What Are the Best Cities for Living in a Tiny House?

There are some remarkable places where tiny houses are typically found. Some cities make for better tiny house platforms than others, but it is hard to tell which ones are tiny house friendly and which are not. 

What are the best cities for living in a tiny house? The most popular cities for tiny house living include: 

  • Spur, Texas
  • Brevard, North Carolina
  • Guyton, Texas
  • Fresno, California
  • Salida, Colorado
  • Walsenburg, Colorado

Some include specific tiny house communities, others boast breathtaking scenery, and others are popular because of the tiny house specific building codes and laws. 

Tiny houses are a growing phenomenon in the United States. The efficiency and sustainability of tiny house living has attracted many people in recent years; however, it is easier to build tiny houses in some cities than others. Many factors go into building a tiny house and location is a big one.

Best Cities for Tiny House Living

  1. Spur, Texas

Spur, Texas is known for its open arms to tiny house owners. Since 2014, it has been considered “the nation’s first tiny house-friendly town”. It has laws stating that tiny houses can be considered a secondary home that sits on the property of your primary residence if it is on wheels. However, they are open to tiny homes if they are built on a solid foundation. 

2. Brevard, North Carolina

The absolute stunning beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding Brevard, North Carolina makes it a perfect place for a tiny house whose occupants love nature. The city’s ordinances state that tiny homes must have a solid foundation instead of on wheels. Tiny houses must also be parked on the primary residence of the owner as a secondary dwelling. 

3. Guyton, Georgia

Guyton, GA contains a community of tiny houses which is considered one of the most sustainable in the country. This community is located on a farm and is considered the permanent residence of anyone who lives there. 

4. Fresno, California

Fresno, CA was one of the very first cities in California to allow tiny home dwellers to consider their tiny house as a secondary residence without any stipulations on it. 

5. Salida, Colorado

Salida, CO is home to another tiny home community. This one is hoping to be considered the largest in the country. They intend to have this community up and running with a sort of community building where they will offer different amenities. 

6. Walsenburg, Colorado

Walsenburg, Colorado is another place with lax building ordinances. I don’t use the term “lax” to mean that they don’t pay attention but more as a way to convey the less strict guidelines about tiny houses. This is still not a free for all, though. Their revised ordinances state that tiny homes must be built on a solid foundation on a residential lot. 

The main themes of these most popular tiny house destinations are the beauty of the landscape, the revised laws allowing tiny house living, and communities specifically designed to sustain tiny house living.  

The Landscape Factor

An obvious choice for anyone looking for a permanent residence is anywhere with absolutely beautiful scenery. There is nothing like looking out onto a magnificent vista from the comfort of your own home. 

The tiny house movement has attracted many people who wish to live a more sustainable life. Down sizing their lives are a huge part of that transition. Even though they got rid of a lot of material goods that they realized they don’t need, it doesn’t mean they have to give up the beautiful things in life.

It is actually easier to live closer to nature when you choose to live tiny. The specific landscape of each place that is considered for permanent residence is a huge decision making factor among owners.

The places that were listed above definitely meet the beauty requirements. Brevard, NC is a popular destination because of the mountains, trees, and overall scenery. 

Depending on you personality, hobbies, and tiny house living motivation, you may have different criteria that you’re hoping to meet. 

Laws

The difficulties that come hand in hand with tiny house living center around each state and cities’ laws regarding home-ownership.

As you have seen previously, most cities have laws in place specifically for tiny houses. Most cities require your dwelling to be built on a solid foundation rather than on wheels. 

It is important to those cities that you make sure you have a foundation that your house is attached to, no matter the size, to comply with their laws and regulations.

The issue they have with mobile tiny houses revolves around the lack of permanence. That may seem like a blindingly obvious statement, but the truth comes out when you thinking about property taxes and other requirements.

It is hard for a municipal to keep track of taxes owed to it when you don’t go through the proper home ownership channels. This may seem like a victory, but it is never a good idea to intentionally avoid obligations to the government.

