10 Big Questions About Tiny Houses

Can You Build A Tiny House Anywhere?
A roof goes up on a tiny house. Stone Soup Institute Used Under Creative Commons CC By 2.0 License

Nope. This is one of the biggest hurdles. Most municipalities have zoning codes, separating commercial spaces from residential areas, as well as specifying where a house can be set on a property, and minimum and maximum acceptable home sizes.

In the city of Atlanta, for instance, the city code says that no single family house can be built that is less than 750 square feet (70 square meters) [source: Blau]. A tiny house is considered to be in the recreational vehicle (RV) category and the city doesn't allow you to live in an RV for more than 30 days at a stretch. Sometimes you can petition for a variance to such requirements, but it may not be granted. Tiny house enthusiasts are trying to change the laws in several cities and states.

In the meantime, one option is to see if a mobile home park or campground will accept your home. This may be challenging; sometimes long-term parking of a structure at a mobile home park or campground requires the home to meet standards set by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association or Modular Home Builders Association, and your home might fall short [source: McIntire].

Another idea is to place your tiny home in the backyard of a family member or friend, as many zoning ordinances allow such "accessory dwelling units," also known as granny cottages, in-law units and backyard cottages.

The ideal scenario may be to find a parcel of land that's not subject to any zoning regulations. There are some out there, although they tend to be in more remote or rural areas.