A Tiny House Is A Tiny House Is A Tiny House and An ADU Is An ADU.

A Tiny House Is A Tiny House Is A Tiny House

and An ADU Is An ADU!

 

 

This post was inspired by a question on the Q/A forum that I answered from another AR member. The question here is to discern between a "TINY HOUSE" and an "ACCESSORY DWELLING UNIT" (ADU). Many folks are of the opinion that a Tiny House is the same as an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU).

 

As I see it a Tiny House is a small home and/or custom made travel trailer with wheels and axles (top photo) that can be moved from one location to another. However, much like a Park Model (photo below) it is still an RV. Here's how RVIA defines an RV.

 

"The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is the national trade association representing recreation vehicle (RV) manufacturers and their component parts suppliers who together build more than 98 percent of all RVs produced in the U.S."

"An RV is a vehicle designed as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel or season use.  RVs may be motorized (motor homes) or tow-able (travel trailers, folding camping trailers and truck campers).  Off-road vehicles are not included in the RV definition."

 

                              

 

And yes it is true. RV's can come in some pretty unusual shapes and sizes. But it doesn't necessarily mean they're always street legal. Some RVers can get pretty creative but at the end of the day they still have to be street legal and be able to pass safely under overpasses, trees and electrical lines.

 

                             

 

As many of us know by now an "ADU" by contrast is a permanent structure built on a permanent foundation be it "Factory built" i.e. "HUD Manufactured", "Modular", "Prefab" or "Site/Stick Built". (Photo below)

 

                

 

Or 2 story (bottom HUD Manufactured 2nd floor site built) "Hybrid"

 

                    

 

 

I question whether or not RVIA has or would ever recognize them unless they were built to RVIA standards. I also wonder if RV & trailer parks would allow them unless they did meet RVIA standards. The question of safety comes to mind first and foremost. Would or could they be a threat to others in an RV or trailer park?

 

 

 

It is a fact that Park Models, RV's, Travel Trailers, etc. are not permitted as permanent structures in most Cali building and zoning jurisdictions. In fact a park model cannot be affixed (permanently installed) even in a Manufactured Home Community let alone on a private lot/parcel. So I don't expect to see "Tiny Houses" to be allowed anytime soon.

 

The question really is, is there a place for "Tiny Houses" and if so where?

 

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TAG (The Arendsen Group) Real Estate Sales & Investments is a full service, one-stop, turnkey, family owned and operated real estate brokerage, General Contractor, Manufactured Home Contractor, Developer, Investor, Property Manager, Interior Design, Engineering, architectural, Landscape design, Expert Witness, Consulting, Curative Title and Troubleshooting company with over 100 years of combined experience in the San Diego real estate sales, construction, design & development arena.

 

 

 

 

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Comment balloon 29 commentsJohn DL Arendsen • June 19 2017 04:51PM

Comments

Hmm I don't think that a tiny house is defined by having wheels.  My conceptions of this may be based primarily on the TV show Tiny House, Big Living which showcases a wide array of tiny houses both mobile and not.  I believe a tiny house is simply any house that is smaller than say 500 sqft.  Tiny houses can be permenant or mobile.  I belive the main difference between a tiny home and an ADU is that an ADU is an accessory dwelling unit, impying that there is a primary dwelling unit.  If you build a 500 sqft house behind your main house it couldn't it be both an ADU and a tiny home?

Posted by Erika Albert, Real Estate Agent Extraordinaire in Austin, Texas (E*Rae Realty- Powered by eXp Realty LLC) 2 months ago

Naturally any dwelling under 500sf is pretty tiny indeed. However, what I'm gleaning is that if you label your structure a "Tiny House" when you walk into a building departmet to pull a permit all types of red flags go up Erika Albert Building departments are having enough difficulty trying to wrap their arms around the whole concept of ADU's.

