Tiny House Eviction

Tiny House Welcome To Colorado - 0001

We finally arrived in Colorado, our winter home, only to be asked to leave.

In the past year, Guillaume (my partner) and I have traveled all over the United States and Canada with our tiny home. We have never been turned away from a campground. We’ve parked on private land: residential driveways, small business parking lots, etc. We’ve always had permission and finding a parking spot for our tiny home has never been a problem. In fact, I would say we’ve been welcomed with open arms…. that is, until now.

Sure, I’ve heard the horror stories. A tiny home owner purchases a plot of land, parks their handcrafted cabin-on-wheels onto said property, only to be served the worst housewarming gift of all time: an official notice stating you cannot live in your tiny dream home. These “tiny house evictions” are usually the result of a neighbor complaint made to the local zoning committee, and I naively thought our home was immune. After all, thousands of neighbors have seen our house parked in driveways across the country.

Tiny House Giant Journey Black Lake Vail Pass Colorado

But, our luck finally ran out.

Let me back up for a moment. After traveling for an entire year, Guillaume and I decided to take a break. We chose to winter in Denver for a few reasons: 1). Proximity to ski resorts, 2). Friends in the area, and 3). Central location between my family in Illinois and his family in Los Angeles. We were lucky enough to secure a gated backyard parking spot in Commerce City, Colorado. It was all arranged and we were excited to stay with our gracious hosts: tiny house enthusiasts, Cal and April.

Commerce City THGJ - 0001
Cal & April’s Property – A double sized lot with fencing.

As we maneuvered into the backyard, a few neighbors came out to ask questions about our tiny house.

Commerce City THGJ - 0002
Our hopeful parking spot. We were going to cover the chainlink fence (on right side) for privacy.

Business as usual. We answered their questions and offered to give tours. The neighborhood seemed delighted and welcomed us. Once parked, we assessed our winter home. The fence that lined Cal and April’s yard was three quarters wood and one quarter chainlink. Our house was clearly visible from the street, so we discussed a plan to create more privacy.

But the following morning Cal received a notice from Commerce City Neighborhood Services.

 

Commerce City Zoning Courtesy Notice - 0001The notice stated that the property owner had 7 days to remove the “unlawful structure” from his property. Photos of our tiny house through the chainlink fence made it obvious that they knew the structure was on wheels. Guillaume decided to call the inspector to see if there was something we could do.

Commerce City Zoning Courtesy Notice - 0002
Photos taken by the Inspector through the fence

The inspector was courteous but uncompromising.

He said that RVs and Tiny Homes are allowed to be parked on a property for storage, but not for recreating (in other words you cannot sleep in them). It seemed to us that many people were “recreating” in RVs in the neighborhood, but none of them were as eye-catching as our tiny home. We were honest with the inspector, stating that we did intend on sleeping in our tiny home. He said he could extend the notice for another few weeks, but after that, the property owner would be fined.

Ultimately there was nothing we could do, except leave. Our options were to either park in a nearby RV park, trailer park, or move somewhere else completely.

Tiny House Eviction Unlawful Structure

Why were we served a notice?

The inspector from Commerce City Neighborhood Services told us that there had been a neighbor complaint. So that is why the city was on our butt only 18 hours after we parked in Cal and April’s backyard. 

I also believe that the recent Tiny House Jamboree, held in Colorado Springs with over 40,000 attendees, highlighted tiny homes in the state Colorado (and possibly everywhere). The zoning inspector mentioned his team had JUST held a meeting about the “issue of tiny homes,” and decided on a “no tolerance policy for backyard parking.”

Don’t get me wrong, I think public awareness for the tiny house movement is a great thing. I fully support the Tiny House Jamboree, Tiny House Conference, Tiny House Workshops and Tiny House TV Shows. I believe the more publicity for the moment, the quicker it will become accepted and certain laws will have to change.

The other side of the recent popularity is that certain zoning committees and campgrounds have become wary…

Black Lake Colorado
Driving through the Colorado Rockies

Because, not two days later, it happened again!

After our backyard tiny house eviction from Commerce City (yes, I’m calling it an eviction), we decided to move our tiny house out of the city and closer to the mountains. We pulled into Tiger Run RV Resort in Summit County, Colorado, hoping to stay for a few nights. As we were checking in with the campground receptionist, this happened – 

“We JUST had a meeting about Tiny Homes,” the resort employee explained.”I love them. I want to build one. But the resort won’t allow you to stay here.”

I was gobsmacked, and frankly, a little embarrassed. It was the first time we had ever been turned away from a campground. I gazed down a row of million dollar RVs that were allowed to park at the resort, and thought to myself: This must be what Julia Roberts felt like when she tried to shop in “Pretty Woman.” 

