enough time for them to inspect each tiny house. As a result, inspectors give their approval even if they haven’t really seen and inspected some tiny houses.

  • Assessing your tiny house would cost too much

Sometimes, a tiny house gets approved because condemning it and taking the decision to court would be costly. In some cases where condemning a tiny house would cost as much as $30,000 because of all the requirements constraints required by law, the inspector approves it to save on costs. Not only would condemning a tiny house cost a lot of money, but it would also be time-consuming.

  • Inspectors could not find your tiny house
Lost Tiny-House Inspector
Lost Tiny-House Inspector

As its name suggests, a tiny house is, of course, tiny.  Because of that, there are times when inspectors find a hard time looking for one. There are even tiny houses that cannot be seen easily because of all the trees that surround it. Also, in some cases, a tiny house cannot be seen from the road. For these reasons, inspectors do not exert extra effort in looking for a tiny house anymore. As a result, they approve it right away, so that they could save time and energy as well as avoid hassles.

So what does this imply? It means that not all tiny houses that you see are legal because some get the approval of inspectors because of these shallow and petty reasons. They were approved merely because they could not be easily seen or because the inspectors chose not to condemn them. Sometimes, they were not willing to spend too much time to come and inspect a tiny house.

But then again, there are also instances when tiny house inspectors are pressured. That is why they do the opposite, which is to condemn the house right away.

Tiny House Inspection FAQs

  • Since tiny houses are on wheels, does that mean that codes, as well as zoning regulations, do not apply?

The notion that just because your tiny house is on wheels means it is excused from codes along with zoning regulations is not true. This wrong notion is only spread by some individuals who want to earn easy money by selling tiny houses. One of their ways to convince people interested in owning and living in a tiny house is to tell them that tiny houses are exempted from complying with zoning regulations and codes.

  • Because a tiny house is only a tiny dwelling, there would be no issue, such as code noncompliance, right?

This statement is another one of those myths with regard tiny houses. However, there is a little truth to this idea, especially when a legit mobile home maker constructs your tiny house. This is for the reason that you have to be a certified manufacturer before you would be asked to comply with the building code.