Written by Isabelle Nagel-Brice of A Tiny Good Thing
Currently the laws and legal restrictions of living full-time in a tiny house are preventing some from taking the plunge into the tiny house movement. However, that hasn’t slowed many in the pursuit of living simply without the financial burden of a large mortgage, and the ability to move from place to place comfortably.
Since the tiny home movement really took off around 6 years ago, many tiny house dwellers have found ways to live happily and fully in legal and illegal parking spots. Depending on the part of the country and whether you want to live in a rural setting or a city, the challenges in finding a place to live can be different, although the ways to go about looking for a spot are similar across the country.
It’s important to become educated and check with your local municipality where you would like to live in your tiny house before buying or building. Some may allow your tiny house as long as it’s a certain size, or put on a legal foundation and hooked to the grid, which could change your build or course of action. The zoning and bylaws in your area may have variances that would allow you to live legally, however many do not at this time for full time tiny house living.
The laws are beginning to change and become more tiny house friendly, but it takes each and every one as pioneers to reach out to instigate positive change where we want to live. If we all become locally active then our voices will add up and more legal places to live tiny will become available. Check out The American Tiny House Association for chapters in your area and ways to get involved.
How do I go about finding a place to live if I don’t own land?
RV parks or mobile home parks will often allow tiny houses for long term stays, and these can be the most legal parking options in some areas. RV parks may only allow your home if it’s RVIA certified or certified by a national certification company like NOAH. They want to know that the build was done to certain standards and that it won’t be a liability in their park. Also, some mobile home parks only allow people over the age of 55 and may not allow certain pets as well.
Networking and word of mouth can often be successful for finding a spot especially when in an area where living tiny full time is illegal. Also, local tiny house enthusiast meetup groups are a great place to start. The best spots to find are ones where neighbors are fine with you parking there or in areas where your home won’t be seen from the road or by neighbors who may report you. Unfortunately, this often rules out cities and higher density areas.
Online tiny house forums and facebook groups are great ways to find spots. Check out Tiny House Hosting with almost 14k members, which is a national forum. Or, look up local forums on facebook in your area.
Craigslist wanted ads have been very helpful for many tiny house enthusiasts, and it’s also smart to respond to rental ads that have large backyards. You never know if a landlord may want to make a bit extra each month by merely having a tiny home in their yard, and it never hurts to ask.
It’s very exciting that tiny house communities are now popping up all over the country. Some were old RV or mobile home parks that have been converted for tiny homes, and in other areas communities have successfully been created by changing the local zoning to allow this type of development.
Here are some online resources to find places to live tiny.
Good luck in your pursuit of tiny living and if this is really how you want to live, then please get out there and join us as we change the laws to create more options for alternative and affordable housing across the country.