For the first time ever, I truly felt homeless.

In our frustration, we almost left Colorado. It was ironic that the one place we wanted to be, was also the one place we felt shunned. I’m sorry if this article sounds like bad tiny house publicity for the state. There are plenty of tiny home owners living happily ever after in Colorado. And since these incidents, our tiny house has successfully secured seasonal parking in the state (but I won’t disclose our location).

We love it here in Colorado, and we’re not dismayed. In fact, Guillaume and I are proud to be a part of this chapter in the movement.

Tiny House Lowry Campground Sunset Colorado - 0001
Sunset at Lowry Campground, Summit County. We stayed here a few nights before finding seasonal parking.

Tiny House Parking Resources

Here’s the deal: People want to live tiny because it’s affordable, eco-friendly and promotes minimalism. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to do so in this country because building codes usually require a minimum square footage. This is why tiny homes are built on wheels, but it also means they fall under RV regulations. If it is not legal to park a RV (and sleep in it overnight) in your location, it is most likely not legal to do so in a tiny home. 

More on zoning and tiny home parking:

  • Zoning codes differ in every county and every RV park has their own set of rules.
  • Some RV parks only allow RVIA certified tiny homes (tiny homes built completely by a RVIA manufacturer).
  • Short term parking is a lot easier to secure than long term parking. 
  • If you’re planning on parking your Tiny House on a piece or land or in someone’s backyard, there are places where this is legal, but you should check your local zoning codes.
  • There are exemptions for parking on your own land. For example, if you move or travel with your tiny home it is not consider “permanent.” This might mean moving 15 feet every 15 days. You’ll need to confirm this with local zoning.
  • Tiny house communities are springing up all over the country. This is becoming a real option for tiny house parking.
  • Check out this very helpful website, which outlines tiny house parking options, including: cities that allow or have variances for tiny homes, tiny house communities and RV parks that allow tiny homes.

94 thoughts on “Tiny House Eviction”

  1. The slave owners don’t want their slaves to be free, They do everything they can to stop you being free, keep fighting, it’s our birth right to live free life on this prison planet.

    1. Angela, just remember you are free to leave this prison planet. Hop aboard the next space flight to Mars, or Jupiter… heck Pluto even. Yeah stuff ’em, Pluto is still a planet.

      Otherwise, try using various parts of the US Constitution to fight back. I am reliably informed that there are certain articles there that could be used to “fight the man.”

  2. I really think that is wrong. what does it matter if you have a huge house or a small one as long as you have shelter and can eat and drink what is the problem. and as for the person who is worried about prpoerty vallues, well this is the next big thing. just as having a mansion with all the high end materialistic items having a small house means you live for LIFE not something that can be stolen or sold for money!!!!!!! good luck to you in finding your spot to park and live. we are in the saame process of find a place to put our home too

  3. I live in Denver and we have the same laws here. I sympathize with you guys, but frankly if someone living the ‘gypsy’ lifestyle (more power to you) were to setup camp in my neighbors backyard, (zoned single family, residential) I would probably file a complaint. It’s not that the people of Colorado are mean… no more so than any other state… We actually have a reputation that is quite the opposite. All of the Colorado bashing is a little out of line (especially in the comments section) and like everywhere, your experience will vary drastically from neighborhood to neighborhood. Commerce City was once the industrial waste land of the metro area. They are trying to clean up their act, but have a long way to go. The fewer people that move here, the better from my perspective, so attack Colorado at will from my perspective. It serves my agenda well.

    I have a 500K house in a neighborhood with zoning laws that are there to protect the value of our neighborhood. I can’t park my brand new RV in my backyard and live in it either. I’m not saying that this restriction is cool and it’s costing me a small fortune to store it off site… but it is what it is. First mistake was thinking you could park anywhere you would like, without checking the laws first. I get away with zoning violations all the time because my neighbors like me, and I give them free eggs from my chickens and my property is kept up. The property you were staying on, it doesn’t sound like you really understood the dynamics involved in that spot, the laws, or the relationship the land owners had with the neighbors. It sounds like they weren’t on the best of terms with at least one of them…. and you paid the price for that. Don’t blame the state for those failures please… (mostly directed at the comments section here).

    My next door neighbor on the other hand has a weed infested property with garbage on and around it. Her little rat dogs bark constantly. She is a mean woman that alienates everyone that meets her. The second that neighbor lets someone squat on her property, I’m calling it in because *my life* is being impacted by her actions every day and that would just be the last straw for me.

    What seems perfectly innocent to you (or to others) is offensive enough to the people that have paid hundreds of thousands to legally live here to justify our zoning laws. These are single family lots. I love the tiny house movement, but you have to find a suitable place to park. Gypsies aren’t welcome in a lot of the US, it isn’t a Colorado problem it’s an uninformed tiny house owner problem.

