Which State Has Thriving Tiny Home Communities in the US?
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Which State Has Thriving Tiny Home Communities in the US?

|Jan 1, 2024
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Tiny home communities are becoming popular in certain parts of the US as a way to fight back against the impending housing crisis. Simply put, buying a normal home in certain states has become an impossibility for a lot of people. Upon realizing this, some state governments have loosened up the requirements to build tiny homes. 

It’s in these states that tiny house communities have been thriving over the last few years. In some of these cases, the communities feature state-of-the-art homes and well-planned amenities that anyone in the community can use. These tiny home parks can provide a better quality of life for residents, particularly when compared to traditional trailer park environments.

Finding the best state for tiny homes, though, can be the difference between living in a thriving community or potentially building a home illegally. hence the importance of picking the right place to settle down.

What Are Tiny House Communities?

These communities are usually made up of prebuilt ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) structures. The main difference that you have between these small home communities and a trailer park, which we referenced earlier, is that the small houses are usually permanent structures. In a traditional trailer park venue, that’s not going to be the case. 

Small house communities of this nature also tend to feature a set of amenities. These can range from a pool to a small park that everyone in the community can access. You typically don’t have the need for communal bathroom facilities like you would in other types of communities.

This is because a prefab studio-like home that you set up in this community can feature all of the necessary facilities to live in the structure full-time. In some cases, though, a tiny home community still features bathrooms or even a laundry area. When looking into these communities to see where you may want to establish your home, it’s a good idea to search for spots that feature amenities that you may be missing within your own tiny home.  

There are tiny houses for sale under $15,000 that you can essentially have delivered to these communities. You could also look for a tiny home rental community to understand what it’s like to live in one of these places before you make a longer-term commitment.

What Are Tiny House Communities?

The Best States for Tiny Home Communities

About eight states in the US make up the list of the best places where these communities are thriving. Each of these states has its own legislation regarding these types of structures. Before ordering an affordable prefab ADU that you found online to place in a specific community, it’s essential to check the local code. 

Some of these tiny home communities may also have their own rules regarding the size of the homes that they allow into the area. These are just a couple of things to keep in mind before making a purchase. Just because the state is tiny home friendly doesn’t mean that you can place your house wherever you’d like.  

Arizona

Arizona was one of the first states to open up legislation that allowed these communities to spring up all over the state. It’s one of the regions that features the fewest restrictions when it comes to where you can actually set up a prebuilt ADU. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t check with the authorities, particularly if you want to build a few home office pods that can turn into a community. 

Another issue that can be unique to certain parts of the state has to do with tribal land. If the tiny home community is part of a reservation, the laws that regulate the area are going to be different than what you’ll find in the rest of the state. Since Arizona features a lot of open land, some of the tiny home communities in the state are located in breathtaking places.

Arizona tiny house communities

California

California used to be one of the states that featured the most restrictions, especially if you wanted to set up an affordable backyard ADU on your property. You had to deal with the state guidelines, plus the local code and whatever your HOA could throw at you. That started to change in the last couple of years. 

Legislation at the state level has reduced the wait times on permits for prefab homes in California. Another change to the law now allows an ADU that was built in a backyard to become a separate property from the main house. The biggest reason why laws have begun to change is because lawmakers realized these communities could help solve the housing crisis in the state. 

Do all of these changes make California the best state for tiny homes? That declaration may be a bit of a stretch. It is true, though, that these tiny home communities are making it much more affordable to live in the state. If there’s a place in the US where homes have become increasingly expensive, it’s California.

More and more people are exploring the possibility of living in a prefab ADU. This has made many of these communities start to offer pretty interesting amenities to residents. You can have a lot of fun exploring some of the options that California has to offer.

Arizona tiny house communities

Florida       

The Florida situation is very similar to what we’re seeing in California. Regular homes in the state saw their prices skyrocket over the last few years. That has been especially the case in St. Petersburg, Sarasota, and Orange counties. 

Some people may get the sense that these communities could run into trouble sooner rather than later across the state. The increase in the number of living options could lead to a denser population, and that would potentially drive down the prices of some of the high-end homes in these areas. Therefore, some of the rich and powerful residents of the region may eventually oppose these communities. 

We can’t really know what the future holds. What we do know is that Florida has some of the best tiny home parks in the entire country. The amenities that some of these places feature rival what you find in an established apartment complex in other parts of the country.

