Vancouver, British Columbia, has some of the most forward-thinking and flexible DADU regulations in Cascadia.But there, too, city regulations require laneway homes be at least 280 square feet, which is larger than most tiny houses.In a step forward, Oregon and Washington (see Washington’s official self-certification code here) have both instituted certification processes for self-built RVs, making permitting for DIY THOWs a possibility.The American Tiny House Association has also created construction guidelines to assist DIYers in building their homes to recreational vehicle codes, but even these don’t guarantee certification as an RV.The wheels often lead cities to classify them as recreational vehicles (RVs) rather than houses, which moves them from the frying pan of IRC and HUD into the fire of RV certification— outside of an official RV park.This is the case in Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, British Columbia.Continuing to adapt existing building codes to tiny abodes, or creating a new certification process specific to tiny homes, would be a big step toward unbanning a housing form that’s as old as the , parked her tiny house on wheels (THOW) in a friend’s backyard in Olympia and enjoyed not only lower living costs, but also closer connection with her neighbors.But these wheels present another challenge to legalizing tiny houses, placing them in a regulatory gray zone between standard houses and vehicles.
Tiny home communities, where multiple tiny homes share a lot, bump up against several of these zoning restrictions, as existing categories have yet to accommodate this new way of living.
Assuming you’ve built a tiny house to building code and want to set it on a foundation in the backyard of an existing single-family home to save on land costs, your next challenge would be zoning codes.
Your best bet would be to find a city that allows Detached Accessory Dwelling Units (DADUs), or laneway houses, as they are called in Canada.
, for example, requires that habitable rooms have at least 70 square feet of floor space, and not be less than 7 feet wide and tall. Though 70 square feet is still a rigid requirement for habitable rooms, it’s actually a step in the right direction.
In 2015, the , making building tiny to code much more feasible.