    1. Mark, the first paragraph of the blog you commented on says that the author has traveled all across the US and Canada and NEVER been kicked out of anywhere until Denver, so your entire argument was proven incorrect, it is a Denver problem. Read for content before commenting.
      Also much of the hate in the comments is directed at Denver, not Colorado.

    2. I have lived in Denver all my life. Commerce city is still a smelly waste land. But for some reason the city seems to think its cherry hills in the way it operates. Most other cities around Denver aren’t dbags like they are. And I bet when mark purchased his home it wasent worth nearly as much as it is now. It’s only thanks to the influx of people to the state that limited supply is driving up home values. But he probably thinks it’s because of his well manicured lawn. You are a horrible neighbor mark. I can tell you are a transplant also (I’m guessing California). Why don’t you go back to wherever YOU came from.

  4. We live in a houseboat and have very similar difficulties as well seems some people are just mean and jealous of your happiness keep up the fight enjoy your life

  5. Thanks for wonderful insights, the movement needs more posts like this. It seems “rural residential”, or some degree of it, usually outside urban development areas allow owners to “fly under the radar” at the very least. Most people live in an urban areas, there is likely the greatest natural propensity to take the risk to park a tiny on a property with an existing structure in these areas. Another good source to find a spot is, tinyhouseparking.com/. As a fellow tiny home owner, I’m a independent real estate developer, and would be happy to help others find a spot in any county, landestates.net . Cheers!

    1. Hi Karl:

      I am interested in building a tiny house but first want to find out whether I can buy some land in the Ft. Collins area to place it. Can I connect with you to explore options? Thanks – Joy

  6. My family and I left Colorado after living there 20 years. Every year after visiting other States we noticed that specifically Coloradans en mass appear to be a little more irritable and jaded as time goes on, road rage seems the norm now in the metro area ( underdeveloped roadways) We also noticed hardly any of the properties seem to have much privacy, which made for nosey neighbors much of the time…I guess big fences or walls make great neighbors and Colorado is lacking in that dept. If the property you all parked your Tiny Home on in Commerce city was more private, maybe neighbors would have not complained. Commerce city was always known as the armpit of Colorado though anyways. Go stay at BLM land, after all we all own it, and you can usually stay for extended periods before having to move, or find a lot with RV friendly zoning in the foothills somewhere. Most of the people I see in Tinyhomes in Colorado live where neighbors are not in close proximity.

  7. Well, your welcome to stay with us anytime! We site built our tiny house (256 sq. ft.) in rural Oklahoma, then built a 128 sq. ft. guest house in the back. We have 2 acres and would enjoy the company. Our home is built to be utilitarian and lacks style, but we love it. I just found your blog and have now spent more then 2 hours reading your posts. Good Job! –Thomas http://www.lyvfree.com

      1. we have councils and neighbors like that here. I hope the tiny house movement grows and the laws change. Only people power can do that!!!!!!!!!!! Love your tiny house keep enjoying it…… Kathy from down under (Austrlia)

  8. First let me say I support the THM and have been somewhat of an outside the lines guy my whole life. I think the pushback from the zoning arena is the high dollar investments don’t want anything to devalue their homes. That is understandable, if one is fair. Small homes or RV’s being lived in over the backyard fence is not something homeowners want to see. The idea that there isn’t a place for this unreasonable and arbitrary. Towns and cities should set aside areas for small home developments. The towns that encourage small homes will find an influx of smart, talented, educated and ingenious folks showing up and contributing to the livability of their town. The ability to think outside the box shouldn’t be discouraged but rewarded.

    1. Well said, Michael! I am currently part of a group of enthusiasts who have started to speak regularly during open comments of city council meetings. Tiny, mobile properties are no longer purely the choice of people who have no options… I want to live richly but very simply.

      1. I live in a 5br/3bath, 1200 sq/ft house. I use maybe 500 sq/ft if it. I can sell it with a profit of more than 100k. I just decided in the last couple weeks to focus on downsizing (too much crap!) to the point of selling and moving into a tiny home. It’s so deflating though to see stories like this. These zoning roadblocks are disgusting! It’s going to take me a while to be tiny home ready, and I would live to get involved in the interim. I knew someone something wasn’t right with tiny homes in Colorado when I saw a gorgeous one sitting in a residential driveway for sale a couple weeks ago.

  9. That’s Colorado for you. I have friends there so I visit, but you couldn’t pay me to live there. It’s beautiful, except for the people. My bad experiences in the Denver area are far too numerous to list, suffice it to say, I am not a fan.

