Category Archives: Minnesota

Minnesota Tiny House Code Fact Sheet

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Minnesota has written a tiny house code fact sheet:

If the tiny house does not:
• have a chassis and axles, or
• have a HUD manufactured home label, or
• have a RVIA park model label, then
• it is either a prefabricated or industrialized modular building subject to Minnesota Rules Chapters 1360 or 1361 or
site-built subject to Minnesota Rules Chapter 1309.

NOTE: Any modular unit of closed construction built away from the site of occupancy must be labeled (Minnesota Rules,chapters 1360 or 1361).
Closed construction means any building manufactured so that all portions cannot be readily inspected at the installation site without disassembly, damage to, or destruction thereof (Minnesota Rules, Chapter 1360.0200 Subp. 5).

Full text:

Also here: Minnesota Tiny House Fact Sheet

Minnesota Senate passes bill to allow ADUs as caregiver cottages

The Minnesota Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation on May 2 authorizing the use and zoning of “tiny homes” as a housing option for the elderly, disabled, and those nearing the end of life.

Sen. Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, was a strong advocate of the measure and praised the bipartisan bill as an innovative approach.

“Not only does this provide an opportunity for families to have a hands-on role in the care of a parent, spouse, or loved one, but it also allows for a dramatic reduction in health care costs,” said Westrom.

Westrom said it’s important for the state to develop innovative ways to prepare for more baby boomers who are set to retire.

“The state spends a significant part of our budget to help pay for the care of senior citizens, so anything we can do that provides for more cost effective independent living options is a good thing,” he said.

The “tiny homes,” also referred to as “granny pods,” are homes that are limited to 300 square feet and reside on the existing property of a family member.

The legislation allows for these temporary homes, which are often forbidden by local zoning ordinances, to remain for up to a year.

However, the resident of the home must be under health care.

Additionally, the bill allows for local municipalities to opt out of the requirements if they don’t want to allow the tiny homes.


Minnesota to allow tiny houses on wheels in backyards as caregiver units

05/04/2016 – The state is about to pass a law for tiny houses as ADU’s that would allow a tiny house on wheels in the backyard of a family member. The bill has passed to house and it has been forwarded to the Senate which is expected to pass it, then onward for the Governor to sign into law. It is expected to be effective July 1, 2016.

The units must also be ANSI 119.2 compliant and on trailers towable with at least a 1 ton truck.

The bill provides an initial conditional use permit term of six months, with an option for renewal:

04/19 Local entrepreneurs seek legislation to ease restrictions on locating tiny homes

The tiny homes are 240 square feet, with a shingled roof and seven windows. At 30 feet long and 8 feet wide, they are designed to accommodate wheelchairs.

The tiny homes are 240 square feet, with a shingled roof and seven windows. At 30 feet long and 8 feet wide, they are designed to accommodate wheelchairs. (Jesse Poole/Bulletin)

The tiny house movement isn’t only for the young and sprightly.

A New Brighton company is fielding another path for it, but to make it work, the company’s two young business partners are first wading through the waters of passing new legislation at the state Capitol.

Jesse Lammi and John Louiselle, both 24, founded NextDoor Housing almost two years ago in hopes of putting a practical spin on living small.

Their goal is to offer individuals who require assisted living a more affordable option than a stay at an institution. Instead, they propose a home outside a home, so to speak.

The company rents out its version of tiny houses, called “DropHomes,” made specifically with the aging and disabled in mind, and places them on the properties of family members wanting to help and be closer to their loved ones.

The issue? Local ordinances.

Though their idea has been largely well-received by leaders of various cities and state legislators, laws are laws, and it can take months to get the necessary city approvals and permits to place a tiny home next to an existing house.

Every community has different ordinances, but most prohibit parking trailers, let alone tiny houses, on residential lawns and driveways for a few weeks or months.

The Temporary Family Health Care Dwellings Bill, which the two entrepreneurs helped draft, would make uniform statewide provisions for their housing alternative. According to Lammi and Louiselle, the bill has already passed through two House committees and is awaiting a vote on the House floor.

Read more –

03/17 Minnesota considers tiny house option for disabled family members

inside a Next Door Housing tiny home

inside a Next Door Housing tiny home

Minnesota lawmakers are considering legislation to allow small houses for disabled family members to be temporarily placed next to existing homes.

Rep. Roz Peterson, R-Lakeville, wants allow a temporary dwelling for a family member near a property owner’s primary home. Its use would be recommended after a doctor’s written certification of either mental illness or physical disability.

“Sometimes people have an elderly relative who is either injured or needs to be in temporary hospice that wants to come home, but there is either not enough room or the house isn’t accessible anymore,” Peterson said. “This provides an option to take care of those loved ones at home.”

Only one temporary dwelling would be permitted per property, under the guidance of a caregiver older than 18 who is either a relative, legal guardian or health care agent. A permit would allow the dwelling to be established for a six-month period and could be extended for up to a year.

Approved by the House Aging and Long-Term Care Policy Committee, the bill now moves to the House Government Operations and Elections Policy Committee.