Arizona tiny house communities

Texas

Texas is a very interesting case as well. Over the last few years, people from different parts of the country have moved to the state to try and escape the heavy taxes in places such as California and New York. Unlike traditional Texas residents, some of these people don’t mind smaller living spaces. 

Both the larger cities across the state, as well as some of the rural areas on the outskirts of these places, feature plenty of room to build small communities. Some of these rural areas already had traditional trailer parks set up all over the place. This transition to a more modern and comfortable small home was welcomed in the state.

Although Texas law tends to be more permissive, particularly when it comes to building ADUs on private property, there are still things that you’ll want to account for before ordering a prefab ADU. Is a shed a permanent structure in Texas? That’s going to depend on the local code, so you want to check that before making any decisions.

Arizona tiny house communities

Colorado

Colorado hosts a tiny house festival every year. That should give you a good idea of just how receptive the state is to this modern housing option. We could say that, in a way, Colorado is a lot like Texas in the sense that small cabins have always been a main staple of rural areas and towns near ski resorts. 

When these modern tiny homes arrived on the scene, legislation was not as restrictive to begin with. It wasn’t like what we saw in California, where a lot of the local codes and HOAs had very rigid rules regarding what you could or couldn’t build on your property.  

Another thing that’s unique about Colorado is that a lot of these communities are there to serve seasonal workers. Many cities in the state, for example, see an influx of workers arrive during the winter season to tend to the aforementioned ski resorts. Locals have always been accustomed to renting their homes to these workers on short contracts. 

These tiny home communities that are there to cater to seasonal workers have become an interesting investment opportunity for locals. They’ve realized that they can potentially fit more tenants on their property if they add small homes. That idea could be one of the main reasons why the state has opened so much to this concept.

Arizona tiny house communities

Georgia and Oregon

While these two states are certainly not near each other, we’ve decided to group them together because the situation in both places is similar. Tiny home communities are popping up across some of the most populated cities in both.  Portland, Monroe, and Eugene are three of the cities in Oregon that have seen the biggest increase in the number of tiny homes. 

In the case of Georgia, it’s the Atlanta area that’s seeing the uptick. The constant search for affordable housing can be considered the main culprit in both situations. One of the challenges for people who are looking for a place to live in these cities is finding a community that features the right amenities or regulations.

As mentioned previously, even though state regulations could be less restrictive, some of these pre-existing tiny home neighborhoods could have their own regulations that you need to stick to. When looking for a place to set up your prebuilt home, you want to make sure that you’re okay with the guidelines that the area features.

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Are All Tiny Home Communities Legal?

The short answer here is no. We mentioned that some of these communities can have their own regulations that also apply to different cities. What we mean by that is that certain cities may be more restrictive towards tiny homes. 

Many times, homeowners in high-end neighborhoods won’t necessarily welcome a tiny home community in the area. In these situations, even if the local code allows tiny homes to be built, there could be some lobbying to block a community from being set up in a given spot. Despite some regions recently changing their legislation, tiny home neighborhoods are actually banned in the majority of US states. 

It’s important to keep in mind, though, that even in states where these communities are outlawed, that doesn’t mean you can’t set up a small structure on your property. Suppose that you want to add a small house to your ranch in Oklahoma.    

Oklahoma is one of the states that outlaws these communities, so you probably won’t be able to build multiple tiny homes to rent out like you would in Colorado. You may have to go through a process to register your property as a hotel or another type of venue, which would then allow you to build these tiny homes as separate rooms. 

Usually, the issue in states where these homes are not “legal” is that you can’t sell the tiny home as an independent property. It’s always going to be part of the main ranch, going back to our previous example. Despite unfavorable legislation, there are still ways to build an ADU on your property in certain states.

Are All Tiny Home Communities Legal?

Final Thoughts on Thriving Tiny Home Communities in the US

If you want to join a tiny home community anywhere in the US, it’s still a good idea to check local legislation and make sure that the area has the necessary permits to operate. The last thing that you want is to buy a plot of land in a fake community. There are a lot of issues that you could potentially encounter if you find yourself in that situation.   

Many people may actually be surprised by the size of these homes. Expecting a mansion is obviously not realistic, but these prefab units are at times larger than some of the apartments that sell for millions of dollars in cities like New York or Los Angeles. 

Before you go looking for a community to join, it could be a good idea to explore some of the prefab ADUs that are on sale throughout the web. This can give you a sense of the size of the place that you’d be staying at. Maybe you’ll find that these tiny homes are, in fact, a perfect option for you.

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