    I found this article while searching for the ANSI A119.5 guidelines. I’m planning on building a tiny house this summer and I want it to be up to all RV codes and plaqued. Hopefully that will prevent issues like you had at the RV Park. It won’t change the minds of the “fine” folks in Commerce City however.

    I would be interested in starting a tiny home community or, better yet, being part of a network of tiny home communities across the US. As the movement gains steam I am sure the need will grow exponentially and lend an air of acceptability to the palates of people everywhere.

    1. I agree with you 100%! My wife and I moved there 2 years ago because of her mandatory job transfer and it was the absolute worst experience of my life. Within the first two hours there I was chased by gang members at our motel and luckily the ol adrenaline pump saved my life. From that point on it only got worse and I couldn’t believe how different the people were in comparison to the rest of the country. I guess I should have known better after going through the airport and seeing all these horrific murals painted all throughout the airport.

      The most devastating event in my life occurred 13 months after moving there. My wife came home from work feeling sick at her stomach and asked me to go get her some soup. I went to get her some soup and sprite and came home to prepare it for her. I started to prep a bed tray and her food and went to check on her and she had passed away within a few minutes. Trying to make a long story short it turns out that the altitude and lower oxygen levels contributed to her death. We were never told or warned about altitude sickness or how the lower oxygen levels needed to be considered when taking medication or existing health problems. Because of the lower levels of oxygen fluid built up around her heart.

      Now I’ve made it my crusade to warn others that are considering moving or visiting that area. Because of my own personal events and experiences I despise that place and I honestly believe there is a different kind of people that reside there and maybe it’s linked to the lower oxygen level or maybe not but I will never return.

      1. I agree there is some serious negativity in Colorado. I’m sorry for your loss. I’ve talked to many people who have lived in Colorado and moved away for the same reasons. It’s not a place for friendly, happy people.

      2. Oh my goodness! I had no clue altitude sickness could be fatal. I’m so sorry for your loss. I do live here–born and raised, and have experienced altitude troubles, but I’ve also learned that keeping active is the number one way of killing its takeover. I’m sure any of my traffic-loathing locals would shun me for saying this, but instead of discouraging people from coming here, perhaps your story is much more important to educating the importance of staying active here while recognizing the issues and signs of altitude-related sickness.

  10. I too felt bad you guys ran into that issue and glad you are ok now. I had a reporter stop by a few weeks ago and asked if he could write my story and if not, he was still interested in talking to me about my tiny house build. So I agreed and the story was published yesterday. http://www.concordmonitor.com/home/20272967-95/dream-tiny-a-chichester-grandma-looks-forward-to-life-in-her-170-square-foot-house-on . He also did another story where he spoke to the building inspector guy near me. I have not talked to anyone yet about my house because for one, it’s not done yet and also even though we bought land, I’m not sure the town needs to know what we are doing unless it’s about the electric poles and water/septic. We bought almost 4 acres in rural area. I don’t mind paying taxes on the land either. I doubt the tiny house movement will ever go away because of all the people that don’t like the idea either. I’ve had quite a few people stop by my house once they figured out what I was doing to ask a lot of questions. I live in NH and a lady that lives in MA with her husband and one child stopped by one day. Her parents live in NH so they were visiting. She told me she was paying close to $2000 a month for their tiny 2 bedroom apt so they rent out one bedroom to help with the costs so they are really living in 3 rooms. That doesn’t make any sense to have to live that way. We are also renting a 700 sq ft house that cost $800 a month but we are also building my tiny house here. The 90 year old land lady is cool too except she thinks we are building my granddaughter a play house lol!! Anyway, I’ve enjoyed your journey so far and I appreciate you posting your stories as it helps me quite a bit!! Thank you!!!
    Megan

  11. How did you manage to find a place that would allow tiny house… did you contact every RV park? Any suggestions for a future caravaner that weren’t mentioned in the blog post?

    1. For our trip, we’d just call an RV park ahead of time telling us we were coming over with a 24ft travel trailer (we include the tongue). We never had an issue with several dozens of RV parks until Tiger Run.
      We also stayed in a lot of people’s driveways and backyards.

  12. here is my question , i was looking into tiny houses but if its this much trouble why do it ,, or how does one get around these laws

  13. Even stick built non movable houses can have “spying” neighbors. Just consider the source and carry on. Don’t let one nosey neighbor dictate how you live your life.

  14. OK, so I did a little google research and it seems that code that was cited is actually not applicable to your TH on 3 counts. First, your TH is not a structure in legal terms, it is a vehicle and so if you read the scope of the ICC that they cited it never mentions vehicles. So by code’s own definition vehicles are out of scope. Second, your house was not erected it was driven onto the property and so it should not fall under the ‘or’ clause of the cited code. Finally, even if it was a structure the ICC (the code they apparently pulled this from) actually has no reference to so-called codes pertaining to structures on wheels. Again out of scope, but for s subtle, but different reason.

