I’m happily surprised by how much bigger the tiny house movement has grown in the past year. Tiny houses have received so much positive press that they’re no longer an oddity. New meetup groups are forming; old ones are growing. There are now 19 tiny house meetup groups in the USA and Canada. The Florida Tiny House Enthusiasts group has grown to 157 members. There are many new builders and bloggers, and there are so many workshops and events now that I’ve added maps and a calendar to my web site.
Is this a fad that will fade, or will the tiny house movement become mainstream – another choice like living in an apartment or a condo?
Interestingly, seniors are embracing tiny homes. As baby boomers and Gen X’ers get older, they’re moving out of the large 3 and 4 bedroom homes where they raised their families, and they’re trying out tiny homes. Some builders have told me that their biggest group of customers are single women over 50. Tiny homes can be kept in the backyards of younger family members, allowing seniors to stay close to people who can love and care for them. If seniors continue to embrace tiny houses and if tiny houses are viewed by counties as a way to reduce the cost of assisted living and nursing care, then building codes and zoning regulations are more likely to adapt to accommodate tiny houses in “normal” neighborhoods.
It’s possible to petition your county to create an overlay district, creating an area of a few blocks in a suburb or city, where tiny houses are allowed (either as accessory dwelling units on foundations or as tiny houses on wheels) without each homeowner having to request special permission. Elizabeth Roberts, an Atlanta attorney, is the author of the overlay district example and has a wealth of experience in zoning, planning, and code enforcement. Luckily for us, Elizabeth is creating a web site specifically devoted to tiny house law! Elizabeth attended last year’s Tiny House Fair and will be speaking at this year’s fair.
As the tiny house movement grows, tiny house enthusiasts are becoming more knowledgeable and specific about what they want. Compared to last year’s Tiny House Fair attendees, it was said that attendees of this year’s Tiny House Conference were more aware of important issues and asked more detailed questions. In response to feedback, at this year’s Tiny House Fair you won’t have to choose between sessions. One presentation will be given at a time, in a large tent where we’ll all be gathered, so no worries about missing a chance to hear your favorite speakers.
There’s been progress for my own tiny house this year, too. From being at Boneyard Studios, in intense, urban DC where full-time living isn’t allowed, my tiny house has moved to a laid back RV park in Orlando, where the owner welcomes tiny house residents and has room for more!