Ryan Mitchell – editor of The Tiny Life and fellow TinyHouseNC‘er – has been working on a great eBook over the last few months. Written to dispel some of the myths of all the red tape and zoning issues circulating in the tiny house community, this guide is an affordable, quick reference that will help anyone quickly familiarize themselves with some of the key bureaucratic road blocks, suggest possible pathways to building your home from the legal perspective, and several strategies to make it a success.
If you are hoping to build a tiny house, this is information that you will need. For those who purchases this they will also get and additional 180 pages of reference materials and free updates on future versions!
After hours of trying to figure all the coding stuff out and hours of working with local code enforcement, zoning, builders, trades folks, and published resources, Ryan authored this much needed book which will also help you navigate utility setup, sewage installation, and water provisions. The real strength of the book though is that Mitchell himself has “been there, done that” during his own tiny house build and land pursuit. He is experienced with real world issues of a tiny house and now he has given us all a leg up.
Just a few days ago I got in touch with Ryan to ask him about his book and how he came to write it.
Tiny r(E)volution: Within the first….well, directly in the introduction you mention that the two most commonly cited “loopholes” are not magical solutions to tiny house legalism. You go on to distinguish between building and living. Do you think there is a pretty strong chasm in the two?
Ryan Mitchell: It is a certainly an important distinction, but in a way it is a mixed blessing. Many cite things like if it is below a certain size you don’t need a permit or if its on a trailer, its a vehicle not a house and this is all true when it comes to being allowed to build it. The trick is that the moment you want to live in it, all that goes out the window and municipalities have some pretty crafty tricks to catch you.
Tr: You talk early on about room requirements. That is probably something 99% of tiny house folks don’t think about. What has been your experience in building your tiny house in regard to room code requirements?
RM: You look at minimum room requirements you begin to understand how municipalities define a home. This home usually requires a living space, a bedroom and bathroom each with their own square footage requirements, when you add them up you begin to see that a house must be 400, 500, 600 square feet, sometimes much more.
Tr: To get to the legal level we are at with our tiny house we chose to be upfront and honest from day one. How important to you is doing things on the “up and up?”
RM: I think it is important to be a citizen of your community, this would include following the laws, you should make every effort to do so. That said, even if we can achieve what the spirit of the law aims to achieve and we are still not afforded the ability to live within it, we need to evaluate things.
Tr: If for no other reason do you think people should own a copy of your book for the expansive glossary?
RM: It’s a great resource to have if you are looking to build anything, I found it helpful when I was selecting materials at the hardware store, watching videos online, and researching building techniques; it helped me navigate the jargon of the industry that can be overwhelming at times.
Tr: Water, Sewage, and Electricity? Do these comprise the holy trinity of tiny house living? What one piece of advice can you offer tiny house dreamers regarding the three?
RM: The access to these three things is pretty crucial in modern society, there are certainly way around this, but nothing beats having all three setup. Utilities is where municipalities flex their muscles when it comes to illegal structures. With each one of them they have a lot ways to discover your tiny house and block you from key parts of making your house livable. We take it for granted when we turn on our tap and clean water flows out, if you have ever hauled water before you know it is heavy and even the most resource conscious person uses a lot of it. You should be sure to make provisions on these three before you even start building because they can be difficult to obtain, expensive to install and sometimes not available at all.
To purchase this eBook designed to help you logically navigate all the red tape when it comes to housing visit the store link by clicking on the image below. The download includes original content as well as 180 pages of reference materials and free updates on future versions!