    I’ve challenged my city on codes they tried to cite me on and won multiple times when they did permit inspections on DIY work I did on my big house. These guys are generally ex-contractors of sub-par intelligence and are mostly jobsworths that just like to wield power they think they have by dint of their title. They literally can’t think outside of the box. HOA board members are typically the same. I sound harsh, I know, but I have dealt with many inspectors, planning, and zoning folks and I can in my experience with these types there was <10% of them that didn't fit my description. It is something about government jobs that attracts the personality types and the IQ demographic.

    1. Turns out I did some research too and read the local zoning and building codes. We were definitely breaking the zoning code (not the building code since it doesn’t apply to mobile structures). It was pretty clearly cited that one could not reside in a mobile structure in Commerce City, even just for a night, unless it was in an area zoned for it (mobile home park or RV park). You can park and store your RV on your property but it needs to be unplugged and unused, and our issue started with a neighbor complaint so someone was watching.
      The grey area was in the definition and the use of the term “dwelling” since RV’s can’t be considered dwellings, yet that was how we were using ours. But it would’ve been a stretch.
      It’s great that you’re looking into all of this for your own situation. I do have to mention that the people we dealt with were very courteous and patient enough to answer all the questions we had. They wouldn’t budge, yes, but they weren’t jerks about it.

      1. Hey guys!. . . reading all this stuff is fantastic info. I truly appreciate it! One question though – what if my tiny is completely “off the grid”? Would that be a possible loophole?

      2. Glad you like our content. I don’t think the off-grid would help in any way for this situation. The only thing they cared about was if someone was in the house or not, regardless of being on or off the grid. But that’ll change from state to state, county to county depending on zoning. Usually though, off-grid doesn’t help in any way (it’s even illegal in some states), it’s really just about “living in a mobile unit,” regardless of being tied to the grid.

  15. Wow guys, very sorry to hear about this. We’ve been building our own tiny house with fear and trepidation about the same issues you and other have just faced. It seems to me that we the tiny house community have to sponsor a conference and invite planning commission, building code, and zoning authorities from all over the country to attend and have an open discussion about what would be considered permissible and viable to enact as ordinances/laws. The reality is I think cities want and deserve their money on some level, reasonable level and fully understandable. Tiny housers see a tiny house as a means to escapes taxes, ordinances, and rules of all sorts. I too would love to avoid all of that, but in essence that would be unfair on some level because it means big housers pay and we get of literally scot-free. The biggest mistake politically the TH movement could make is to take the arrogant attitude that folks like the pirate’s bay clowns and others wanting to make digital downloads legal without paying did. Like somehow we are entitled to avoiding ordinances and codes just because we made the house ourselves. Without a win-win end goal in mind, this whole movement could be crushed, so I appreciate you guys treaded lightly and obeyed the authorities without going off. There may be a time for that in the future, but it seems wise that you didn’t do it now. Good luck.

    1. I’ve always agreed with your statement. We never went into tiny houses to avoid taxes, and to be honest, I don’t understand people that claim that’s their main reason. Most other tiny housers we know don’t do it to avoid taxes. I don’t mind paying taxes as long as they are used properly (I feel that’s where it falls apart though). I want good roads, good education, health care, etc etc and someone has to pay for that! Also, we stopped pirating music and movies years and years ago 😉 we buy or rent everything we want to enjoy now.
      You are right, educating the zoning and coding boards on what tiny houses are and where people want to be would be a great first step.

  16. Been to Commerce City and it is a place to always leave behind. Also been to tiger run. It is a”resort” for rvs supposedly, but if you really looked around the resort you would have noticed an awful lot of semi permenent Park Model trailers there and they were very expensive.So another place to leave to the rich. And to further confuse the subject, in southern Co and I dont remember the town they have established a tiny home community.
    Although to be fair the tiny home must have a foundation. As to what type of foundation I am not clear. Just another note of confusion to add to the mix of where can we stay. I have an rv and I also think tiny homes will have a big impact on society as I think they should to change thinking about housing and life. Thank you for reading.

    Marty

  17. its amazing on the push back because people are scared of change or dont understand. im glad you where able to find a place. looking forward to more youtube videos

  18. Dear Jenna and Guillaume, I am sorry about your troubles with parking and glad you have a place now. I want you to know how much I have appreciated your blog and videos over the past year as my husband and I build our tiny house in St. Louis, MO.

  19. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. This minimum square footage requirement usually applies in “restricted” land, that is in a development or suburban location. My tiny home is going to built on unrestricted land which will also include mobile and manufactured homes, for better or worse. I also would like to issue an invitation for you to visit my home on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Our driveway is 100 ‘ long and have had a friend visit in her RV with no problems; we just tucked it at the back of the driveway. Read up on our barrier islands and see if you are tempted. I hope you are!

