California Tiny House laws are made for the benefit of the entire state, but not knowing what this law says can ruin your Tiny Home aspirations before they’ve even begun.
The reason why this sort of information is crucial for you is because not all states in the US are accomodating of Tiny Houses.
Yes it’s true. There are some states that outright forbid it and some that are absolutely pro Tiny life.
That’s why it’s very important you know and understand the laws of the land before you start building or buying. You want to avoid a situation where some years down the line, the state of California comes knocking on your door to demolish your property.
By the end of this article, you should be able to decide if indeed California is the ideal state to float your Tiny Home dreams.
Living in California: The good, bad & ugly.
If you ask a Californian what it’s like to live in California, they’d probably say 3 things: the weather is great, there are a lot of tourist attractions and oh, it’s darn experience.
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Who wouldn’t wanna live the Los Angeles lifestyle? Compared to many parts of the US, California boasts of warm weather every now and then. And don’t even get me started on the beaches.
Perhaps it’s a good thing that you’re considering living in a Tiny House in California because as I mentioned earlier, things are expensive here.
As far back as 2020, the average cost to buy a house in Cali was $600,000 (a whooping 88% more than the national average) and the average cost of renting a 2 bedroom was $1,900 (55% higher than the national average).
But like I said, thank God you’re not planning on living in a regular house.
Frequently asked questions about California Tiny House laws
A lot of you have so many questions on your minds as regards the legalities surrounding owning a Tiny Home in California.
This is a good thing because it shows that you’re responsible. After all, ignorance is not an excuse in the eyes of the law.
We’ll try and answer just 5 of the most popular questions asked on Google:
Q1. Can I put a Tiny Home on my property in California?
We’ll, yes…in a way. The California Department of Housing and Community Development states that you can put your Tiny Home on your property as long as it’s placed on a foundation or Chassis with Axle (like a THOW), among other things.
Q2. Do you need a permit for a Tiny House in California?
You’ll need a permit only if you’re building or placing your Tiny House on a foundation. If you’re placing it on wheels, you only need have it registered with the California DMV.
Q3. Where in California can you live in a Tiny House?
In other words, what counties or cities allow Tiny Houses in California. You’ll find it easiest to build, lease or buy a Tiny structure in either Fresno, San Luis Obispo, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Jose or Santa Cruz.
Q4. Are Tiny Houses legal in Los Angeles, San Diego, El Dorado county & Sacramento?
Los Angeles: Yes. It wasn’t always so but recently, the LA laws have become more favourable to Tiny living.
San Diego: Yes, they are legal…as long as it’s a Tiny House on wheels.
El Dorado: Yes they are legal but only under certain circumstances. However, they are considered as ‘not permanent’ so be sure to find out what that means on their official website.
Sacramento: Yes, Tiny Homes are legal in Sacramento as long as they are not movable and conform with the building codes of a residential property.
Q5. Where can you park a Tiny house in California?
These, if located in Cali, have already fulfilled all legal bottlenecks and all you have to do is pay the parking fee and tow your trailer there.
California building code & laws for Tiny Houses
What does the Californian Government building code say about Tiny Houses? What do they permit and what do they abhor?
According to the California Building Standards Code (CBSC), a building can be said to be a Tiny House only if it fulfills the following requirements:
A ceiling that is at least 7 feet and 6 inches in height.
It must have at least one room with a total floor area of 120 square feet or more.
And it must meet basic requirements for light, ventilation, plumbing, emergency exits, and smoke with carbon monoxide detection etc.
For THOW, the California Tiny House laws state that these are permitted as long as they:
- Licenced with the California DMV
- Are towable by a bumper hitch, frame-towing hitch, or fifth-wheel connection.
- Have their wheels and undercarriage skirted.
- Meet the size requirements of the right length and height for highway operations.
- Have a first floor of up to 100 sq metres of living space.
- Must resemble a typical home (sorry, RV).
Riverside County and San Bernardino County laws are Tiny House friendly to the extent that they are built as temporary structures built at the backyard of a regular house that has the required permits.
Furthermore, the above can be contravened if the Tiny Home is built on a land that has not been zoned for Tiny living.
I know all this can seem like unnecessary hassle the Government puts us through. I couldn’t agree with you more.
When all is said and done, just make sure that in the worst case scenario, you’re building in one of the Tiny House friendly cities in California, that is, Fresno, San Luis Obispo, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Jose and Santa Cruz.
How do you bypass the California Tiny House laws?
So you’ve taken a look at the rules and regulations and you’re still bent on launching your Tiny living in this beloved State.
How then does one bypass these laws and still live your Tiny House dream?
It’s easy actually – simply go build in a Tiny House loving State like Texas, Oregon, North Carolina or Colorado.
You can’t fight the law, guys. It’s not worth all the hassle. You know what they say, “If you cant beat em, leave em!”
California Tiny House laws: Conclusion
And there you have it!
With all of the above mentioned, I’m curious to know, are you still interested in building or buying a Tiny House in California.
Do let me know in the comments section below.
Also, consider sharing this post on your various social media platforms so other people can know what you now know.