Tiny House

Inside the Law: Tiny Houses, Big Legal Issues

July 16, 2018 - 3:30 am

By Amy E. Feldman, Judge Technology Solutions​

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Before you jump on that tiny house movement you’ve seen on HGTV, consider the law. 

The Oregon branch of the national Tiny House Association, not to be confused with the American Tiny House Association or the United Tiny House Association, descended on the state legislature this month to protect regulations that harm tiny house builders.  

Shows like Tiny House Nation, Tiny House Hunters, and many others highlight the benefits of limiting materialism and living in a tiny house. But before you think about buying one, figure out where you’ll put it. 

The biggest problem with tiny houses is most township zoning ordinances specify minimum square footage for new construction on a foundation and if it’s on wheels, you may violate zoning rules against camping, even if you’re parking it on your property. 

The beef in Oregon was centered on the state’s new regulations on whether tiny houses should be considered RVs. If you build, you may find it’s no less expensive than a regular home when you factor in the cost of custom made tiny appliances, wood stove, composting toilet (that’s right—no water hookup) and so on. 

Research local zoning codes and true costs before pouring huge money into a tiny hole.