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I love the tiny home lifestyle

Dec 13, 2023Dec 13, 2023

TINY homes are slowly becoming the latest lifestyle trend as Americans deal with crippling inflation and skyrocketing housing prices nationwide.

Americans are revamping old sheds or building tiny homes from scratch as a way to save money and earn passive income.

However, some may not know, but many aspiring tiny homeowners may be setting up their properties illegally.

Zoning regulations in most places - especially densely populated areas like New York City - typically do not allow full-time living in temporary structures like RVs or portable tiny houses.

"Easily upwards of 90 percent of tiny-house owners are living illegally when it comes to zoning," Andrew Morrison, a professional builder and tiny-house advocate in Oregon who travels the world teaching seminars on tiny-house construction, told The New York Times in 2017.

"A very small minority live in R.V. parks, though they usually have a limit on how long you can stay," he said.

"A friend or family's backyard, or land in the country, is much more common," he added.

Tiny homes are treated differently in Oregon, and it all boils down to zoning regulations.

There are specific locations where people can set up a tiny home with a permanent foundation but cannot set up a small home on wheels, according to Oregon's tiny home regulation law.

The local government controls land use in the state through land use regulations codified in zoning ordinances.

Lands are zoned for different uses, some are zones for exclusive farming use (EFU), and others for commercial and residential use, according to the state's legislature.

Yet, for some, defying zoning restrictions is a way of getting the last laugh.

"It's one of the last things we have where you can kind of stick it to the man," Marcus Stoltzfus, a co-owner of Liberation Tiny Homes near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, told The New York Times.

Although they exist in Pennsylvania, there are no standards on the books directly addressing tiny homes.

In February, Pennsylvania lawmakers said they would begin crafting legislation establishing building regulations for tiny homes.

In a memo sent to all House members, Philadelphia Representative Darisha Parker said there is a lack of clear guidance and building standards.

This can make it hard for local governments to establish parameters for tiny houses to be permissible as permanent single-family dwellings," Parker explained.

Parker's bill would make it easier for local governments to include tiny homes with safe building standards.

Under the legislature, a tiny house under 400 square feet would need to be installed on a foundation, such as a concrete pad, as a permanent residence.

In addition, safety features such as handrails, headroom, ladders, and fans would be required.