Tiny House Parking…. where can you park the darn thing? Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. The legalities of Tiny Homes are constantly changing. Below I’ve tried to provide as much information as I can on the subject. Before you read, pour us both a drink…
Legalities, Categorizing, and Certifications
So you want to park your Tiny House legally? Okay, that’s possible, but maybe not in your desired location.
For the most part, Tiny Homes on wheels are legally categorized as RVs.
The easiest way to find out if you can legally park a Tiny Home in a certain location is to check local RV parking regulations. Every county is different. Some places allow for full-time living in RV parks. Some do not. A few areas (usually more rural) allow for full time camping on your piece of land. Many places require a home with a foundation (and permitting… and taxes). You have to do your research.
My Tiny House is classified as a Recreational Trailer in the state of Illinois. This classification was given to me by the DMV. When I registered my house in California, they classified it as a Coach Trailer. Basically, the DMV representative will classify a Tiny House however they see fit. It’s subjective.
RVIA certification, what is it?
RVIA certification is the legal certification for RVs. Some manufactured Tiny Houses will receive an RVIA certification. This certification will make financing, insurance, and parking in certain RVIA only RV parks, an easy task.
It’s important to note that only a company that is RVIA certified can slap the certification sticker on your bumper. You can not get the certification if you build your own Tiny House.
Bottomline: Either buy a fully built Tiny House from a certified company or forget about the certification.
If you’re mobile and moving around often, you shouldn’t have trouble finding campgrounds that will accept your Tiny House. I traveled with my Tiny House for one year, and I have only been turned away once or twice. Here is a list of campgrounds I stayed at from 2014-2015. Please note that these campgrounds may no longer allow for Tiny House Parking. Call first.
For full time living, you have to do a little bit more research. Currently, I am parked at Mt. Hood Tiny House Village. I signed a lease and pay for rent/utilities. What’s the problem? I still need to have a “permanent address” for income tax, health insurance, driver’s license, etc. For this reason, I use my parent’s address as my permentant address. I do not actually live there, so, this is not ideal (or totally legal). I’m not telling you what you should do, or what is right. This is not an article on ethics. I’m just telling you one way to get around the problem.
I’ve heard of some RVers using P.O. Boxes as their permanent address in more rural states. I don’t have experience with this, so if you do, please enlighten us in the comments.
FYI: Many RV parks have requirements that you must meet before they will let you sign a lease – such as RVIA certification and insurance.
Tiny House Villages
Legal Tiny House Villages and Tiny House Hotels are almost always classified as RV parks or mobile home parks from a legal standpoint.
Some Tiny House Villages fall into a gray area when it comes to legality. In some counties, Tiny Houses can be classified as “Additional Dwelling Units,” which means exactly what it sounds like: structures meant for additional dwelling, not primary or permanent. If you are caught living permanently in an ADU you may be served an eviction from the local authorities. Although, evictions are usually caused by neighbor’s complaint. Be kind to your neighbors!
Parking “Under the Radar” on Land/Backyard
The majority of Tiny Housers today are living “under the radar,” on a piece of land that they own or in someone’s backyard. Often, this means they are technically illegal. At least for now.
Things are changing. More municipalities are embracing Tiny Houses as legal dwellings.
- Tiny House Community is a great website. Browse the Tiny House FAQs page. *Be sure to double check that the information is still accurate.*
- Tiny House Meet Up Groups
- Tiny House Hosting Facebook group
- Craiglist.org – Search or Post in your area
- Try It Tiny – AirBNB for Tiny House Rentals and Parking
- Andrew and Gabriella Morrison are active in passing new legislation to legalize Tiny House parking. For more info, click here
- Living Tiny Legally. A documentary series exploring the potential benefits tiny housing can bring to a community, the legal obstacles, and how these are being overcome in a growing number of cities and in model building codes.
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What is your experience with Tiny House Parking? Have you ever been issued a Tiny House Eviction? I’d love to hear your stories and add more links to the above resources.