Why a tiny house community – is it even necessary?

If you’re relatively new to the Tiny House thing, perhaps you’re wondering WHY a Tiny House Community (or tiny house subdivision, tiny house village, tiny house co-housing situation, etc) is even necessary…

Here’s the thing: tiny houses on wheels (THOWs) is a relatively new thing.  Smaller houses of course were the norm and used to be everywhere (back when economics actually made sense, lol – subject for another blog post!).  But these newer Tiny Houses on wheels are unlike anything else that’s come before them.

You may think it’s no big deal, but your local zoning and building departments think otherwise!

In fact, a lot of times, they don’t know what to think: is it a house?  Is it a trailer?  Is a mobile home?  Is it an RV?  Is it a travel trailer?…

The answer is no.

While some tiny house companies like Tumbleweed like to classify their tiny houses as Tiny House RVs – as an exclusivity thing to justify their higher tiny house purchase prices (as they currently are one of the only tiny house building companies to certify their homes as RVIA approved), most tiny houses do not fit into any of the above categories, and therefore your local building or zoning department doesn’t know what to do with them.  And so be default, they outlaw them and classify them as illegal to reside in a tiny house in most locals (and even if they do have the RVIA stamp, RVs are not designed to be lived in as a permanent residence so that doesn’t fly with zoning officials either).

Now this kinda sucks, because although tiny houses are the solution for many of the problems cities face – from affordable housing, to less pollution and a smaller footprint, and much more – they often won’t allow them (legally).

The illegal tiny house route

Source: http://tinyhousegiantjourney.com/2015/10/30/tiny-house-eviction/

Because of this, many tiny housers will simply live in defiance of the law (illegally) and just hope they don’t reported by their neighbors.  Of course, the house is on wheels, so there’s not a lot at stake if you do have to move (you just hook up the truck and tow it somewhere else), but if you really liked where you were and had a good setup, it’s not fun to have to move because someone else says you have to (mucks up the whole freedom thing somewhat too).

The “park your tiny house in an RV Park” option

rvpark12Another option that works for many is RV parks.  Of course, there are restrictions in RV Parks, like not staying more than 30 days for example, and a lot of them technically don’t allow tiny houses if they don’t meet their RVIA code or other criteria.  (But I have yet to hear of a tiny house being denied, unless it was just too big or something; after all these are pretty nice, neat houses and there’s no real reason to turn away revenue like that)

But perhaps the only option for some may be living in an intentional tiny house community.

The Tiny House Community Option

Now there is no real standard definition of a tiny house community that I’m aware of as again it’s pretty new.  There are a few tiny house communities around the country but they are pretty rare unless you live in Portland which seems to love tiny houses more than the municipalities in other places across the country (though Fresno, CA just passed some great new exciting “tiny house specific” legislation!)

So a tiny house community could be 20 tiny houses on an RV or mobile-home park-style setup with concrete pads and utility hookups where the houses are lined up side, like this upscale rental resort in Napa Valley, CA, right in the heart of Napa.

riverpointe napa

Or it could be a substantially larger piece of property where neighbors can’t even see each other because of the distance they are apart (for more of the individual home-steading type) – or anything in between.

Typically you’d find a common area or common house structure for communal and community events or space to rent/reserve to throw parties or larger gatherings from time to time than would fit in your tiny house, a place for meetings, a place to hang out and play games or just socialize.  There might also be a community vegetable garden for fresh fruits and vegetables, or farm animals for fresh milk and eggs, or nature paths for walking around the property.  These are just some of the features and amenities a tiny house community could offer, which will depend on your location, neighbors, community guidelines and community.  The possibilities are endless!

A tiny house community could be tiny houses you can rent for a duration of time, or you could rent the land and own your tiny house, or buy into the project as a member-owner with your own tiny house to own both the land and your house with neither a house or land payment (or a combination of the above).  Each variation has its advantages, but either way you go you can expect to live more and pay less with more mobility, freedom, and I’d argue, enjoyment.

Tiny House Communities in the works

We are actually in the process currently of building a few tiny house communities across the United States.  We have a small one large enough for probably 4-8 tiny houses in Huntsville, Alabama (Rocket City) and another under construction in East Albuquerque, New Mexico.  If you’d like the latest updates on these and other tiny house communities and projects and other cool tiny house stuff, click here to opt-in for updates if you haven’t already.

I appreciate you,

– Hans Schoff

im_building_a_tiny_house_banner_pic

(Click on the picture above or on this link here to follow along in my tiny house build progress)

Tesla Home Battery – Off-grid Tiny House Living About to Get Much Easier

Freedom is one of the many great benefits of Tiny House Living and living in a Tiny House Community.

One such freedom is the freedom to live off grid and have your own sources for power, water, heat, etc.  A typical power setup might include a wind generating turbine, a hydroelectric setup or a solar panel array.

Of course, living in a Tiny House your need for power and electricity is greatly reduced (less rooms to light, appliances or devices to power in standby mode, etc) and much more efficiently used (aka smarter) and therefore your power generation requirement is less.

However, when the sun’s not shining or the wind’s not blowing, etc, your ability to generate power is limited or removed altogether.  Typically this problem is solved with a battery backup system which is charged by the sun, wind or water power generation and then in the evening you run off batteries.

And now Tesla motors has announced their new Home Battery product, coming soon, that will surely be more efficient, more powerful, slimmer design, lighter in weight and better performing that what’s currently available – all elements which impact the livability and add to the quality of life in Tiny House living.  And with lithium car batteries that go 300 miles before needing to recharge, living off grid will be even easier and more common very soon…

Needless to say, this is a very exciting development.  Tesla Motors is the same electric car company out of California that has produced the Tesla S which is a fully electric vehicle that some compare to gas-fuled supercars for its style, performance from 0-60 mph, etc PLUS it can go upwards of 300 miles without needing to be recharged (Tesla X the all-wheel-drive SUV version coming soon…).

Watch the video below to learn more.

Tesla Motors Announces A New Home Battery; Living Off The Grid Will Soon Be Status Quo

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, announced Wednesday that the company is working on a new kind of battery that would be used to power homes. Based on Tesla’s lithium-ion battery technology, the new battery is expected to help the company become a leader in the growing home energy-storage market.”

More info at: http://offgridquest.com/news/tesla-motors-announces-a-new-home-batter

 

Exciting developments for the Tiny House Community and off-grid living for sure!  Learn more about Tiny Houses and the Tiny House Community we’re creating with the New American Dream Project here.

I appreciate you!

– Hans Schoff

Hans mobile office

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