  20. In the UK, I assume its the same in the US too ?, we have a national network of MOT (Ministry of Transport) test centres which test every vehicle after three year from date of registration. The car is then tested, on an annual basis, for a whole raft of issues including Body & Structure, Fuel System, Exhaust systems/emissions etc etc.

    So why not create a network of centres that provide each Tiny House owner with a service to test the plumbing, electrical, vehicle roadworthiness issues in fact everything that manufactured RV’s are licensed for ? Then provide the owner with legally approved accreditation to present to insurance companies, park owners, building codes officers etc etc ?

    Sounds sensible ? However having read all these comments I’m wondering whether the tide is beginning to turn against the Tiny House movement with local planning/building inspectors being pressured or perhaps prompted by national government/corporate USA to stem the development of low cost home ownership?

    Anyway keep spreading the word about Tiny Houses and please let’s have more TH tours.

    1. Of course you can choose to either make the changes or not, but we will help you in every aspect of your build. Yes please pass the word along, we are a small firm, but our certification label is well recognized in all 50 states, and is recognized by many Insurance companies and Financial institutions, and by all major Camp Grounds.

  21. I called a friend last night, who used to own a small (50 unit RV park). She had never seen a tiny house. She said her fears if one wanted to camp at her park was standards. I never thought about it, but I think she had some valid points. First, was electrical. Did the small house have the necessary circuit breakers inside so they didn’t take out the entire park’s electric. Sewer and water came next. With the “normal” RVs they have a metal tag that proves they met the standard. She would have asked a lot of questions, especially about electrical connection and would have been happy to have her first ‘Tiny House’ camp there. Another point was did they have an fire extinguisher and other safety equipment etc. Where their gas propane tanks inspected and certified……. I live on a small military and social security retirement checks and I can’t avoid those fancy big rigs. I want a tiny house, but when talking to RV Park owners, I agree they do have some questions that need to be answered when it comes to standards. Never did think about it until this topic came. I will not pull out my well used soap box about zoning laws, but a couple are good to have. My guess is the first question; is it an RV or House? Who is going to inspect the end product and by what standard? It is going to take a while but the tiny house people need to be willing to active and work in this area. I would try and interest ‘Good Sam’ working in this area. Just my two cents. Hal – full time RV campier.

    1. Oh for sure! We know RV parks are afraid of those points. The key word that I think is missing in your comment though (and your comment is on point), is “insurance.” We had no issues in RV parks (except the last one) because we were able to show them that our house was not a dinky shack but a quality built solid unit with standard RV connections. It looks sharp, it has traveled a lot, we have a proven record. Not everybody has that… We don’t have insurance by the way, and I would completely understand if an RV park would be worried about our house burning down and burning another unit next to it (our house won’t burn down). We all talk about the houses having to be built to a certain standard, and I don’t disagree, but I think people also overlook the aesthetics of the houses themselves. We are at a stage in the tiny house movement where we need to do everything we can for acceptance. Standards is definitely a strong argument but I think looks is almost just as important today to help get tiny house accepted!

  22. Good afternoon to you all, I am sorry to hear that you are all dealing with the many issues that you have, I know from working with Tiny Homes I have heard of all the issues your all dealing with common. Currently I work with a company that will help you with certifying your Tiny Home, I know that it will not help you with living there full time, but it will help you wit staying at camp grounds legally. We are currently working with different states and jurisdictions to let people live in Tiny Homes full time. If you want further information please call me at 307-315-0181.

    1. Glad to hear of your progress, Mario. I take it you’re talking about PWA…? My wife and I have one of your certification stickers by the door on our 2004 Artic Fox RV (our transitional tiny house).

      I am a huge proponent of designing tiny houses by ANSI 119.5 standards for building certifiable park model RVs, and have mentioned the “pending ability” for backyard builders to self-certify their tiny houses as PMRVs. I would love to find out more and hear of your progress.

      Case in point, I’m kicking off a custom design session momentarily with a customer interested in building a PMRV-sized tiny house using prescriptive standards. Glad to hear things are moving forward, and will get touch with you again via email and phone regarding your certification offerings.

      Talk to you soon! – Thom Stanton

    2. Correction above, we also use the ANSI A119.2 which is used for certifying RVs. We are currently certifying Tiny Home Manufactures and Self-Builds….Our certification will assist you in getting Insurance and Financing…..

      1. Post-certification to any standard is generally difficult–contemplate the idea that your electrical, etc., is now behind the walls and so on. Possible, but might be a hassle. Custom RV is difficult as well–I would guess manufacturers get one RV inspected (it’s called “first article” inspection in quality circles) and then certify that other units are built to that standard. So your cost per unit is going to be higher for custom, especially custom already built,than it will be for a unit that will be made 10, 100, or a few thousand times.

