Roadblocks to Ownership
Tiny houses are great! They offer financial freedom, mobility and more time to spend doing the things you love! So why isn’t everyone going tiny?
There are some hurdles to living in a tiny house that we would be remiss not to address. Unfortunately, even though there is overwhelming support and interest in tiny homes, it still isn’t easy to legally live in them full-time.
Zoning Regulations – Zoning determines the size requirements of your home based on what zone it is located in. You will need to contact your local zoning or planning department to find that information. Many municipalities have a minimum habitable structure definition, meaning you can’t live full-time in a dwelling that is under “x” amount of square feet, typically 1,000 or more.
Building Codes – Building, or construction codes, tell you how to build your house. The International Building Code (IRC)is where most of the country’s local building codes have been adopted from. These codes are typically for one- and two-family dwellings and contains size specifications for rooms (except bathrooms & kitchens). For example, rooms must be at least 70 square feet, while ceiling height must be 7 feet.
Social Pressures – Even with the popularity of tiny houses, many people are intimidated to tell family members and friends that they want to live in or build one. There is a social stigma against not “keeping up with the Jones’” and a bigger house = success to many people, so it can understandably be frightening to announce to everyone that you want to downsize. Also, there is a lot of research that needs to go into planning for your tiny home, which can be daunting to those that do not wish to talk to their government officials and spend time discerning local building and zoning codes.
Don’t worry though, it isn’t all doom & gloom. There is a lot of momentum behind the tiny house movement and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all. Check back next month for Part 2 – how to find your way around these roadblocks.