When people are looking to build a tiny house for themselves or buy a tiny house from an offiial company like Tiny House Cribs, they often ask about the laws that apply to this topic on their properties. This page is designed to get you factual information so you can make informed decisions.
Appendix Q: "Tiny House is a dwelling that is 400 square feet or less in floor area excluding lofts."
State and Local Building Departments are currently approving construction projects from the 2015 International Residential Code. The 2018 IRC will be ammended in the year 2020 and local juristictions will have the ability to ammend or deny Appendix Q: Tiny Houses.
Appendix Q clearly defines a Tiny House on a Permanent Foundation. This is a huge accomplishment for the Tiny House Industry and community!
(14) "Park model" means a recreational vehicle intended for permanent or semi-permanent installation and is used as a primary residence."
Because of this law, Tiny House Cribs and other builders are licensing our units as Park Models with the State of Washington. If the buyer wants to pursue legalizing their unit at the local level, they will have a good change to achieve their goal, as long as they meet at the guidelines that apply to this law.
(17) "Recreational vehicle" means a travel trailer, motor home, truck camper, or camping trailer that is primarily designed and used as temporary living quarters, is either self-propelled or mounted on or drawn by another vehicle, is transient, is not occupied as a primary residence, and is not immobilized or permanently affixed to a mobile home lot."
Conventional RV's are not allowd to live in full-time!
(7) "Dwelling" means any building or structure, though movable or temporary, or a portion thereof, which is used or ordinarily used by a person for lodging."
Tiny House Cribs urges goverment(s) to classify Tiny Homes on Foundations and Tiny Homes on Wheels as Dwellings.
Do not walk into your local government and mention the words: Tiny House.
Most counties and cities have had countless meetings on this topic and the fact is, most juristictions (politicians) have not made Tiny House Laws yet, therefore the employees working at the office will turn down your request. The goverment person sitting behind the desk will automatically think you are referring to a Tiny House on Wheels and that unit may have not been built to meet "Life Safety or Fire Prevention" Standards to keep you safe. Furthermore, they will reference the code that "RV's are not allowed as dwellings or full-time residences."
Don't mention the words: Tiny House to your local goverment when asking for permission! Let us Tiny House Leaders handle the politics with you, we know how to speak the language and share our insights as this topic is a daily routine to us.
Study the city / county code, whichever applies to your property. Google: King County Code, City of Seattle Code, Chelan County Code, City of Wenatchee Code and it will lead you to the current codes that are in effect today.
Go to "Zoning" and see if there is anything there on Tiny Houses or Park Models. You can also select the Search Bar and type in "Tiny House" Tiny Homes", "Park Models", "Cottage Housing", "Affordable Housing", "Accessory Dwelling Unit", "Dwelling". If you need help, give us a call!
Most property owners are fearful of their local Code Enforcement Officer(s) to write them a ticket for violating local codes; expecially when it comes to Tiny Houses on Wheels.
Code Enforcement Officers across America have verbally said that they don't go around the city trying to identify who is living full-time in a tiny home or conventional recreational vehicle. They are too busy with major violations or don't have the financial budget to engage in those searches often. (If you look around your area, I'm sure you will see many folks that have been living in their trailers for years and no one has told them anything... they are still there!)
They also understand that there is a housing crisis and people will find ways to have a means of housing, whether its a Tiny House or conventional RV... even inside a tent for those experiencing homlessness.
Code Enforcement Officers also have mentioned that they only usually enforce RV living laws when a community member or a group files a complaint. People either complain becuase they are concerned of the well being of those inside the RV or Tiny Home or they simply don't approve of people living in trailers because it's "inhumane."
As Tiny House Cribs and other Tiny House Leaders across the world work on fully legalizing Tiny Homes on Wheels. We like to say: if you need to live in a tiny house, do it anyways! If your government happens to give you a warning, move to the next location! (It's not that hard, it's on wheels!)
Note: if you decide to build yourself or hire someone to build you a Tiny House on a Permanent Foundation make sure you do it with the proper permits required. If you take out the proper permits, no one can tell you anything!
"Tiny House on Wheels (THOW): is a dwelling that does not exceed 400 square feet excluding lofts and is towable by a bumper hitch, frame-towing hitch, fifth-wheel connection. A Tiny House on Wheels complies with ANSI A119.5 Standards, follows the UPA-1 and is licensed with the State’s Department of Licensing or Department of Motor Vehicles. " -- Tiny House Cribs, LLC
We need goverment to clearly define a Tiny House on Wheels. We've taken the time to define it ourselves. Make this definition law!
On Feb 6, 2019 Washington State Legislators held a Public Hearing and announced three house bills that directly impact the Tiny House Community. Advocates and Leaders that reside in Washington stated their opinions on these bills. House Bills: SB 5382, 5383, 5384.