The tiny home concept has embedded deep in the conscious of the society. It was due to the small house movement swept across America and various campaign by eminent personalities which was instrumental in making people realize the benefit of a tiny house; personally, socially and environmentally. However, like any other concept, many of us are not aware of the legality and legal formalities required to complete before planning to live in a tiny house and what are the legal formalities required to complete.
The law considers tiny houses as obscure homes build anywhere, sometimes on wheels with little paperwork and almost zero legalities. The primary requirement starts with where can we build tiny houses? The local town authorities, count, US zoning rules, building codes and regulation to determine for permitting a tiny house construction. You will have a lot of matters to consider during planning, zoning, and construction, like;
- Check the land for its Homeowners Association.
- Look for Homeowners Association agreements, covenants, and codes.
- The minimum allowable area for tiny house foundations
- The area provisions for a backyard or a lawn in tiny houses.
- Local restrictions on land where you have thought of building a foundation.
According to the International Code Council, the official area for a house to be tiny is less than equal to 400 square feet which excludes lofts. Depending on the type (stationary/on wheels) the rest of the factors will remain. Stationary houses need an actual foundation similar to residential houses. Some zones like the Los Angeles, Seattle, and Portland allow tiny dwellings in pre-build residential homes as a fascination for solitude away from the hue and cry of the busy town life. Some of the options you can choose here.
Some zones like Sarasota County, FL, and Philadelphia has a more friendly approach to tiny houses with ‘no size’ condition as long as you can mee the regulations in building codes. So make sure you contact the local authorities through the legal planning department or the regulations set by American Tiny House Association before getting started.
Meeting the standard building codes includes;
Plumbing: It must have a proper sanitation and bathroom facility.
Staircase: Tiny homes can have optional staircase and ladders to access the loft.
Ceiling height: Ceiling should have a height of 6 feet 8 inches with kitchen and bathroom ceiling height at 6 feet 4 inches.
Windows: Windows are not mandatory. There should be provision for emergency exits.
General facility: The house should have a proper hygienic facility for eating, sleeping, staying and living a normal life.
Tiny houses on the wheels are Recreational Vehicles (RV). These homes enjoy more flexibility as they come under the RV building code which does not have stringent restrictions but have rules that are entirely different and offbeat. The cons being that it is difficult getting a residential status later when you would prefer to settle down. Some local authorities prohibit perpetual settlement in RVs. Overall taking up RVs can be cumbersome because later you may end up owning an illegal house with hefty paperwork to handle later on.
Violation of any of the building codes and laws may end in getting you sued or even convicted. You need to be aware of all local town statutory authorities and the existing rules with full precision for obtaining the required permits and papers before you start constructing a tiny house.