March 27, 2019
Zoning Issues for Tiny Homes
The uptick in interest over tiny homes over the past decade has confounded and astounded some, but for some people—in a world where Marie Kondo’s advice to clean and de-clutter a home is taken as some sort of revelation—living simple and living small go hand-in-hand. It’s easy to imagine people being taken with the idea of building and inhabiting just such an edifice—after buying a nice little piece of land on which to do so. (Just imagine how large a yard might appear with a small home on it: even a small yard!) But things aren’t quite that simple, as tiny home-hopefuls often discover to their dismay. For there is one major barrier to doing as they imagine: zoning laws.
There are very few states that allow for tiny homes to be erected on otherwise pristine plots of land. Oh, to be sure, there are ways to get around it—such as building a tiny house on wheels, which technically makes it a recreational vehicle (RV) and exempts it from rules and regulations designed for the housing market except where permanent placement is concerned (though anyone going this route will find their structure subject to inspection by the DMV).
But if what the tiny home aficionado has in mind is a permanent structure, the rules set out by the International Residential Code (IRC), from which most local zoning rules have been adopted, require these small structures be instead accessory dwelling units—such as a mother-in-law house (or “granny pad,” as we discussed in an earlier post) or a shed—one that is accompanied by a larger edifice meeting zoning rules on the property.
That said, there are a very limited number of locales that have been growing more amenable to the tiny house phenomenon—among them two cities in our service areas: Rockledge, Florida and Nantucket, Massachusetts.
However large the home you’re looking to buy, we at Topouzis & Associates, P.C. are experts at ferreting out and disposing with problems that may occur with property title in advance of closing. We take pride in the great amount and quality of experience we bring to the closing table in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Florida. Contact us if you want a partner in your property closing—one who makes everyone involved feel like family.