Another example of law issues is that the tiny house on wheels is seen as a recreational vehicle instead of a permanent residence. The law behind this requires that you have a foundation if you want it to be considered your permanent residence.

Some of the more tiny house friendly cities allow you to park tiny houses on your permanent property to be used as a secondary home. This isn’t always what tiny house owners are looking for, though.

It is nearly impossible to have your tiny house on wheels count as a permanent residence. They are usually always considered RV’s, and you are not allowed to live in them permanently in a state without being in an RV park or building a foundation. 

This is where the divide starts between people who are hoping to settle down in a permanent place with their tiny homes and those who wish to travel and live more of the “nomad” lifestyle. 

There is nothing wrong with either option, but each come with their own set of road blocks. 

ADU’s Aside

A popular workaround is having the tiny house considered an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit). This follows the laws because it is built on the property that already has another residence on it. This may not seem like a workaround to you, but with the laws you have to work with, there is only so much you can do. 

ADU’s are commonly used as an additional dwelling to your home that is usually occupied by aging family members or other people of the like. This may not be what you’re looking for in a tiny home, but it’s always good to know your options. 

Tiny House Communities

For those owners who wish to live a more sustainable lifestyle but stay in the same place with their tiny houses, tiny house communities may be a good choice.

The idea of a tiny house community is relatively new, but they are a way for residents to have a tiny house considered their permanent residence without being built on the land of your actual permanent residence. 

Tiny house communities are dotting the nation. You have to look to find them, but they are there! It is a growing trend and allows people to live the life they want without being restricted by laws. 

Two examples of tiny house communities were mentioned in the beginning of this post. They are:

  • Green Bridge Farm in Guyton, Georgia
  • River View at Cleora in Salida, Colorado

The Green Bridge Farm community sits on 25 acres of farmland in Georgia. This tiny house community allows residents to have a permanent tiny house address in a comfortable community of people who share the same lifestyle. 

“Green Bridge Farm is one of the most popular and ecologically-friendly tiny house communities in the country.”

https://www.moving.com/tips/5-tiny-house-friendly-cities-in-america/

River View at Cleora located in Salida, Colorado is another fast-growing tiny house specific community. This community is hoping to grow to be the largest in the nation. They offer amenities to their residents in the form of a multi-functional community center. 

The benefits of tiny house communities are amazing for owners. There is little hassle involved in set up because the community is made for tiny house living. 

The addition of a community center allows residents to enjoy all the benefits of community living that are lost when homes are scaled down. One example might be the desire to host dinner parties and not having the square footage to accommodate all your friends. A community center that everyone can enjoy helps to alleviate those issues. 

Cost of Living

As can be expected, tiny houses have to comply with building standards of the cities they are located in.

This means that they also fluctuate price-wise with the housing market of that location. A certain sized house in Los Angeles, California could cost significantly more than a similiarly sized house is a rural town in North Carolina. 

This trend follows tiny houses. People tend to chose to make permanent tiny dwellings in cities that are cheaper in general. The cost of living is a huge factor when thinking about where to buy.

The benefit comes for those who choose to have their tiny house on wheels and register it as an RV. This makes it so that they can travel to more expensive places and park in an RV park for a short amount of time.

The disadvantages to that have to do with the constant moving around required of recreational vehicles. It is also hard to make a mobile tiny house a permanent residence by law. There is also the disadvantage of having to stay in the confines of an RV park when visiting new places.

RV Registration

Although we have touched on some of the disadvantages of tiny house RV’s, it may be just the thing you’re looking for. 

Having your tiny house registered as an official RV allows you the freedom of moving almost anywhere. You always have to be careful of specific state codes regarding RV’s, but they have become popular enough that most cities have special allowances for them.

This is also a perfect way to legally get around tiny house laws in each state. You aren’t required to have a foundation or park your tiny house on another permanent property if it is considered an RV.

However, the flip side to that is that you would not be able to stay in a permanent spot in one city if it is an RV. Laws prohibit that in most cities, so you would have to be pretty active to make this lifestyle worth it. 

