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Small House Living: Which States Are Best For Tiny Houses?

By taufiqhaque

The small house living craze is increasing drastically in America, as more and more people are opting for the tiny living lifestyle, whether it is for sustainable reasons to reduce waste and minimize space or to save some money building only a small home with minimal bills to pay. While there are barriers to going tiny and building houses under 600 feet, more states are opening up their borders and welcoming people to live in tiny houses.

Small houses are not explicitly illegal or forbidden in any state. However, some states are more friendly to the novel concept of tiny houses than the others. There are certain laws and ordinances that make it harder to build a tiny house, and these laws vary from state to state and from county to county. For example, some states require a minimum ceiling height or a mandatory fire exit door width. Whereas, some states have zoning regulations that do not allow you to park or build your tiny house just anywhere.

Small House Living: What to Consider When Building a Tiny House

The things to consider and look out for when trying to build a tiny house are:

  • Zones that permit RVs and ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units)
  • Laws and codes regulating areas that allow small house living
  • Availability of tiny house communities
  • Architects and tiny home builders who advertise and focus on building tiny homes in the state
  • The number of RV parks that allow tiny houses to park for long periods of time

Small House Living: Top States to Build Tiny Houses In

Keeping all of these factors in mind, we have listed the top 5 tiny house states where people find it easier to build tiny homes and enjoy sustainable living.

1. California

Unsurprisingly, California is rated among the topmost choices that support the small house living movement, with the highest number of tiny houses concentrated mostly in San Diego and Los Angeles.

Fresno, a small city in California, is the first city to allow tiny houses as secondary dwelling units to be built on their land. Soon afterward, most cities in California followed and have now approved ADUs. While California state laws do not allow recreational vehicles, such as any trailers or motor homes used for recreational purposes, to be used as dwelling units, there is a rapid rise in tiny houses on wheels in various areas in the state.

With the rapid increase in population in the state, local officials have found that small house living can be used as an alternative to tackle homelessness and sky-high rents. Due to the wildfires in Sonoma County, California state has also allowed people who have lost their homes in the fire to live in temporary RVs and camp trailers.

2. Oregon

Oregon is among the most popular small house states, with Portland being the number one choice for small house living. Even though the tiny house regulations vary from city to city, Portland allows RVs and tiny houses to be parked in residential properties. It is fascinatingly the home to the famous Tiny House Hotel.

While Oregon doesn’t have clear laws about tiny houses, the Oregon DMV allows tiny houses on wheels, and you may also apply for a permit for the house on wheels.

3. Texas

Texas is among the topmost tiny house friendly states in the U.S. While most tiny houses are seen in Austin, Texas, it provides a great alternative to the growing housing crisis.

Most cities in Texas, such as Fort Worth, Spur, and Austin, allow tiny houses as long as they are on a foundation, and tiny houses on wheels are treated as Recreational Vehicles and thus cannot be used for permanent residence. It is easier to get a permit for your ADU in Texas. However, you have to keep in mind the minimum square footage of the house in each of the cities.

4. Florida

Florida is rising to become the state to welcome the tiny house trend with renting RVs and ADUs to tourists on vacation. Not all counties agree with the idea of small house living, but the majority of Florida has many RV parks and tiny house hotels to support this movement.

Sarasota is apparently the third most popular city to go tiny as they are very tolerant to small houses on foundation, but they expect RVs that are parked for more than 45 days to have a foundation. Some counties even put a restriction on the size of the home, such as Orange county’s minimum size cannot be below 400 sq ft.

5. Pennsylvania

While this state has yet to be a popular destination for small house living, Pennsylvania is very tolerant towards tiny houses. Even so, Philadelphia has no restrictions towards house sizes as long as they meet the requirements of the IRC.

Many towns in Pennsylvania have a number of small house communities with Elizabethtown claiming to have the largest community in the United States. Since Pennsylvania has a lot of open space, it is better to build your small houses in rural areas where there is ample space to park.

Small House Living: Other States to Consider

While these five states are rated as the best tiny house states, there are other notable states that also are slowly encouraging the small house trend. Among these are Colorado, which hosts an annual Tiny House Colorado Festival, where they display different designs of tiny houses and raise awareness of downsizing to a more sustainable and minimalistic lifestyle.

While some states choose to go tiny because of an eco-conscious reason, other states such as Washington and New York are creeping towards the small house living idea because of its housing crisis and economic necessity.

States with smaller populations such as Alabama, Arkansas, and Connecticut are among the lowest when it comes to tiny house friendliness. This is mainly due to having a smaller population having enough space to have bigger homes or the strict laws that are not very flexible to building tiny houses in residential areas.

Final Thoughts

Choosing which state is the most friendly to build a tiny home can be quite confusing, but don’t lose hope. Do research on codes and regulations for each state before you decide to build a house. There are two types of tiny houses, ADU (Accessory Dwelling Units), which are tiny homes on foundation, and RVs (Recreational Vehicles), which are tiny homes on wheels. While deciding which to make, you have to consider the state laws on RVs and the availability of RV parks. Most states are more encouraging towards ADUs and allow people or families to live in tiny homes as long as they meet the size requirements.

You can always contact your local metropolitan office to check whether your style of a tiny house is allowed in your state. For more information, you can keep yourself updated on different small house communities online, such as the American Tiny House Association.

You can also read: What Are The Best Tiny House Building Materials

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