I know first hand as I have been pulling permits and building/installing factory and site built Housing on small dwellings for 30 years. I've actually seen folks going into a building department with a design for an ADU and make the mistake of calling it a Tiny House. The first thing the counter person says it "Tiny houses" are not permitted on real property in this County.  Can't get much clearer than that.

It kinda reminds me of the days when "Mobile Homes" were just starting to be built and folks would refer to them as "Trailers" which many if not most were in the early '60's-'70's until they introduced the HUD Manufactured Home in 1976. 

But the damage was already done. By that time the stigma was already cast in stone and even today folks refer to a HUD manufactured home as a trailer, mobile home and even a coach. My take is call it what it is. Don't let the same thing happen to the ADU industry that happened to the HUD mfg and Modular industry.

My 3 cents/sense adjusted for inflation.

Posted by John DL Arendsen, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments Coastal Living (TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments, ON THE LEVEL General Contractor, Crest Homes Factory Built Housing Developer) 2 months ago

John, Great information for people. Many areas have a restriction on size so it good to know what you trying to do.

 

 

Posted by Donald Hester, NCW Home Inspections, LLC (NCW Home Inspections, LLC) 2 months ago

John- I'm still taking all of this in, and am amazed at your last photo! Is that for real??  

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) 2 months ago

When I first became acquainted with the Tiny House movement, I immediately became enamored with it.  I'd love to have one some day!

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) 2 months ago

CONGRATULATIONS John, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!    

Posted by Myrl Jeffcoat, Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent (GreatWest Realty) 2 months ago

Thank You so much for helping me spread the word Myrl Jeffcoat.

Posted by John DL Arendsen, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments Coastal Living (TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments, ON THE LEVEL General Contractor, Crest Homes Factory Built Housing Developer) 2 months ago

I heard it is indeed the real deal Kathy Streib, however, I'm not exactly sure where it is or if it still exists. But I'd be really leary about living in one be it on the bottom or the top. LOL!

Posted by John DL Arendsen, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments Coastal Living (TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments, ON THE LEVEL General Contractor, Crest Homes Factory Built Housing Developer) 2 months ago

Good morning John. This is interesting and funny too. I want a tiny house myself. Where? I don't know.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) 2 months ago

Tiny Houses will have their challenges in the coming years I think Sheila Anderson Being that their largely home grown and not certified nor recognized by REHI or any other govermental affiliation I think they have their work cut out for them. 

That stated, I have been reading and seeing snippets on Tiny Houses about designated areas that will allow the development of them and some that have already sanctioned them but I don't know where either.

However, ADU's are another story altogether and are being legalized in many states and building jurisdictions Nationwide. It's only a matter of time before this goes from a cottage Industry (pun intended) to a full scale growth industry.

Posted by John DL Arendsen, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments Coastal Living (TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments, ON THE LEVEL General Contractor, Crest Homes Factory Built Housing Developer) 2 months ago

I'm an not convinced that Tiny Houses are a good investment.  The appeal is there especially for millenials but I would think the walls would tend to close in after a couple months.  And then there is the issue of where to put them....

Featured in BananaTude!

Posted by Belinda Spillman, Colorado Living! (Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado) 2 months ago

I totally agree Belinda Spillman Tiny Houses are a sweeping trend now no doubt and will probably go with the wind at some point leaving only a few purveyors who've figured out ways to capatilize on them and make them a little more like regular travel trailers. Just my thought.

Posted by John DL Arendsen, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments Coastal Living (TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments, ON THE LEVEL General Contractor, Crest Homes Factory Built Housing Developer) 2 months ago

                 

                        Thank you John DL Arendsen 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) about 2 months ago

And thank you Kathy Streib for the recognition and helping us spread the word about this.

Posted by John DL Arendsen, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments Coastal Living (TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments, ON THE LEVEL General Contractor, Crest Homes Factory Built Housing Developer) about 2 months ago

I'm with Kathy Streib - amazing (and scary) photo! Congratulations on your feature in Kathy's weekly list of must reads! 

