Category Archives: New Hampshire

04/03 More good news! New Hampshire approves tiny houses on foundations in backyards

Matt Bonner's tiny house on wheels would not be okay in NH backyards, but tiny houses on foundations soon will be.

Matt Bonner’s tiny house on wheels would not be okay in NH backyards, but tiny houses on foundations soon will be.

In Manchester, the 19th-century mill buildings, the affordable housing of their day, have become upscale apartments. A two-bedroom unit in a building far from the city’s downtown is offered at $1,350 per month. Apartments in mill buildings downtown rent for much more than that.

Most of New Hampshire and the nation is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis. One in four renters, and one in three low-income renters, pay more than one-third of their income in rent. Home ownership is at its lowest level in two decades. Most millennials, burdened as they are with student loans, can’t afford homes or would rather rent than own.

The situation is severe in Concord, where the rental vacancy rate is under 2 percent, the lowest of any city in the state. That affects not just the availability of housing for the homeless, but nearly everyone, including the young people the city wants to keep or attract and the employers who want to hire them. The shortage is a drag on the economy.

Last week, Monitor reporter David Brooks wrote about a legislative change that, in a small way, could help.

The law, which goes into effect on June 1, 2017 [note, other article just says June, implying June of this year], gives homeowners the right, despite local ordinances to the contrary, to add accessory housing units to their home. No longer do the unit’s residents have to be relatives. They will be open to anyone.

Last year, the Center for New Hampshire Public Policy Studies found a fundamental mismatch between the state’s housing stock and what the market wants.

The state and Concord are chock-full of big, old homes, or big suburban homes, but today’s buyers want to rent or buy small starter homes and apartments, preferably in the center city…

Given the shortage, a few cities and towns have increased density limits for workforce housing and made other permitting and zoning changes to encourage construction. That helps.

Another trend, the “tiny house” movement, also holds promise.

Read more here –

and here –

01/05 The Big Meaning of those Tiny Homes

Concord Monitor editorial
[Editorial from the Concord Monitor: the wisdom of New Hampshire shines through in realms beyond presidential races.]

Should a tiny house be classified as a house? What about if it’s on a trailer? Is it an RV? A manufactured home?

The answer is, “All of the above.” Tiny houses require their own classification, and town and city officials should get busy drafting ordinances before they have multiple proposals before them. Discussing each project separately without parameters specific to tiny houses will be unnecessarily challenging and emotional – and, most of all, time consuming. It’s better to move the starting point as far along as possible. Our hope is that when officials do sit down to draw up or amend the rules, they will be inspired to reward people who want to trade square footage and belongings for people and the outer world.

The homes and their residents will most likely not be a burden to public safety or school systems, nor are they likely to negatively affect property values or the “character” of a town. They are the humblest of dwellings, with, we assume, the humblest of residents.

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.

Free Online Zoning Codes

Here are two sources of online codes:

  • Municodes from the Nation’s leading legal publisher.
  • The American Legal Publishing Company provides a free online library of state and municipal codes for most locations. Click on the map to go to the library and chose your state and city. Then search or scroll for descriptions of minimum lot sizes, setback rules, etc.

    American Legal Publishing Compay online library

    American Legal Publshing Company online library

    Information is available for all states except these 13: AL, CO, ID, KS, LA, MO, MS, ND, NV, UT, VT, WA, WY.