One of the biggest challenges in going tiny is figuring out where to park your tiny house on wheels (TH0W) once you buy one. The reasons that this is such a vexing are multifarious and complex; and depending on where you live, they can seem insurmountable.
Statutes and Codes
Depending on where you’re planning on living, there can be a litany of statutes and codes that can apply to where you can and can’t park a tiny home. Some states like California and Oregon are taking steps to try to make it easier to go tiny, but your experience may vary by community.
When you look for an area to live, you have to do your homework. There are a few things that you should look out for:
- Minimum square footage requirements – In an effort to maintain property values, not to mention property taxes, many municipalities and counties have implemented minimum square footage requirements. This usually only applies to new construction, so one way around this is to build a tiny house on wheels (THoW). THoW aren’t considered to be permanent residence, so they are exempt from most minimum square footage requirements.
- Statutes against Full Time RVs – Some states prohibit living in a vehicle on wheels full-time except in designated areas like RV parks or trailer parks. Additionally, some cities and municipalities have more stringent statutes that prohibit parking mobile homes, RVs or tiny houses in a driveway or on a lot.
- Home Owner’s Association (HOA) Bylaws – Some neighborhood associations may also prohibit RVs or additional structures on a lot. When searching they often refer to these structures as Secondary Dwelling Units (SDU) or Alternative Dwelling Units (ADU).
So Where Can You Park Your Tiny House
- RV Parks – RV parks can be ideal. They are zoned to have structures on wheels. They also have conveniences such as water, electric and sewer hookups which can make life much more convenient. The downside of RV parks is they can be busy and loud during peak season and they can be more expensive than a lot of other options.
- An Empty Lot – You can purchase or lease a lot to park your tiny house. This option usually provides more privacy and solitude than an RV park. It can be expensive to purchase a lot and you may have to live off grid (also known as boondocking), which would require the use of solar power or a generator to run appliances. While this can require resourcefulness and creativity, it can be a great option.
- On a Residential Lot – Some folks are sympathetic to the tiny house movement and are willing to let you park your tiny house on their lot. To find such an opportunity you can advertise on sites like Craigslist. When you search zoning restrictions, look for the term ADU or Accessory Dwelling Unit)
- In a Tiny House Community – Tiny house communities are starting to pop up all over the country. They can be an ideal place to park your tiny house, if you can find one near where you wish to live. The great thing about these communities is they will have many of the resources you need to make tiny life easier (e.g. electric, gas and waste hookups).
- Mobile Home Parks or Lots – Many mobile home parks are grandfathered and do not have to comply with current zoning requirements. They can be a great place to park your tiny house since they are laid out for multiple, small unit dwellings. What these facilities lack in privacy they more than make in affordability and convenience.
As tiny houses grow in popularity, more options are beginning to open up for tiny house parking. For the time being, finding the perfect spot to keep your tiny house can be challenging, but don’t give up. Living the tiny lifestyle is worth the effort and sacrifices.
Have any creative ideas for tiny house parking? We’d love to hear from you!