With local home prices out of reach, and no apartments available within a normal commuting distance, many of the teachers in Vail, Arizona were forced to live in Tucson, and drive 25 miles one way, to get to work. So the school district set out to create a community of tiny houses, on five acres of district-owned land, located near the town center. The homes will be available both to rent or to own, and the mortgage on a customized tiny home with a 30-year fixed rate loan, will be about $700 a month.
Because you have to be an employee of the district to live in the tiny home community, if you decide to leave the district—or if you are asked to leave—you also would have to leave your home. Although Carruth says that teachers will have the option to take their tiny homes with them if they move on, moving these structures, particularly if installed on a foundation, can be a costly endeavor. Tiny homes typically don’t retain value like traditional homes do, in large part because they aren’t attached to land ownership.
A group on Facebook is in the planning stages for a tiny house pocket community in the City of Rockledge, Florida, where it will be possible to own your own lot, and build a tiny house on a foundation, or in some cases place a tiny house on wheels. The houses will range from 170 to 700 square feet, and the community will feature “a common greenspace to encourage interaction.”
Pocket neighborhoods are clustered groups of neighboring houses or apartments gathered around a shared open space — a garden courtyard, a pedestrian street, a series of joined backyards, or a reclaimed alley — all of which have a clear sense of territory and shared stewardship. They can be in urban, suburban or rural areas. —pocket-neighborhoods.net
And from the Rockledge Tiny House Community Facebook Group… “The site plan that has been submitted to the City of Rockledge for approval has 12 tiny foundation house lots and 3 THOW lots. Only 25% of the houses can be THOWS per the ordinance.”
On June 19, 2018, the City Council in San Jose, California, approved changes to ADU regulations that make it easer to build an ADU within the city. ADUs, or accessory dwelling units, are defined by the city as “small living units, including a kitchen and bathroom, on a property that has a single-family home.”
The city claims the the new policy will lead to multiple benefits, including increasing the amount of affordable housing in the community, providing homeowners with an income opportunity, encouraging public transportation, and providing a way for extended families or families with members who are disabled, to live closer together.
Some of the changes to the existing regulations include changing the minimum lot size necessary from 5,445 sf to 3000 sf, allowing an ADU in a second story, and allowing two bedrooms rather than just studio or one bedroom units.
The City Council in San Jose, California, is expected to vote on a pilot program that would bring a tiny house village to the area. Intended to provide temporary housing for homeless people, the 40 planned tiny houses would be classified as sleeping cabins, and bathrooms and other living space would be shared. Each house is expected to cost between $18,000 to $20,000.
The proposal has “sparked a wave of criticism from residents who don’t want the homes in their neighborhoods and say they are worried about everything from safety to property values.” They’ve staged several protests and collected 2,000 signatures from people who are against the idea of using tiny houses as temporary housing.
Two possibly locations for the houses are currently undergoing an environmental review, and if the proposal is approved by the City Council, the tiny houses should be in place by the end of the year.
A “home-made, specially constructed, or kit vehicle” is a vehicle that is built for private use, not for resale, and is not constructed by a licensed manufacturer or remanufacturer. These vehicles may be built from a kit, new or used parts, a combination of new and used parts, or a vehicle reported for dismantling (junked) that, when reconstructed, does not resemble the original make of the vehicle that was dismantled.”
A vehicle verification done by the California Highway Patrol (CHP). You must start your application process with the DMV prior to contacting the CHP for a vehicle verification. DMV verifies trailers with an unladen weight of 6,000 pounds or less.
Proof of ownership, such as invoices, receipts, manufacturers’ certificates of origin, bills of sale, or junk receipts for the major component parts (engine, frame, transmission, and body).
NOTE: A motor vehicle bond is required when proof of ownership cannot be obtained for parts valued a $5,000 or more.
Official brake and light adjustment certificates. When an official brake and light station that inspects specific vehicles such as motorcycles and large commercial vehicles is not located within a reasonable distance, DMV will accept a Statement of Facts (REG 256) from a repair shop attesting that the brakes and lights are in proper working order. Brake and light certificates are not required for off-highway vehicles or trailers weighing less than 3,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.
A weight certificate for commercial vehicles weighing 10,000 pounds or less.
On February 4th, 2016 the state of California released a document meant to “clarify the legality of use, design and construction approval of any residential structure that may be commonly referred to as a tiny home.”
The Information Bulletin doesn’t change any existing law, but instead simply clarifies the existing law, making it easier for those interested in a tiny house in the state of California to know what is legal to occupy.
The document describes when a tiny home fits into one of four definitions–which are all legal to occupy. The basic classifications are recreational vehicles (including park trailers), manufactured homes, factory-built housing, or a site-constructed California Building Standards Code dwelling.
A tiny home sold, rented, leased or occupied within California may be legal if used on an approved location, complies with all applicable laws, and is either:
• Built on a chassis with axles; contains 400 square feet or less of gross floor area (excluding loft area space); is considered an RV, CC or PT; is not under HCD’s jurisdiction for the design and construction of the unit; and its construction and occupancy is enforced by local enforcement agencies with appropriate jurisdiction; or
• Not constructed on a chassis with axles; is placed on a foundation or otherwise permanently affixed to real property; and complies with CBSC or FBH standards; and may be enforced by local enforcement agencies having appropriate jurisdiction.
In July of 2015, the city counsel of Walsenburg, Colorado approved an ordinance changing the zoning of a parcel of land purchased by Sprout Tiny Homes, allowing a proposed 28 unit tiny home development. Waldenburg is located about 90 miles south of Colorado Springs.
The parcel of land is located behind the Walsenburg library.
Sprout Tiny Homes manufactures tiny homes on wheels up to 290 sq. ft. and homes that are secured to traditional foundations with up to 760 sq ft of living space, and are located in La Junta, Colorado.
Every state is different, and the rules can vary widely, but one tiny house owner in North Carolina describes the process necessary to legally place a tiny house on wheels on his own property.
The process for what was called “the custom modular” sounds fairly simple: hire a structural engineer to certify that the house was structurally sound; put the trailer on piers and strap it down, much like would be done with a mobilehome; then apply for a building permit.
The Berzins Family had their biggest tiny house fear almost come true in 2013. They were found to be in violation of the Universal Statewide Building Code in Virginia because they didn’t get a building permit prior to building their 168 sq. ft. tiny house.
As Hari Berzins writes…
The code in Virginia puts any dwelling into the jurisdiction of the local building inspector. So even though we built on wheels (constructing mostly in Florida) and have a license plate, we still needed to have a building permit and inspections.
Their story has a happy ending–the inspection process was painless and they got their Certificate of Occupancy. But if you’re living or building a tiny house on wheels in Virginia, it might be smart to read their story…