Where do you plan to park your tiny home? Having trouble finding clarity about what is legal in your city or county? You’re not alone. Wide acceptance of tiny homes as a dwelling category continues to be a challenge. However, the tiny home industry has experienced some wins recently and tiny homes are rapidly growing in popularity. This article is the first in a series of posts regarding the compliance and acceptance of tiny homes. Here, we’ll discuss what a Park Model Recreational Vehicle (RV) is and why the distinction from a normal RV is significant.
Tiny home acceptance is usually regulated by local jurisdictions, typically the local planning and zoning commission. Local permitting officials enforce those zoning laws and ordinances. Recent legislation indicates broader acceptance of tiny homes on wheels as a housing category. New laws, like Los Angeles County’s Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Ordinance R19-0408, allow for tiny homes on wheels to be used as additional housing on existing single family lots when certain criteria are met. Generally, the following criteria are what you can expect to see for tiny homes:
The tiny home is…
licensed with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and meets ANSI 119.5 (NFPA 1192) requirements.
towable and not designed as a motor vehicle that can move under its own power.
not larger than allowed by state permitting for movement on public roads.
skirted around the wheels and undercarriage.
built with at least 140 square feet of first floor interior living space.
a detached self-contained unit with provision for living, sleeping, cooking, and sanitation.
designed and built like a conventional building structure under ordinance criteria.
Let’s shed light on #1 as it includes some code verbiage. We don’t want to get too technical here but we know many people are having to dive deep to get answers on the legality of where to park their home. Recreational Vehicles are required to be built to codes and standards set by the American National Standards institute (ANSI) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). These codes deal with structural integrity, fire safety, and various other precautions and quality standards. What distinguishes a Park Model RV’s from normal RV’s in these codes is that they are considered oversized for traveling on public roads or are meant to be hardwired into an electric grid rather than with an RV plug. Basically, Park Model RV’s are intended for more permanent set-ups.
Some of the local jurisdictions that we mentioned earlier only allow tiny homes with Park Model RV certifications. That’s why it’s so important to know the local ordinances and to make sure your tiny home meets the required standards. What’s more, not just anyone can certify a tiny home as an RV. Certifying agencies in California, for example, are required to be accredited by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and to be registered in California as a Design Approval Agency (DAA).
Are you ready to go tiny or to place a Park Model RV as an ADU in your backyard? At Wind River, we build tiny houses to both RV and Park Model RV standards and our homes are certified by Pacific West Associates, a nationwide agency, and a registered DAA in California. If you’re ready to take the next step, Wind River has the tools to help make it happen.