Where Do I Park My Tiny Home?


When starting to think about living tiny, there are many questions people have.  One of the most popular questions, and one that really needs some attention, is where will I park my tiny home?  The tiny house movement is still in its infant stages and because of that, many state and local authorities have not put much thought into how to go about zoning and regulating the tiny house.  

Because most tiny homes are on a trailer, they are generally considered a recreational vehicle(RV).  This will actually help out when trying to decide where to park your home.  Let’s first look at two options that may be available to you.

Phone A Friend

One of the first things you can do when you purchase your tiny home, is to ask a friend who already owns a home, if you can park your tiny house in the back yard or their driveway.  Although this may not be ideal for you or your friend, most states and local authorities will allow it for a period of time.  Generally in most areas you will not be asked to move unless someone reports or complains about it.

How About a RV Park?

Another option includes parking your tiny home is a RV park.  As we said earlier, because authorities are not completely sure how to classify a tiny home, most areas consider a tiny home on wheels, a recreational vehicle.  Therefore many RV parks are now allowing tiny homes to park there for a fee as other recreational vehicles.  But there is a catch.  

RVIA Certification and Your Tiny House

The Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) regulates compliance with building standards of recreational vehicles in the areas of electrical, plumbing, heating, and fire safety.  Most RV parks will require your tiny home to not only have been built built by an RVIA certified manufacturer, but also have the RVIA Certified Seal displayed. ( I have read many comments online saying that some parks require it, while others do not, but to be on the safe side I would make sure it’s certified and displayed.)

So what does the RVIA certification mean actually?  Let’s take an abbreviated look at it.  We will hit the highlights so you have an idea of why the RVIA certification is so important.  This list is quite exhaustive so hang with me here.

  • The home must be built for earthquake zone 4 and be able to stand winds of 130 mph.
  • Moisture barriers, vapor barrier, insulation, fans, and vents must be used to minimize condensation.
  • Be secured to a trailer that can hold the weight of the home, belongings, and occupants.
  • Weigh less than 10,000 pounds.
  • Use quality materials meeting the International Building Code, Residential Code.
  • Corrosion resistant fasteners should be used where the house attaches to the trailer.
  • For engineered straps, hurricane clips, tension ties, joist hangers, and header hangers, recommended fasteners should be used.
  • Steel frames must be secured to the trailer by welding to the trailer frame.
  • Wood frames must meet the guidelines for earthquake and high-wind loading in the        International Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings.
  • Must be properly sealed with flashing, vapor barriers, and moisture barriers.
  • Roof must be vented.
  • Exhaust fan must be present in the kitchen or bathroom.
  • Roof and floor insulation must be at least R19.
  • Wall insulation must be at least R13.
  • Must have insulation around wheel wells and between the trailer and the floor joists.
  • Tiny house appliances should be installed to withstand road travel.
  • Pipes must be fastened to withstand road travel.
  • Gas connections made with threaded fittings must be made with high flexibility and high vibration resistant pipe thread compound.
  • Appliance used in, on, or attached to, the house must be UL approved, or considered safe for residential use. 
  • Electrical and gas systems must be provided with a way to disconnect. 
  • Drinking water should be supplied by food grade hoses, not standard garden hoses.
  • Plumbing must be vented through roof or side wall.
  • Sinks, showers, and toilets must be plumbed into a holding tank that can be emptied at an appropriate RV station. Exception: Incinerating and composting toilets are acceptable.
  • Electric heating systems must be approved (UL listed) and installed in accordance with the manufacturers instructions and local codes.
  • Wood stoves must be EPA approved and use EPA approved piping. 
  • A CO (carbon monoxide) detector is required in the general living area and each bedroom.
  • If propane heaters are used, propane gas detectors with electrical propane shut-off valves must be installed.
  • Kerosene heaters are not permitted.
  • Must be built to NFPA 1192 Chapter 6 standards that specify fire safety requirements. 
  • If a loft is present, a stable means of getting to and from the loft is required.
  • Smoke detectors are required in each bedroom and in the general living area.
  • Fire extinguishers must be readily available.

So the short and simple…when buying a tiny home make sure the builder is RVIA certified.

The tiny home adventure is a new and exciting realm of possibilities, but it is extremely young in its evolution.  With that being said, building and zoning laws must catch up.  Many states are working to get there but have a ways to go.  You may read somewhere that states are wanting to outlaw the tiny home and it’s illegal to live in one.  I really don’t think that is the case.  I just believe they are not for sure what to do with the tiny home movement as of yet.  As you can surely see, states and local authorities have made great strides in helping out the tiny home owner and keeping everyone safe. I truly believe that one day we will be able to park our tiny home wherever we choose.  Just be patient…

Until then…Live Tiny!

Photo: Shutterstock

F.A.Q. - What is a Tiny Home?

There is no set definition as to what constitutes a tiny house. However, a residential structure under 500 square feet is generally considered a tiny home.

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