The tiny home trend has taken off all over the globe. With housing markets skyrocketing, city centers becoming overcrowded and more and more people looking for a simpler lifestyle, it’s no wonder that tiny homes are so popular.
This minimalistic trend is helping people from all income and age brackets live a comfortable and affordable life. From retirees to young couples just starting out, tiny homes are allowing many people to own a home without going into impossibly large debt.
As with any trend, local government bodies can be slow to react. You may dream of buying a piece of land and building your tiny home wherever you like, but it may not be that simple. Many areas have not adopted legislation that covers tiny homes. Before you buy or build you should know exactly what the real estate laws and regulations are in your area.
Tiny Home Definition
According to federal standards, a tiny home measures less than 400 sq. ft including any loft space. Your tiny home can be a stationary structure or a moveable unit on a chassis with wheels. The stationary models are subject to all of the same building regulations as any other dwelling so it’s important to do your homework before you build.
Living in a space that is under 400 sq. ft may seem like it would be crowded and uncomfortable but thanks to innovative design and space saving technology, most tiny home dwellers claim that they have more than enough room to live.
Moveable Vs. Stationary
A moveable tiny home is mounted on a steel frame chassis with axles and wheels. This will allow you to move your home whenever and wherever you like. A moveable tiny home will fall under all of the same governing regulations as a recreational vehicle or trailer. In many places across the country it is easier to settle in a moveable unit on another piece of property without having to conform to building codes. With your moveable unit you can travel wherever you like.
If you are planning to stay in one place in your tiny home, you will be required to adhere to all of the same building regulations and zoning laws as any other dwelling. One issue that you may come across is that in many places, a “dwelling” is not considered to be livable and up to building codes if it is less than 800 sq. ft.
In Canada, it is currently illegal to build or dwell in a tiny home inside any city limits. This has prompted a trend of tiny home communities to pop up in outlying and rural areas where regulations are more relaxed. In some cases, you may be permitted to park your moveable tiny home on someone else’s property as it will fall under the bylaws covering recreational vehicles. Bylaws are slowly beginning to incorporate zoning for tiny homes, but it’s important to check the rules for your specific location before you decide to build.