North Carolina, Virginia and New York have similar laws.

Temporary dwellings visually resemble a recreational vehicle or large trailer home. However, the qualifications in which they are built are like a home.

No larger than 300 square feet, each dwelling has its own electrical outlet and a self-enclosed septic tank accompanied by an insulated water intake that can be connected to the primary house on a property. They are constructed of exterior materials comparable in appearance and durability to materials used in residential construction. On the inside a full kitchen, bathroom and bedroom nook are designed to comply with American Disabilities Act requirements. Heating and air conditioning are available.

According to NextDoor Housing, which specializes in the creation of temporary dwellings, one can be rented for about $1,500 a month, or bought for around $55,000 depending on amenities. A nursing home can cost more than $62,000 per year on average in Minnesota…

One concern came over the power of local governments to control the use and location of temporary dwellings, including utility management and renewals.

Burke tried to petition the Apple Valley City Council to allow a temporary dwelling on her lot, but was told it would not be possible.

“This could really put a city council in a bind if, for whatever reason, they did not want to extend a renewal and are now in a position of evicting grandma,” Rep. Barb Yarusso, D-Shoreview, said.

As written, a city would be mandated to allow the temporary dwelling upon a doctor’s certification.

Read more –

Aging population leads Norwood Young America to consider granny flats

12/19/2015 – Norwood Young America, MN is the latest metro-area city to consider so-called granny flats to accommodate its aging community.

The City Council discussed zoning for accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, during a Planning Commission meeting Tuesday. ADUs are small secondary housing units built on lots that already have a house.

City Council members have proposed offering the option of ADUs to aging residents who want to stay in the community, where they can be close to family.

The proposal could be approved early next year.

Read more –

09/24 Tiny House Movement Catching on in Southeast Minnesota

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The tiny house movement is catching on in southeast Minnesota, according to a group interested in scaling down. About 20 people, many of which either have built or are in the process of building a small home, met a Forager Brewery.

Mattie and Steven Moore spoke to the group. The husband and wife say they quit their corporate jobs to build a tiny house and move to the Rochester area.

“The Rochester area just kind of came up because there are other tiny house builders in the area,” Steven said. “There’s the possibility of having a tiny house community.”
The group meets monthly and includes Mayo clinic workers, architects, and former corporate execs who are sick of living large.

Members of Tiny House People of SE Minnesota meet monthly to discuss building and living in tiny houses. The group has close to 200 members on Facebook, and draws people from Austin and Clear Lake areas, in addition to Rochester.

Read more and watch the video

09/18 A house but No Home, due to zoning issues

tiny house in limbo in St. Cloud, MN

tiny house in limbo in St. Cloud, MN

The tiny house sits empty on the grounds of St. John’s Episcopal Church in south St. Cloud, MN…

And the search continues for a solution after the St. Cloud Zoning Board of Appeals last month denied a request to amend the church’s conditional use permit to allow the house to be used as a residential structure there…

“We certainly aren’t opposed to finding houses for the homeless,” St. Cloud Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Drew Hultgren said. “In fact, we commended the church and the coalition for the work they are trying to do.

“It was rejected simply because there isn’t anything in the land development code that would have permitted it. The closest classification it fits is an RV, and those aren’t permitted under code to be used as a permanent residency. Unless the code changes, it was the board’s consensus that we couldn’t approve it.”

Read more

Building code map

Handy map of the US. Just click on your state (in the link, not on the picture) to see which building codes are in effect:

International Code Council Map

International Code Council map

Park Model RV Regulations, State-by-State

The RVIA has provided a table showing regulations by state for park model RVs

What is a park model? 

Below is a description from the RVIA:

On July 1, 2012, RVIA created a new membership category for manufacturers of park model RVs (PMRVs). A park model RV (also known as a recreational park trailer) is a trailer-type RV that is designed to provide temporary accommodation for recreation, camping or seasonal use. PMRVs are built on a single chassis, mounted on wheels and have a gross trailer area not exceeding 400 square feet in the set -up mode. They are certified by their manufacturers as complying with the ANSI A119.5 standard for recreational park trailers.

PMRVs are most often used in recreational vehicle campgrounds. They may be owned by the campground and rented to guests, or they may be brought in and used exclusively by their owners on a site rented or leased from the campground. They can also be placed by their owners on private property. These RVs are used for recreational purposes only. They are not meant to be permanently affixed to the property, they do not improve property values in any way, and they are neither designed nor intended by their manufacturers to be used as permanent residences.

Two different types of park model RVs are offered. One type is less than 8′ 6″ in width and is designed for frequent travel on the highways while the other and more popular type is wider than 8′ 6″ (usually 12′ in width), and must be transported with special movement permit. The 8′ 6″ unit typically is expandable when it reaches its destination utilizing slide-outs or tip-outs. The wider units, being less mobile, are usually sited in a resort or RV park location for an extended term, typically several years. Park model RVs are titled as vehicles by the various states. This is because PMRVs are built on permanent chassis such that they can be and are moved either within a campground or between campgrounds.