  23. I have been following your journey from the start. Sounds like you have been welcomed all over US & Canada. I am sorry that you had a bad experience in Colorado, where you were planning to stay awhile. Their loss!!! I feel you both have a lot to offer a community wherever you settle your tiny house. Best of luck in your next location and thank you so much for sharing your journey. Great writing and spectacular photography. Thank You

  24. Hi Jenna and Guillaume,

    I live up in the Fort Collins, CO area. I am very interested in living in a tiny house and was wondering if I could check yours out sometime. I have a big lifted nissan titan crew cab 4×4 that can tow around 9,600 lbs, is that enough tow capacity you think? rent prices are pretty extreme and i’ve been debating getting a tiny house of my own instead of wasting my money in the form of rent paying someone elses mortgage. Rental rates just went up in Fort Collins by 16% in the last year alone… I’ve only seen a few of your shows but got to watch most of the build you two did and i’m fascinated by it all because i’ve downsized so much that even a studio apt feels too big for me now.

    1. Lift kit throws off the balance of your truck. I would recommend reviewing it with a good mechanic before doing serious towing. You could find out in the worst possible way that things are not right.

  25. Part of it is probably snob appeal–who wants to hang out with us members of the proletariat after all–but I think another part is that RV park owners and towns have probably had their fill of guys who come in with a 1975 3/4 ton with visible emissions towing a dilapidated 1964 trailer–and then proceeding to disrupt the entire place until the police arrive. It’s not fair, but it appears that either prejudice or bad apples have gotten you lumped into that category.

    Maybe a solution, if it exists, would be to find or start an RV club that has behavior-based membership restrictions and approach RV parks and towns to see if they can start recognizing known good conduct?

  26. This is so confusing? These homes are so much more pleasing to the eye then any standard RV even the million dollar rv’s mentioned.
    i would love to know what the RV park at least used to classify the difference? and how they could not allow you but allow the rest of them?

  27. Jenna and Guillaume’s story of tiny house eviction in Colorado is both unfortunate, and yet evermore common. This issue underscores the challenge we face across the country: Tiny houses are just too cute to ignore!

    This post and their recent eviction prompted another article in our series on tiny house building zoning restrictions, building codes, and parking challenges. Rather than spam this site with a cut-and-paste of the whole article, you can read the full article here.

    Tiny House Icons Evicted in Colorado >> http://TimberTrails.TV/Jenna-Guillaume-Evicted-in-Colorado-During-their-Tiny-House-Giant-Journey

    Live Large — Go Tiny!

    Thom Stanton

  28. “this chapter of the movement”: Yes, a new chapter has begun. you mention how both the zoning inspector and the mobile home park have just held meetings with their peers to work out how to respond to tiny houses. I am a local official in Massachusetts (I love tiny houses and am working to figure out how to make them safe and legal for year-round occupancy in my community). I can’t stress enough how important it is for people to talk to your local and state officials: they now know they have to figure out how to respond to all these tiny houses, but if they are completely unfamiliar with the concept, and don’t understand it or your motives, their default reaction when they get together to make decisions will be to find a REASON TO SAY NO, rather then to figure out a WAY TO SAY YES. So talk to them. Educate them. Organize tiny house support groups in your community. And also really important: Don’t let them stick tiny houses into the mass-produced, factory-built box of the standard RVs and HUD houses. Good Luck to you all…

    1. Great comment, Marina. Having recently presented a short educational presentation to all of Central Virginia’s Zoning Officials, I have shared your sentiments on our website as encouragement to others (see post for: Tiny House Icons Evicted in Colorado). Thank you for your support of tiny houses! – Thom

  29. Seeing as this is a lifestyle that reduces the footprint, uses less land and less waste of all kinds, there should be room in our cities and hearts to support it! I don’t think that hiding is a sustainable response. I would love to see the tiny-house community enthusiasts hire some legal help to change the zoning laws, if that is possible. It would require changing the context of what a tiny house is and what role it plays in the community.

  30. Before the “tiny house movement” there was “hippies living in converted buses, vans and house trucks” experiencing the same uptight discrimination as you describe. As much as you want to share your lifestyle with everyone, not all can be trusted, as you discovered. Secrecy is key and keeping a low profile when parking in the city or suburbs is a good rule of the road. While this is difficult to do sometimes, it pays to be discreet. A better plan would have been to build the fence before you parked, then pull the rig in at night. Nosy neighbors are a harsh fact of life and there’s one in every neighborhood.
    Chalk it up to experience and keep on truckin’!

