BSC Summit

Monday, September 11, 2017

Can Tiny Houses Be the Answer to Affordable Housing

What the heck is a tiny house? Is it a home at all? Will the tiny house be part of the aftermath recovery of Harvey and Irma as well as replacement cottages in parts of the Northwest that are being ravaged by wildfires?

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When states look at tiny houses will they just see glorified RV’s that can’t be parked permanently unless it is done illegally? When the IRC standards are implemented for tiny houses will they need third party inspections before they can be built like all other housing?

Or will they continue to be built by factories and in people's back yards without code? Will cities and towns amend their zoning to allow tiny houses if they have the third party IRC seal or will they continue to ban them or overlook their dangers?

Will it take a couple of tragic deaths from tiny house fires or carbon monoxide poisonings before the Federal Government begins taking a tough stand against non-IRC approved homes?

From all indications the tiny house movement is mostly Millennial driven but at some point reality has to set in that these homes cost two or three times as must as a travel trailer of approximately the same size that are built to RV standards. And if tiny houses on wheels are allowed within city limits, why not travel trailers?

This is not a slam of tiny houses but there are still too many questions that need addressed before tiny houses can be considered a real housing alternative. There are way too many shed manufacturers pushing their products as a way to live off the grid or placed in someone’s back yard as an acceptable living space.

Just because you can cook a meal and take a nap in it doesn’t make it a legal dwelling unit any more than a duck stopping in a patch of wet grass makes it a wetland.

I personally love well made tiny houses but there are just entirely too many types of cardboard boxes, dumpsters, garden shed and pallet built tiny houses out there.


9 comments:

Tom Hardiman said...

Coach, what I don't get - if people are so drawn to the tiny houses, why not just get a very small IRC compliant modular home? Granted, that's not quite as catchy as "tiny home" and may be 500 sf instead of 120.

FEMA got raked over the coals after Katrina (and rightfully so) for putting victims in RVs for extended periods of time. HUD code manufactured housing won't withstand this type of weather event. And tiny homes are not built to either HUD or IRC.

Just because something is cool, doesn't mean its the best answer.

Gina Knouse said...

This is not a cool thing, this is the only way millions of people will ever be able to afford a new home. We don't need more government regulations we need them to keep their nose out of something that doesn't need fixed.

The article asks a lot of questions all aimed at making it seem like a tiny house is a bad way to live. Where do you suggest people live that are being forced out decent living because of Trump's tearing down the American dream of home ownership?

Anonymous said...

OMG, the Trump card. He is no more responsible for people wanting to live in tiny houses any more than he is responsible for Harvey and Irma because of his climate change views.

As a modular home manufacturer the tiny house movement needs to stop and take a look at the dangers inherent in tiny houses. Modcoach only pointed out a couple of them including the house catching fire. How do people escape a fire in the entry area while sound asleep in their snug loft bed.

Anonymous said...

Let's be real!!! The USA Already has SAFE, AFFORDABLE HOUSING NOW !!!! FEDERAL HUD BUILT HOMES !!! To the GOVERNMENT SPECIFICATIONS....Come On!!! 14x40 on up !! I Don't Get It !!! They could build 12' if needed (for easier transportation & accessibility.) COMMON SENSE !!!

Tom Hardiman said...

Gina - replying to your comment " We don't need more government regulations we need them to keep their nose out of something that doesn't need fixed.

No one is asking for MORE regulations. But you seem to be suggesting that builders of tiny homes should not have to follow the EXISTING regulations, like the rest of us have to do.

If you want the American Dream of home ownership, it comes with some strings attached. And some of those strings include the building codes.

I think the codes can be over-burdensome and costly at times, but they exist to provide a minimum level of safety for the occupant - something that you don't seem to want for tiny homes.

Is that what you are saying? Maybe I misunderstood.

Kam Valgardson said...

We built an IRC compliant tiny home, but it's not on wheels (which makes it IRC compliant:) ).

www.sledhaus.net.

Problem here is zoning, not building codes. 600 sf, 15' x 45', and built like a tank, this guy will last a hundred years and keep on going!

Jessie said...

I don't understand the fascination with tiny houses. Having lived in a 380 sq ft park model for 7 years I decided to drive to a local shed builder and look at one of his tiny houses. I could never live in that. 160 sq ft of everything miniature; appliances, seating and bathroom. Plus very little storage and it was built on the same trailer you find at tractor supply. My home has a beautiful kitchen with full size appliances, a compact and efficient bedroom with a second entry door and a nice living/dining area with a big sliding door leading onto a 6 x 20 deck. And it came with a factory warranty. This is a fad that will phase out just as quickly as it started. Park Models Forever!

Josh Margulies said...

Young lady, we all believe in home ownership and this administration is pledged to reducing regulation so the dream will live on.

As builders we are concerned with code. We are conserned with life safety. But most of all we are business people and if you like them then we want to build them for you and make you happy and make money ��.

Now this is hard for me but I am a liberal man when it comes to independence and cool shit that millennials seem to love. This is plainly no passing fad. It has enormous potential. I have no clue as to how to go about it. But we will be going about it. We may sound like assholes at first. But we hear you sweetie. I promise.

josh margulies said...

Young lady, we all believe in home ownership and this administration is pledged to reducing regulation so the dream will live on.

As builders we are concerned with code. We are conserned with life safety. But most of all we are business people and if you like them then we want to build them for you and make you happy and make money ��.

Now this is hard for me but I am a liberal man when it comes to independence and cool shit that millennials seem to love. This is plainly no passing fad. It has enormous potential. I have no clue as to how to go about it. But we will be going about it. We may sound like assholes at first. But we hear you sweetie. I promise.