The versatility of a mobile tiny house is perfect for the active adventurer. 

Any city that allows RV parking, has an RV specific park, campgrounds, etc. is a city that is perfect for your tiny home. Tumbleweedhouses.com points out the benefits of traveling around in a mobile tiny house with a list of places you can easily park. They suggest:

  • campgrounds
  • National Parks
  • State Parks
  • overnight parking lots
  • rest stops, etc

The open-mindedness of cities allows many choices for RV parking. If you choose to make a mobile tiny house your form of living, then any city can be considered tiny house friendly if you do your research!

Permanent vs. Vacation Tiny Homes

Something that may change your ideal tiny house spot is the knowledge of what you’re going to use it for. If you are hoping to buy one for your permanent residence then one place may be perfect for you, but if you are just planning on taking an easy going and sustainable vacation then another location entirely may be what you need.

Not only are tiny house vacation homes fun and economical, they are a great way to try out tiny house living before making the jump.

CNBC researched the most popular tiny vacation homes and here is what they came up with:

  1. Caravan Tiny House Hotel – Portland, Oregon
  2. Live a Little Chatt – Chattanooga, Tennessee
  3. Austin’s Original Tiny Home Hotel – Austin, Texas
  4. Getaway Tiny Homes – Stanardsville, Virginia
  5. WeeCasa – Lyons, Colorado
  6. Tuxbury Pond – South Hampton, New Hampshire
  7. United Tiny House Rentals – Eatonton, Georgia
  8. Blue Moon Rising – McHenry, Maryland
  9. Fireside Resort – Jackson Hole, Wyoming
  10. Tiny House Siesta – Sarasota, Florida

As you can see from the great variety of places in the list, there is no end to the possibilities of tiny house living. If you decide you want to try out a tiny house, or just want that vacation that’s just right for you, don’t be confined by the location options.

The place you vacation is usually completely different than where you hope to settle down. You don’t have to pay for luxurious resorts to have a vacation of a life time. You also don’t have to be confined by the seemingly narrow options for tiny house permanent residency. 

If you pay attention to laws, building codes, and regulation, then your possibilities are almost endless when thinking about what city to choose for your lifestyle. 

The tiny house revolution is upon us and you could find accommadations almost anywhere you want to go. Research is vital, but I don’t think you’ll ever be disappointed by your options.

Future Growth

The tiny house movement is still relatively fresh, so many cities haven’t caught up their laws to match. Over time we may see more and more tiny house specific laws and perhaps some more tiny house communities that emerge from the shadows. The possibilities are endless.

The growth pattern will definitely depend on if the tiny house movement is a short-lived fad or a fast growing tradition. If it is here to stay, then we can almost guarantee that more laws and ordinances will be enacted to accommodate the changes.

There are current movements being enacted that have people fighting for tiny houses becoming primary residents on their own. They are trying to fight their way from secondary residence laws to primary residences. With enough backing and momentum, laws could change relatively quickly on the national level for tiny houses. 

Whether you are a tiny house dedicated owner or a temporary vacation dweller, the fun of tiny houses is easy to see. There is always going to be a city that will meet your tiny house needs perfectly!

Related Questions

What states are tiny house friendly? It is possible to sustain a tiny house in most states in the United States. The most popular states are California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Texas. 

Do you need a permit for a tiny home? The size of the house does not change the laws regarding permits. Permits are necessary for tiny houses because they are somewhere people live. Each state will have different requirements, but permits are pretty universal. You will definitely need a building permit if you plan to construct a tiny house. 

Can you put a tiny home on your property? If you abide by regulations and ordinances required by your city or state, you can definitely put a tiny house on your property. The issue comes when wanting to have the tiny house as your primary residence.

In most states, you need to have your tiny house placed on a solid foundation in the yard of your permanent residence if you want to have a tiny house on your property. Laws include certain height, square footage, and utility requirements that take tiny houses out of the running for being a permanent residence. Check with your particular state’s laws for more details.

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