  31. Sounds like to me it’s more about the schoolyard bullies now in charge of such laws with connections to the housing industry – they don’t want their cash cow taken away. If you stop to think about it, depending on the interest rate, you could buy a house for $270,000 and end up paying a little over $1m over 30 years. What a racket that is. At least, with a tiny house, even a $15,000 loan to get you all the building supplies and warehoused during the construction gives you a head start, or you can do it one-ten boards at a time, stockpiling or building it in parts at a time, like the rest of the world (underdeveloped/undeveloped) does it; one brick at a time if necessary.

  32. They are trying to steal your joy. In a world where the “true” religion is cash, not enough profit can be raped out of the tiny house community.

    Don’t let them steal your happiness!

  33. It should never be the intent of a city ordinance to maintain your private property values…. people have wrongfully empowered the lical govts to do this to get rid of so called bad neighbors or neighborhoods.

  34. My first comment vanished……. I have some first-hand experience dealing with commerce city building department. I’ve worked with several in Colorado and commerce city is by far the WORST and most DIFFICULT I’ve had to work with so far. Unfortunately, though I’ve not worked with summit county’s b&z yet, the area in general is known for its rather uppity attitude. There are many friendlier areas in Colorado. Long-time locals can direct you to these friendlier areas. 😀

  35. Hang in there. Tiny homes are fascinating, and things will have to change sooner or later. People are afraid of change. Also trailer parks still carry a reputation that should have died years ago, when they became retirement communities. My husband and I both lost our jobs 8 years ago and lost our home because of it. We now live in a trailer park that is wooded, strict about keeping it clean, and its home. Take care and again hang in there, with the movement in tiny things will have to change.

  36. I was sorry to hear of your parking problems, but I must admit that I had wondered when you would I encounter them. I am in the process of renovating a School Bus and wonder if I will experience the same problems? From your link that you provided, I understand that if I purchase land with an existing permanent dwelling, I can park my bus in the backyard? Jersey girl/Evie

  37. Thank you for being pioneers and sharing your experiences. Ultimately, I believe that zoning laws will change to accommodate tiny houses but it takes time. I appreciate all that you’re doing to lead the way!

  38. SHAME on that neighbor and the RV park!! I live in the Denver area and my dream is for a tiny home somewhere and now I’m afraid of jerks trying to stop me from living my life the way I want to. I’m so sorry you had to go through this situation created by ignorance and stupidity. Your darling home is NOT blight or an eyesore. That neighbor needs an attitude adjustment. Enjoy where you are! And I hope your winter stay is peaceful and warm!

  39. i feel sorry for you guys. this is a mood crusher.you guys, from i what i read, you guys re welcomed with open arms and then…… there s nthing more upsetting than being ”homeless”.
    hang in there.
    sincerely, You both have always been my inspiration for what this life actually meant.

  40. I wintered over in Colorado Springs at a nice RV camp across from the Army Base. I was in a RV but I bet that RV Camp would welcome you. Glad you found a place.

  41. Jenna and Guillaume…I’ve been reading more and more about zoning laws and it seems that they are becoming more strict as the tiny house movement grows. I imagine that while you were traveling as an RV it was ok to sleep in it bc you were traveling about. I am sadened as I know you guys have been looking forward to Colorado also bc in my ignorant head I celebrated the West, in particular Colorado with being more open to different sustainable life styles.
    I hope that you find a permanent and peaceful winter home. Thank you for all the great info and heads up.

    maria

  42. Apparently, some people just can’t stand anything that is ever-so-slightly out of their limited range of knowledge and comfort. What a pity, as I think your tiny house is about a billions times more charming than any RV I’ve ever seen.

    Best wishes on finding a new site on which to rest.

  43. Very upsetting to learn of your eviction. We are currently building our Tiny Home and I am sure we will eventually face the same thing. Does not seem to be fair but I guess it is why there are pioneers. Hope you have a good winter. Keep us up to date.

  44. Sorry to hear about your parking woes! We too received a cease and desist notice for our parking spot in someones backyard when we first moved (to Laramie, WY) and I can totally sympathize with feeling like you have no place to go! We were lucky to find a backyard still within city limits that has a lot more privacy with great neighbors. We have been living at our new spot for over a year now (still illegally). Hope you enjoy the season in CO!

  45. Oh wow, you guys! I am sorry to read this. Snaps to you for having a good attitude & honesty. Have a terrific winter!

  46. I am so sorry to hear about your latest issue with parking. I have enjoyed looking at all your adventures. Unfortunately, that seems to be very common in Enumclaw, Washington too=began with a very nosy neighbor. Places in Johnston County and Wake County, North Carolina will NOT allow them either. I have an acquaintance selling hers for the same reason. Hang in there.

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