Considerations for Owners of Tiny Homes

Real estate is extremely expensive in the Bay Area. In fact, according to Business Insider, San Francisco was the most expensive city to rent a one-bedroom apartment–a problem that tiny home proponents believe they have a solution for. Unfortunately, while simple living, and less expensive living, with a tiny home may sound appealing, the zoning laws surrounding tiny homes in San Francisco are anything but simple, and are quite unaccommodating to tiny homes.

Zoning Laws Set by Recommendations of the International Code Council

According to tiny home builder Andrew Morrison, “Easily upwards of 90 percent of tiny-house owners are living illegally, when it comes to zoning,” as reported by The American Bar Journal. Here in San Francisco, zoning laws are strict, and essentially forbid tiny homes on leased and even owned land in and outside of the city. These zoning laws are essentially set by the recommendations of the International Code Council, which is a domestic trade group that mandates that a home’s main room needs to be at least 120 square feet, and no habitable room should be under 70 square feet. Because the maximum size a tiny home reaches is around 500 square feet, and most tiny homes are around 120 square feet, the International Code Council’s zoning recommendations make it virtually impossible to legally live in a tiny home in San Francisco.

Registering Your Tiny Home With the Department of Motor Vehicles

A common solution to this zoning obstacle is to put wheels on the tiny home and register it with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). However, time limitations on parking it in any one place do arise, which means that you would have to move around frequently. Moreover, a tiny home on wheels is considered an RV, which cannot be parked and lived in on public streets, most parking lots, or in a friend or family member’s backyard or driveway.

Call a San Francisco Attorney Real Estate Attorney for Legal Advice Today

If you have questions about living in a tiny home, zoning laws, or a real estate purchase or sale, we strongly recommend talking to an attorney first. Feel free to reach out to the San Francisco real estate attorneys here at Lvovich & Szucsko, P.C. Call us today to schedule a free initial consultation. We are eager to help you find a solution to your tiny house roadblocks, as well as to help you with the purchase or sale of a business space, house, or condominium.