Posted by Lise Howe, Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA, (Long and Foster) about 2 months ago

I have heard most of the terms being used but never heard the term ADU. In regards to tiny houses, in my mind they are always mobile.

Posted by Eva B. Liland with Century 21 Doug Anderson, Selling Your Home in Today's Market (Century 21 Doug Anderson) about 2 months ago

I'm seeing more and more areas that have sites set up for "tiny houses", though I would still call them mobile home parks.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) about 2 months ago

Good morning Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor,CRS,ePro ,

I'm so glad that Kathy Streib featured your post in her "Ah-ha" moments for the week! Love the photo and a great explanation. The last photo blew me away! 

Posted by Dorie Dillard, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.346.1799) about 2 months ago

John DL Arendsen You are the go-to source for ADU information when we will encounter client inquiries in the future.

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI NMLS#1483386, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (Realty One Group) about 2 months ago

Big thanks Lise Howe !

Posted by John DL Arendsen, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments Coastal Living (TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments, ON THE LEVEL General Contractor, Crest Homes Factory Built Housing Developer) about 2 months ago

Most "TINY HOUSES" are mobile Eva B. Liland with Century 21 Doug Anderson An "ADU" can be "TINY"  but it can't be "MOBILE"  in Cali. They have to be installed, be they HUD MANUFACTURED HOME, MODULAR, FACTORY or SITE/STICK, on a "PERMANENT FOUNDATION", PERMITTED and INSPECTED by the local jurisdiction to be legal.

Or if they were built without a permit an "AS BUILT PERMIT" may be obtained in many if not most building jurisdictions rendering theim "LEGAL NON-CONFORMING".

Posted by John DL Arendsen, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments Coastal Living (TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments, ON THE LEVEL General Contractor, Crest Homes Factory Built Housing Developer) about 2 months ago

And correct you would be Gabe Sanders 

Posted by John DL Arendsen, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments Coastal Living (TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments, ON THE LEVEL General Contractor, Crest Homes Factory Built Housing Developer) about 2 months ago

Thanks Dorie Dillard albiet I'm proud and happy to be taken as Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor,CRS,ePro it's actually me. LOL But thanks for the comment and compliment.

Posted by John DL Arendsen, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments Coastal Living (TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments, ON THE LEVEL General Contractor, Crest Homes Factory Built Housing Developer) about 2 months ago

I'd be more than happy and proud to work with you folks anytime Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI NMLS#1483386 

Posted by John DL Arendsen, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments Coastal Living (TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments, ON THE LEVEL General Contractor, Crest Homes Factory Built Housing Developer) about 2 months ago

WOnderful post! I can see why Kathy chose to highlight it this week!

Posted by Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®, Giving Back With Each Home Sold! (RE/MAX Realty Center ) about 2 months ago

This is a great article John DL Arendsen and after having you on our Podcast, I have a deeper appreciation for the need for this type of living unit(s).

Podcast Episode #099 Answers to the Housing Crisis w/ John DL Arendsen

Posted by Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor,CRS,e-Pro, Co-Host of Mail-Right's: Real Estate Agent Podcast (Big Block Realty 858.232.8722) about 2 months ago

Hi John

Well I certainly learned alot in your post. I was pretty sure I understood the differences between Tiny Houses and ADUs. Wonder if HGTV will get on the ADU bandwagon?!

Jeff

Posted by Jeff Dowler, The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad (Solutions Real Estate ) about 2 months ago

Kathy Streib is a very sharing soul Kristin Johnston - REALTOR® Can't thank her enough.

Posted by John DL Arendsen, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments Coastal Living (TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments, ON THE LEVEL General Contractor, Crest Homes Factory Built Housing Developer) about 2 months ago

HGTV needs to get on board on this for sure Jeff Dowler it's going from a cottage industry (pun intended) to a major growth industry almost overnight. 

Posted by John DL Arendsen, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments Coastal Living (TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments, ON THE LEVEL General Contractor, Crest Homes Factory Built Housing Developer) about 2 months ago

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