Are Tiny Homes Legal in Colrado?

With a large portion of the new generation disillusioned with luxurious, big apartments, the popularity of tiny homes is on the rise. What’s its legal status in Colorado?
January 7, 2023 by
Michael Zatorski
| No comments yet
 

Are Tiny Homes Legal in Colorado?


Colorado Zoning Regulations
The local government of Colorado abides by zoning regulations and development standards and these guidelines control the usage of land and are generally codified in “zoning codes” and “land use codes.”


Tiny Houses on Wheels in Colorado
Each tiny home should have a separate bathroom, lavatory, water closet, shower, as well as a bathtub.
The living room of these tiny homes should measure at 220 square feet at the very least. For every additional 100 living in the unit, 100 square feet of space has to be added. The typical living arrangements count two people.


Illegal Permanent Residency in THOW
You can’t be a permanent resident in Colorado while living on a tiny home


Safety Measures
Your tiny home has to meet the building standard 11


Importance of Maintaining Colorado Zoning Laws
You may end up losing your house if it doesn’t meet the safety criteria


Are the Tiny Homes from UBuild Legal?
Yes, they are, as per Colorado’s building codes


Benefits of a Tiny Home
Cost-effective, less hectic to furnish, doesn’t take much space


The tiny house movement has ancient history with the state of Colorado. Jay Shafer, a pioneer of the tiny home movement, established his company named Tumbleweed Tiny Homes here. And nothing screams nomad living like being huddled up inside the comfort of your tiny home on the incredible rocky peaks!
That being said, Colorado has a handful of laws regarding tiny homes on wheels, or THOWs.


Colorado Zoning Regulations
The local government of Colorado abides by zoning regulations and development standards. These guidelines control the usage of land and are generally codified in “zoning codes” and “land use codes.” For instance, Fort Collins’s zoning law is technically named “City of Fort Collins Land Use Code.”
The distribution of land into districts or “zones” is zoning. Every zone comes with a unique set of regulations that control and apply to land development. To know what zone your property falls under and what is lawful, check out the specific land use code.
Usually, the code includes a zoning map identifying the various zones across your jurisdiction. This map can be used recognize how your property is marked. 


Tiny Houses on Wheels in Colorado
Tiny house rules in the state of Colorado depend vastly on which town, city, or county you reside in. For example, the town of Walsenburg has removed the square footage restrictions for tiny homes to let people build their mini houses.
The town has changed the minimum width requirement for doors. Moreover, stairway regulations are lesser in number than other states.
Colorado’s Park County is a popular location for supporters of tiny homes, and also features particular allowances for stick-built infrastructure. Like:


  • ​Each tiny home should have a separate bathroom, lavatory, water closet, shower, as well as a bathtub.

  • ​The living room of these tiny homes should measure at 220 square feet at the very least. For every additional 100 living in the unit, 100 square feet of space has ​to be added. The typical living arrangements count two people.

  • ​The kitchen sink, refrigeration unit, and cooking equipment need to have a clear working space measuring at least 30”.

  • ​If an efficiency dwelling unit is not a component of the multi-unit structure, it has to have provisions for equipment like heating gear, pressure tanks, and hot ​water.

  • ​Life safety necessities, such as ventilation and light, must be met regardless of the dwelling’s size.
    ​On the other hand, the country’s Land Use regulations ask for modular and manufactured houses to be 600 square feet minimum (at grade level). 


Illegal Permanent Residency in THOW
A tiny home on wheels, if used as a permanent dwelling, is considered illegal in Colorado. If the land use code applicable in your case clearly differentiated between a house on a foundation and a THOW, it would be best to build on a permanent foundation. As zoning regulations seem to never be straightforward, it’s best to be 100% sure of the laws before building one.
Even if a tiny home is legal where you’re from, you have to get clearance to use the THOW as an ADU in the backyard. And ADUs aren’t legal in every zone.


Safety Measures
As you conduct some much needed research before planning on buying a THOW, you will learn about the safety and building standards applicable to the construction.
For starters, if you make your own THOW, you could possibly have to self-certify that it meets the standards of Recreational Vehicle Industry Association. In contrast, if you get a prebuilt THOW, that may need to meet the American National Safety Institute standard 11.


Importance of Maintaining Colorado Zoning Laws
Tiny houses might seem like a fun, feasible option for those who can’t invest in a permanent residence (and it is), it poses a slew of challenges to the local government. Clear laws aren’t there to help make the process easier, so it might be tempting to ignore the permitting process and simply set a THOW in the backyard. This is super risky.
The Karen in your neighborhood can file a complaint against you. If the code enforcer starts a case against you, the local government could remove the THOW and make you pay a fine!
In general, due to the lack of restrictions and strict guidelines, Colorado is one of the better places to own a tiny home in the US.


Are the Tiny Homes from UBuild Legal?
UBuild boasts itself on being a socially driven business that aims to solve the housing problem for many people, empowering them to create in a more efficient, ethical way.
We provide support to social enterprises, education, activist groups, and charities with access to our modular building systems. If you want to discuss any future projects with us for support from our side, feel free to ask!
In general, all tiny homes built in UBuild undergo a strict quality check before being brought to the public. The legality of our products mainly depends on the state you will set it up in. But for the states that do permit tiny homes on wheels, our designs will meet the requirements effortlessly. 


Benefits of a Tiny Home
Tiny homes let you get creative. You can choose exactly what your new home will look like. Not only does it offer the visuals you always wanted, but it’s also luxury in a budget. Bring the THOW anywhere. The general maintenance price of a tiny home is less than a regular sized apartment. Plus, this is the introvert’s dream. You get to bring your house with you wherever you go!


Conclusion
Review the applicable zoning map and land use code and if you’re still unsure about the zoning of your property, have a word with your local planning department. Don’t try to break the laws because there will be repercussions. And if everything goes your way, contact UBuild now to build a house of wheels in Colorado!

Sign in to leave a comment