Where can I park my Tiny House?
The Tiny House Movement is picking up steam every day. Those of us that understand the entire concept sure know why.
Everything has its place, and you can't just park a Tiny Home wherever you want to.
Just like anything else, you must begin to educate yourself about what you can and can't do. Local zoning laws are what governs this subject. I wish I could tell exactly what to do, but the zoning laws are different all over the nation.
Start by getting specific. Using your property address, you will need to check with your local zoning department to see if you can park a Tiny House on a specific lot or piece of land. Several particulars come into play. Here is a partial list of issues that may affect your permissions:
- You may have to keep your Tiny Home on its wheels and axles.
- You may have to remove the wheels and axles and set it up on blocks like a mobile home.
- You may have to skirt the bottom open area.
- You will need a water hook up.
- You will need a sewer hook up or a septic tank.
- You can consider off grid living, that is an entire way of life and can cost $10,000 or more.
Generally, you will not be able to live in city limits, but that is not always true. Many organized Tiny Home parks are being built all over America.
Outside urban areas, most acreage style land will be more flexible with zoning, and in many places there may be no restrictions at all against Tiny Homes. Me being a country boy at heart, that is my choice.
I believe the independent spirt that goes along with tiny living fits great with a little extra space to breathe.
So when thinking of tiny living, be sure to set yourself up with the right location to park. Any planning you do in this regard will pay off HUGE. Besides, owning a piece of land sure feels good.
Here are some solid suggestions:
Own your own land.
This has always been my first choice. I spent 10 years living full time in RV’s. That was our version of Tiny living. I bought a very small piece of land in a place called Weeki Wachee, Florida. That was my landing spot that I always circled back around to especially during the winter months. The land was in an RV park they not only rented RV spots with full hook ups, you could also buy a lot in there and own it. We had dues to pay, but they were small. It had a pool and a clubhouse with common areas. It even had a lake in the back. Good times. A spot like that can cost you around $30,000 or more, but the land holds it’s value well if you buy it right. This can work well for a Tiny Home. Especially if you want to move often. I know some people that have 2 parking spots. One in the North, and one in the South. That is a nice luxury if you can do it.
Another way to buy a piece of land for a Tiny is to look at acreage. You may be thinking, I don’t want to pay for a large piece of land. It’s not always that way. Let me explain. Look for land that is just far enough out of town where land is no longer sold in ‘lots.’ Lots are usually in cities or small neighborhoods. Neither of which is likely to be favorable to a Tiny Home. Most people look at a Tiny Home as a mobile home when it comes to zoning, so look around, do you see any mobile homes in the area that you want to buy a piece of land for a Tiny Home? If the answer is yes, then it is more likely that you have found the proper zoning for your Tiny lifestyle.
Many times you can buy an acre or two for about the same price as a small lot in other places.
You will drive a little further into town, but that is a small compromise.
If you go out in the country a little bit, you will be able to grow a vegetable garden if you want to, and maybe even have a horse if that suits you.
There are as many different lifestyles out there as you can imagine. Just imagine what suits you!
Before you buy, check on the planning and zoning department of the county seat to be sure you can use the land for a Tiny Home. You will need water by way of a well, (unless by a chance there is city water, unlikely), and you will need a septic tank. Both of those items are the same thing you need for a home or mobile home. No different.
Many times you can check with a local realtor to find an old mobile home site where either the mobile home has been taken away, or there is a dilapidated mobile home that you can have hauled off for scrap. Then you usually will have a well and septic already there. Jackpot! Caution: be sure to find out what the county requires to be able to start the well and septic up again. Testing is usually required to be sure it is safe. If you want to be sure , you can put on a contract to buy the land contingent on those items being useful. If after testing, you find they are not useful, then you can make a lower offer on the land because you would have more expenses. Even if you buy a virgin piece of land, be sure to make it contingent on passing a perk test for the septic drain field. If the land won’t pass a perk test, the price of the land may be real sweet. You don’t want it.
Rent a permanent landing
There are RV parks and communities that have land tor rent that you can pay by the month with yearly contracts. That is a great way to park a Tiny Home if you are not sure where you want to land, or you just want the simplicity of renting a landing spot. Expect to pay up to $400 or more for that option. Look for RV parks that have ‘Park Models’ in them as they may more likely be open to Tiny Homes.
Rent to stay in an RV park
When I was on the road, we would rent a spot in an RV park by the month. It is much cheaper that paying by the night, but not all RV parks have a monthly rate. Go online to find those that do. Many times they say they won’t rent by the month, but when the park is half empty, they will do it. Move once a month, planning your moves by searching the internet. It’s fun. Here is a link to find an RV park.
Live on family land
Do you know of someone that has a large piece of land? Multiple acres? Maybe a family member? Check with them to see if they will sell a piece, or rent a spot. If you rent, get a contract by the year or longer as you need. You may have to invest in the property depending on what is already there for water and sewer.
Set up as an ADU (accessory dwelling unit)
This is a cool way to put a Tiny House in town and urban areas. Check with planning and zoning. If they have an ADU provision in the laws, you can have a Tiny behind someone’s house. Usually the owner must live in the main house, but the homeowner can generate some extra income from renting a spot to you. Put an ad up online to find someone open to an ADU on their lot.
Some homeowners are buying a Tiny House to put in the back yard to use as a rental property. That won’t help you if you have your own Tiny House already, but it is interesting to see how Tiny Living is popping up all over. In Hawaii, homeowners are putting a Tiny in the back yard for them to live in while they rent out the big house to vacationers.
There is a place for everything, including a Tiny House.
And, it’s getting better all the time as people understand them better. Do some digging. All of these methods are hard work, but the payoff is huge. Good hunting!
The following is a list of resources to help you:
Tiny House Community
Tiny House Parking
Tiny Home Builders
The Tiny House Forums
Pad Tiny Houses
The Tiny Life