Will the”tiny home” craze that is sweeping the US (and monopolizing your Pinterest board) make its’s way to the South Bay?
First a little intel on what constitutes a tiny home (courtesy of Manta.com):
- Tiny homes are houses built within 400 square feet or less area.
- They can be built on wheels or with foundation.
- Tiny homes came into popularity at a time when the country was suffering from financial crisis. They were made as an alternative to costly home buildings and rentals.
- Tiny homes are also built in compliance with local building codes. However, zoning can be a challenge to tiny homeowners, especially in areas where houses are required to be at least 1000 square feet or more.
- Tiny homes have very simple housing plans and they can be built by local home builders. Most homeowners provide their own building plans. Others that employ contractors purchase tiny home plans from companies that manufacture tiny houses.
On paper, tiny homes sound like they could offer solution to the exuberantly high cost of buying a home in California – for millennials and couples that is… the complications of tiny home living multiple when the number on inhabitants increase.
However, tiny homes, according to a 2015 analysis by the Pew Charitable Trust, are “cheap and energy efficient,” but “lost in the enthusiasm is the fact that in many places, it is hard to live in them legally.”
Finding appropriate hosting land is difficult, particularly in densely developed communities with strict zoning laws on the number and size of units allowed.
Often tiny homes are built on trailers, but that option can run into issues with the local government’s restrictions on overnight parking or “camping” on one’s own land for more than 30 days. Even in places that allow indefinite camping is allowed, it can be difficult or illegal to install utilities.
In the South Bay, where available land is limited and zoning laws, tiny homes may, legally, not be the best fit at this time.
However, we can look to Fresno where recently changed zoning and development code now allow small homes on wheels to be used as independent living quarters. Previously, the mobile units could only serve as temporary lodging. This scenario presents an example of a city adapting to the housing needs of the community.
We can continue to hope that tiny homes are able to carve out a space in the South Bay community. Not only do they allow young professionals and older adults to experience the pride of home ownership without being crushed under enormous debt/mortgages, they are also environmentally friendly. Many tiny homes employ the use of solar panels, rain water systems and other environmentally conscience amenities.
In the meantime, browse a few of our favorite tiny home styles and try to envision where in the South Bay these homes could fit in!