Where Can You Put or Park A Tiny House?

The PropertyClub Team
Oct 27th 2020
One of the biggest challenges you'll face after purchasing a tiny house is figuring out where you can legally put your tiny home. Many towns and states have ordinances in place that will limit your ability to park there.

Tiny houses have taken the imagination of the world by storm, and it’s easy to see why. They are a movement that’s both rebellious and affordable. In a world where people constantly value upsizing, tiny houses are proof that you don’t need a big home to have a lavish lifestyle. 

There are instructions on how to build a tiny house throughout the net. Some circles even let you download tiny house plans for free—or just are open to helping you come up with a basic floorplan. While you can often find information on building your tiny home or where to buy kits, it’s often harder to figure out where you can legally put it.  

Where Can You Live In A Tiny House?

Believe it or not, tiny houses aren’t always considered to be legal abodes by the law. Or rather, many areas won’t allow them as part of the building code due to their spectacularly small size. If you have a tiny mobile home, you may also have a hard time legally parking your home somewhere. 

Generally speaking, you will need to find out the following before you try to live in a tiny house somewhere nearby:

  • County/Municipal Laws- There are plenty of counties that have actively banned tiny houses, citing a drop in home values as a result. Before you buy land, you need to see if your zoning board allows for them. If they do, you need to make sure you have all the amenities required for zoning. 
  • State Laws- Some states have been proactive in banning foundational tiny homes across the state. You might need to look into tiny home legality to see what’s going on.
  • Zoning Classification- What is your tiny house supposed to be? A mobile home? An RV? Different jurisdictions will treat it differently, which will impact your ability to park and use your home. 
  • RV Certification- If your house has wheels, it’s technically an RV. 
  • Utility Hookups- Assuming that your home is not meant to be free-standing, you’re going to need to know if your house will be compatible with the fixtures available for your home.

Where Can You Park Tiny Houses?

If your tiny house is of the mobile variety, then your question boils down to figuring out where you can park your home safely. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Many mobile home parks will treat mobile tiny homes as trailers. If you want to get your best shot at having a place to park your tiny home, then try to find a trailer park that is okay with tiny houses. If they are RVIA certified, you probably can make a case for moving there. 
  • If you have a primary residence, most towns will allow you to park your tiny home there. If your tiny home is classified as an RV, you should be alright with letting it stay on your lot. Check local municipalities first. 
  • Look into tiny house communities. There are active communities around Oregon, California, Texas, as well as Florida. 
  • Fans of camping can also take them to national parks and campgrounds. Since they’re RVs, you can’t really be barred from using them as “vacation homes” out in the wilderness. It’s what they’re made for. 
  • If you work on a farm, you also might be able to put your tiny home on your employer’s land. This would be doable as long as it’s dubbed an ADU (additional domestic unit) and if you get your employer’s go-ahead. 

Do You Have To Park Your House Permanently?

If you have to park a mobile home somewhere permanently, there are other issues you might have to take into account. More specifically, parks and parking lots are generally not going to allow you to park your tiny home for an extended period of time.

People looking for a permanent place to call home need to consider mobile home parks, their own home, or a lot designated for tiny home living. You can often get advice o the subject by reaching out to fellow tiny homers online. 

Do You Need To Get Special Certification?

How your tiny home is built will determine how the law treats it. Most places will need to get a Certificate of Occupancy as well as a green light to be legally designated a living space for a person. If you go for an RV-style tiny house, then you will need to 

Where Can You Keep A Non-Mobile Tiny Home?

Legally speaking, you will have a lot more of an issue with a stationary tiny home than you would if you had an “RV-style” tiny home. This is simply because many cities don’t want to have homes that are that small—and therefore ban them outright. 

If you are getting a tiny house that is not meant to be mobile, you will need to build it if it’s not already on the ground. This means that you will need to do the following for it to be a success:

  • Check with the local city hall to see their laws on tiny homes. Oh, and check with your homeowner’s association too. Some areas ban them, which means this will be a no-go. Others will be more amenable, while HOAs may quash the concept outright. 
  • Buy land that is in an area zoned for residential homes and welcomes tiny homes. This is the best and fastest way to make sure that your tiny home won’t become a zoning problem, by far. 
  • If you intend to have a tiny home as an addition on your lot, you will need to get the right zoning permits. This will require a trip to the local office and (potentially) the help of a lawyer. You might also need to get HOA approval before anything else could happen.  

Figuring Out Fees And Pricing

Parking or building a tiny house anywhere will most likely carry some fees—not including things like utility hookups and sourcing, either. It’s true. You may need to have certain fees or licenses just to transport the thing from place to place. 

To make it easier to figure out what licenses you need, we made a list. 

  • Home builders who want a stationary home will need construction permits, zoning permits, certificates of occupancy, plus the creation of the deed to the house. You might need a CO and a deed for mobile homes too.
  • If you intend to use it as a full-time living space, you may need to update documents with that information. For example, an address change, as well as an update to your tax documents, might be in order if you intend on moving there sooner rather than later. 
  • Mobile tiny homes will need to be certified as an RV and be deemed safe for use in their state of origin. If you intend to park your mobile unit at a camping site or RV park, you may also need to make sure that your home lives up to those standards. 
  • You might also need a special license to cart your tiny home around. The exact permits and certifications can vary from state to state. To find out what you need, check out the towing regulations, and RV driving regulations in your state. 
  • If you use this as an actual live-in house, you may also need to get an appraisal done. This may prove useful come tax time, but the bigger issue here is that you will be able to know how much it’s worth. It’s about building equity.

Will Financing Your Tiny Home Limit Where You Can Place It? 

If you have to finance your tiny home (a growing trend, by the way), you might be worried about what banks would tell you to do. The good news is that banks are generally reasonably lenient when it comes to tiny home financing rules. 

Why you ask? It’s simple. If you have a very small stationary tiny home, banks will just see it as a regular house. It’s just a really small one.

Learn More About Where To Park Your Tiny House

It’s all too common to hear people who are just on the verge of learning how to build their own tiny home stop and decide it’s too much once they realize that finding a place for their home can prove challenging. While there may be extra steps in the process, you shouldn’t get intimidated by the procedure. 

The fact is that most tiny home owners will tell you that the struggle really isn’t all that bad. Sure, you might have to fill out extra paperwork, but getting any type of housing is going to be a unique journey. 

If you need help finding a place to call home or aren’t sure if the tiny home movement is right for you, then give a professional a call. They’ll be able to help.