What Makes a Tiny House a Tiny House?
The definition of a tiny house is debatable. For some, anything under 1000 sq. ft is considered a tiny home. For others, that’s just a small home, while a tiny home would be under 600 or 400 sq. feet. Regardless of your definition, a tiny home is one that typically can fit on a trailer, turning it into a THOW or tiny house on wheels, with greatly minimized overall living space. However, many tiny homes are actually placed on permanent foundations, either as a primary dwelling, or an ADU (accessory dwelling unit).
Some tiny homes come with only one floor, while others have a 2nd floor or loft built in for sleeping and storage.
From rustic and simple to elegant and perhaps even opulent, tiny home designs come in all styles and shapes – about the only thing that stays the same is the “tiny” part!
What About Zoning and Building Permits for Tiny Houses?
Zoning and building codes can vary greatly from area to area, so it’s always best to check in with your local township or municipality. If you’re building your tiny house on wheels (a THOW), you may be able to get it registered as an RV and should research the DMV regulations ahead of time. In many areas, tiny homes on a foundation may be allowed as caregiver dwellings or simply backyard cottages – structures referred to as ADUs or accessory dwelling units.
If you’re building your tiny home as a main dwelling or an ADU, you will still need to follow building codes for your area. We’ll help out in any way we can when it comes to figuring out zoning and codes, but your best authority on the subject will still be your municipality.
To be clear, zoning covers where a house can be built (as well as how accessible it must be for utilities and services), while building codes cover how a house must be built.