A TINY home expert has offered wise advice to would-be downsizers after an owner was evicted from his tiny apartment.
Brianna O’Brien parked her tiny home on wheels on her parents’ property in New Hampshire.
However, due to the state’s zoning policy, the recent graduate was not authorized to do so and was evicted from her home.
“I was looking at apartments and other housing options in the area and everything was so expensive and I had just started a job,” O’Brien told Insider.
She added, “All the pieces are aligned so I can start looking inside tiny houses.”
O’Brien found her perfect tiny home for $29,000 on Facebook Marketplace and figured she could live on her parents’ lot.
However, after six months it was reported that it violated zoning laws.
Despite a desire to work closely with authorities to legalize it, including proposals to modify the house to meet some of the required specifications.
But O’Brien noted that their “entire argument was disregarded”.
The Hampton Falls Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting notes show the reasons for the board’s rejection of their amendments to the property.
This is because it “is against the public interest because the structure currently exists, therefore the changes are non-compliant and should have been discussed prior to the structure’s actual construction,” the meeting notes said.
Tiny home expert Dan Fitzpatrick has made it his mission to legalize small apartments.
The President of the Tiny Home Industry Association has worked in local government, giving him a thorough understanding of building code regulations.
According to the association’s website, it is a “non-profit organization with a mission to advocate for legislative changes, develop industry best practices and building standards to encourage the widespread use of small houses as legitimate and permanent housing.”
Fitzpatrick spoke to Insider about zoning codes and the unique issues small homes face.
“Tiny homes are, by definition, under 400 square feet,” Fitzpatrick said.
“Well, most municipalities require 700 or 1,000 square feet for the minimum size of a home.”
However, this changes by state, so in some areas like Oregon, small homes can become very popular because there are no minimum size requirements.
Meanwhile, homes built on wheels are considered recreational vehicles that can usually only be parked in designated areas such as campgrounds or RV parks.
This means that such houses cannot be parked on private property or in a backyard.
They are also not considered fit for full-time living, meaning the occupant’s days inside the RV are numbered.
Fitzpatrick said: “There are some places where you build a tiny house and put it in an RV park and they won’t let you live there for more than 90 days or six months at a time.
“These are issues that need to be addressed.”
He offered advice to prospective tiny house owners and local governments: “Communities need to realize that mobile tiny houses are a very different beast than a recreational vehicle.
“To do this, write a definition of a moveable tiny house in your local ordinance to distinguish it from a typical RV.”
This move has proven successful in areas like Los Angeles and San Diego.