How-To Start the Tiny House Legal Process (part 3)

by andrewodom on April 10, 2013 · 8 comments


ClosetThe move is over. Who would have thought that even as minimalist as we are…..as opposed to clutter as we are, that we would still end up needing a 5′ x 8′ U-Haul trailer to finish up our permanent move to our land and our beautiful tiny house. We left the day after Easter Sunday and split the trip into a a 2-day affair as 18-month old children are not really known for their love of the ‘Great American Road Trip.’ By Tuesday at 2pm EST though we were not only parked next to our tiny house but we had boxes on the ground, I was painting the cabinet doors, we were putting Salad Bowl Finish on our reclaimed Pecan IKEA-hack table, and preparing for our first night “home.”

It has been about 6 weeks since we last talked about the tiny house legal process. We weren’t sure what to expect. Certainly we didn’t expect a big parade or ticker tape falling from the sky. But we did expect to have all our ducks in a row and our legality just a check box away.

Days before our move I had already scheduled an appointment with the structural engineer so he could meet us out on our land and have a look at what is now being called “the custom modular.” As agreed upon he arrived at just after 1pm and we gave him the grand tour. By all indications he was impressed both with the structural integrity and the overall aesthetic. In fact, what he said was, “This is really something else. I don’t see any problem with it and I can see y’all took great pains to build yourself a home and not just a house!” I am sure I my smile added a touch of animated class to the scene. Mr. Engineer left telling us to go ahead and have our brickmason come out and put in the piers and anchor straps. “Sure thing!”

The next day brought rain which meant no strapping. But the following day the mason was out with his crew and telling us the job would be done by the end of the afternoon. Boy was he right. His guys jumped on it and about three hours later we had 8 piers and 8 auger anchors. (Editor’s Note: For those of you who have been with Tiny r(E)volution for a while you may remember us talking once before about how to anchor your home. If not, you can revisit it here.) I felt good. Yes, the strapping takes a bit of the “mobility” out of a mobile tiny house but because we have decided on a POD design with our trailer as the centerpiece we know this is a great step toward achieving that for our family. The cost for the labor and materials was right at $500. Not bad considering we are just an hour from the ocean front and are no innocents when it comes to the power of hurricanes and offshore storms. It took us 2 years to build our house. We certainly don’t want to see it blown away in a few minutes!

This moment was a bit bittersweet though because almost at the time I was handing over money I received a phone call from Mr. Engineer. He had spoken to the County Inspector and there was some problems. Though no ones fault really and through a bit of miscommunication we had not gotten the proper permit to park our tiny house. We owed the county $100 for that and another $50 for the electrical pole we converted from Ag. use to Residential. During this same conversation I was told that because our tiny house doesn’t even have a water closet on board we shouldn’t hope for a certificate of occupancy. If our strapping met code we could “camp” in the house but if we wanted to be 100% legal we would have to revisit the perc test results, the building permit, a blueprint, electrical permits, plumbing permits, etc. It was a lot to take in and I was feeling defeated. But I remembered a couple of things.

  1. We have no doubt this is where God wants us right now and through Him the doors to opportunity will open
  2. We DO want to be 100% and we want to pave a way for others so we may have to work through some discomfort occasionally
  3. Camping is a rather magnaminous term and when we have the money to move forward with our PODom Annex we will work through the county to each letter of the law

So that is where we are now. Not 100% legal but not 100% illegal either. We are plugged in to our electricity through a pigtail plug and we are cooking on our stove (as it is propane). We live next door to family so they are graciously sharing ‘facilities’ with us for now and well…..we are really happy. The weather has warmed up. The sun is out. We can hear birds just out our window and our view of the stars is unparalleled. Life is good. And I’ll sign on that!

 

How-To Start the Tiny House Legal Process (part 1)
How-To Start the Tiny House Legal Process (part 2)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Avril-Brown/100002663835705 Avril Brown

    Wow! How lovely! I hope all goes well in this next chapter of your lives… Many Blessings fellow tiny house lovers… I hope mine is coming sometime in the future, as well…

    • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

      Thank you so much for the blessings Avril. We already feel blessed!

  • http://mmgoldenart.com/ Melinda M. Golden

    They could tell you that you can’t stay at all so I say it’s a win that you can “camp” there. I admire you for your courage and I hope that one day everything will be fully legal!

    • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

      It is a total win in our minds. We are here and we aren’t hiding and the county is willing to work along side of us. Win/Win actually!

  • http://www.320squarefoothome.com/ Debra Jordan

    How wonderful for you! Now you REALLY are home. Sorry about the bittersweet news. Things always take longer when you are educating the populace about something new. Someday I am going to drop in on you and check out the view through your window :)

    We sold our house! Bittersweet also……

    • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

      The house already sold? WOW! I hope you got top dollar! And y’all are welcome to pop in here anytime you like. Would love to meet you in person.

  • Annie

    So happy for you! God’s blessings to you! I hope to someday have my own small/tiny home, I’m not sure how tiny I can go, I have to have space to paint! But I just love the tiny house idea!

  • Pingback: Looking For Land In All The Right Places | Sustainable Charm

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