So Where Can I Live ?

Despite the growing interest and excitement around tiny houses these days, there continues to be the challenge of WHERE can I put one ? Zoning laws and building codes generally require a minimum square footage and 395 +/- usually does not fall within code.

So what's a future tiny home owner to do? 

Interior of The Sonoma, our newest Clayton park model home

Interior of The Sonoma, our newest Clayton park model home

he easiest tiny home road to take is to purchase unzoned land where there aren't restrictions on housing, but depending on where you live that unzoned property can be hard to find.

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To make this process a bit easier, our Clayton park model homes fall under the category of park model RVs with RV classification. Here's the difference.... 

There are two types of tiny homes: a tiny house on wheels, legally considered a recreational vehicle (RV), and a tiny house on foundation, legally considered an accessory dwelling. Purchasing an accessory dwelling has proven to be more complicated with zoning rules, and requires permits, plot plans, foundations, and inspections.

We, at Minima Homes, distribute Park Model RVs through our Clayton manufacturer which come certified with their ANSI 119.5 code.

Our models, park model RVS, are built on wheels and will need to be registered as an RV in customer's state. It will have a VIN number and a license plate. Of course the wheels come off once installed, and the home is typically skirted, so it will appear to be built on foundation. Most of the time, no one can tell it is a house on wheels! These are not the same as manufactured or mobile homes which also fall under a different zoning category. 

A landscaped and skirted rendering of the Sonoma model

A landscaped and skirted rendering of the Sonoma model

Cities and towns that have started to accommodate tinies usually have grassroots organizers who are petitioning government officials for changes in building codes.  On July 12, 2012 the RVIA (Recreational Vehicle Industry Association) created a new membership category for park model RVs. A park model RV is a trailer type RV designed to provide temporary accommodation for recreation, camping, or seasonal use. These park models are built on a single chassis, mounted on wheels, and have a gross heated/cooled living space not exceeding 400 square feet. They are certified by their manufacturers as complying with ANSI 119.5 standards. 

California is one of the best states to be a tiny home enthusiast! In the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Sacramento, and Sonoma, tiny houses on wheels are allowed as "caregiver dwellings" in the backyard of a person who needs assistance. In December 2017, we shipped an Alexander model to a home in Petaluma, California just for this purpose. 

The Alexander in its set up process 

The Alexander in its set up process 

There are a few towns in Colorado that have been open to tiny house amendments. Florida has paved the way with citizen-led initiatives to consider tiny home developments, and Florida is well known for its designated park model home communities. Texas has "unrestricted zoning ordinances" where there are no, or very loose zoning regulations, which you can find also in rural areas across the US.  AS you move to the east coast - this is where it seems to be getting very difficult and technical. Some states like Connecticut and Virginia, seem to either not know what a Park Model is, or are opposed to having Park Models in their state.

We tell our customers to start the process of purchasing a park model tiny home by:

1. Call your county building department and ask if you can place a PARK MODEL RV on your property. Make sure to not use the term "tiny home" as this may confuse with a tiny house accessory dwelling. The park model RV is a different classification. Find out if there are any variances for "caregiver units, etc". 

2. If your park model is going into an RV community, check with the community to make sure they will take park model homes as these won't be moved around in the same way that your typical RV is.

3. Consider petitioning your local agency to provide a variance for your park model RV. We are happy to provide you with floor plans, photos, and other information on what this product is. 

Installation of The Berry for a customer in Midland, Texas 

Installation of The Berry for a customer in Midland, Texas 

As the tiny home industry gains momentum, we foresee continued changes in policies for usage of these homes. Clayton is leading the way by producing top of the line luxury park model homes that are well built, structurally sound, and aesthetically pleasing. For more information and to view our models visit www.minimahomes.com.