Tiny Houses Are In The IRC, What’s Next?

Macy M2 comments7043 views

If you’ve been following along over at Tiny House Build then you know that the previously proposed Tiny House Appendix was approved!  This is HUGE!  Like really HUGE!

BUT… there are no silver bullets, that does not mean it’s a free for all and you’re good to go! There is work to be done at your local level if you truly want a legal tiny house.  What was accomplished is that this appendix is a part of the 2018 IRC.  First, to be legal you will have to meet the requirements of the appendix.  As places adopt IRC 2018 it will take effect.  In many cases that will not happen organically (without extra help) until 2019 and beyond.  Codes move slow.  BUT, you can give things a push to get them moving faster by actively working with your city.

In my case, I am going to suggest my city moves to adopt the appendix now.  It exists, it’s a tool they can use.  It’s needed in my situation because I was served a code violation.  My option is to vacate or ‘make it legal’.  So I need to start the process to making my tiny house legal.  That means I need to shoot for an early adoption of this appendix.  I am in the middle of trying to set up the meetings to start that process, it has been on hold while we wait for the vote tallies to come back.  I am beyond happy for this amazing news that it passed!

So, my first step, my house does not currently meet this code but it can!  With some minor adjustments that I am more than willing to do (my loft does not have proper egress and my stairs are not wide enough).  I need to see if the city is open to an early adoption and then get my house up to code.

ALSO, this appendix does not address the wheels.  I will need to talk to a structural engineer and/or get the cities ‘okay’ on an approved foundation detail.  This seems like an oversight of the appendix but I assure you it was necessary to get to this point.  The wheels issue was one of many hiccups and the only one not really addressed by this, but it can be handled on a case by case with your local jurisdiction. As more get approved we would like to incorporate a ‘standard detail’… but that is a step for the next phase of the process.

SO, the parts I will have to work through with the city are how the house will be classified, whether it is a primary residence, an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) or something else.  Each type of space has impact fees.  These are fees paid to the city for the excess traffic on the streets, schools, medical, etc.  There is no classification for ‘tiny house impact fees’, I imagine something will have to be drawn up.  At some point my house will need to be inspected and approved.  And finally, the utilities will need addressed.  I may have to hook into utilities (which come with their own fees) but that is a part of using an infrastructure that allows access to all the reasons we love living in the city…

Right now there are a lot of questions to be answered, a lot of opportunities to be explored and I have a lot of hope that we can find a repeatable resolution!  I just hope we can get somewhere before we take off on our cross country travels! (April 19th is our date to set off if all goes well!:))

Thank you everyone who banded together with us to make this historic change!  I feel so lucky to be a part of this amazing community of change makers!  We are changing the world together and it’s A-MAZ-ING!

I will be cheersing you all tonight!  Thank you, thank you!  This community is unbelievable!





  1. Huge indeed! It’s been exciting watching this unfold, and I’m proud that my (teeny tiny) contributions have helped. All of you who have worked so hard are to be commended. Following rules and paying appropriate fees are a small price to pay when it allows greater freedom on this scale.
    Thank you.

  2. Yay! Congrats and thanks for the active role you’ve played. Good luck with the local city. These things do take time.

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