There are a LOT of tiny home support groups on the internet. One of the more established sites is for 501c3 public charity non-profit Tiny House Alliance USA which has information on certifying and insuring tiny homes as well as tracking codes and news about tiny homes. They also list resources that include architectural services, design and manufacturing and engineering services, legal services, as well as listings of villages and builders. Much of the information about Colorado came out in 2018.
There is no formal definition for tiny homes in nationally recognized building codes. From the standpoint of building codes or “construction codes” a tiny home that is built on site or a manufactured or a modular dwelling built off site that is transported and placed on a foundation would be covered by local building codes just like any other structure according to a 2017 white paper by NFPA on the subject. A manufactured home is also identified with a label from the factory noting that it meets HUD standards and must also meet NFPA standards for Manufactured home standards. NFPA also sets a minimum dimension for what is considered a habitable room, which is 7’ x 7’ as well as standards for toilet and showers. Minimum ceiling height is 7’-6”. Tiny homes must also have a primary and secondary means of escape with egress being no less than 32” wide. Smoke alarms, plumbing (permanent provisions for sanitation) and yes, fire sprinklers are required under NFPA code for tiny homes.
Building Codes are bending to allow the use of Tiny Homes. The 2018 the ICC issued International Residential Code Appendix Q was designed to be “relaxing” of various requirements in the code as they apply to houses “that are 400 square feet or less” specifically related to stairs, ladders, handrails, headroom, reduced ceiling height in lofts and egress.
Recreational vehicles or Tiny Homes on Wheels (THOW) are not covered by building codes. Use of an RV or THOW as a permanent dwelling is “typically illegal” in Colorado according to nolo.com a legal advice site, though a THOW may be treated like a “mobile home” if it is “permanently affixed to the ground, hooked up to utilities and otherwise meets safety standards.
In 2016, Colorado Legislative Council Staff issued a brief on Tiny Homes that rehashes what is stated above and notes that “all tiny homes must conform to any applicable local zoning code ordinances” which may place minimum requirements on a dwelling unit square footage, noting that local code also often dictates setbacks from property lines and often restricts the number of units allowed on a property. Local code may classify tiny homes as an Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) be regulated as such—this is becoming a common approach to Tiny Homes, to lump them together with ADU regulations. It is somewhat common for ADUs to be prohibited from being utilized as a primary residence or from being rented out. The brief noted that as of 2016 Walsenburg and Durango had adopted ordinances specifically related to tiny homes and ADUs. The tinysociety.com that ranks states and summarizes state laws on their website rates Colorado 6/10 Tiny House Friendly noting Walsenburg and also Park County. Park County’s tiny home regulations are also summarized here at the americantinyhouseassociation.org website.
Clear Creek County has regulations specific to tiny homes explained in a PDF by their Planning Department.
Routt County has a 27-page Informational Brochure including a PPT on Tiny Home Construction issued by the Routt County Regional Building Department in 2015 that applies to Steamboat Springs, Yampa and Oak Creek as well as unincorporated areas.
Nebraska has a statewide Tiny Home Regulation explained in this Fact Sheet issued by the Housing and Recreational Vehicle Department.
California implemented new state-mandated ADU laws on January 1, 2020 that among other things requires all cities to create ADU incentives!
Salida has a Tiny Home development called River View at Cleora. That development is on County Road 102 and the contact number is listed as (719) 247-6195. It was built by Sprout Tiny Homes which has a corporate address in Pueblo, Colorado. Sprout Homes has done a Workforce Housing Project with the Aspen Ski Company that won a ULI award. In the same search engine a property owner in Salida is listed as Agastache Village at stating “I have purchased this property in an effort to create a tiny house/Park model community. I am still in the process of design.”
In Granby, Lake Shore Homes & RV has a tiny home as part of the River Run RV Resort development owned by Sun Outdoors which includes RV Sites, Tiny homes, and tent sites and many other amenities such as pool, clubhouse with meeting rooms, bowling alley, a variety of restaurants and permanent food trucks on site. The contact person is listed as Michael at (303) 242-2478. Units are listed as $500/month at searchtinyhousevillages.com .
Creekside Homes in Hayden is at 274 S 2nd street has pad sites for Tiny Houses on Wheels with all utilities and requirements for insulated skirting, utility tie in by the home owner and a restriction that the unit must be 9’ x30’ or smaller are listed at $400/month by searchtinyhousevillages.com . The contact is Samantha Beers (970) 890-1020.
In Durango, Hermosa Orchards Village is listed at $650/monthly and is “currently being built.” The development consists of 6 single family rental homes and 22 leased home spaces for tiny and manufactured homes on lots of 4000sf is listed as “10 minutes to Durango’s many stores, brew pubs and fantastic restaurants” according to searchtinyhousevillages.com . It is accepting Tiny Houses on Wheels and Mobile Homes. Contact is Chris at www.hermosapark.com . There is another Tiny Home village in Durango called Escalante Village which also allows Tiny Houses on Wheels.
In Fairplay, Whispering Pines Village is “a community for both full-time and part-time small-living.” In the existing village there are more than 20 cabins, several RVs, tiny houses on wheels, a fully equipped club house and community recreation areas. Other amenities include a coin-op laundry, clubhouse with wi-fi sitting area, full kitchen and “plenty of space for groups” a tennis court and hot tubs. Lots are 3500 sf, maximum size is 399sq feet. On searchtinyhousevillages.com it also says, “officially living in a model longer than 6 months isn’t allowed, but Park County doesn’t enforce it.” Governance is listed as by Majority Vote. Contact is listed as facebook.com/whisperingaspenvilla .
The Basalt Campground is listed on searchtinyvillages.com as an “unverified community with Limited information available.” There are RV parks in Grand Junction, Fort Collins and Loveland as well as Glenwood Springs (Hideout Campground) listed on the same search engine. No confirmation about whether the local codes accommodate the use of TH as a dwelling unit at these locations.
Cheney Creek Tiny Homes lists a one-time payment at $150,000 for one of 6 tiny homes they are selling. The contact information is microlinvingllc.com/cheney-creek-tiny-home
Pitkin County BOCC has purchased Mobile Home Parks recently to protect the housing while Eagle County BOCC has advocated to protect water quality and assisted with a resident buyout that fell through. As we push resources toward addressing the deficit in affordable homes, it is also important to keep an eye on preserving existing affordable housing. There is no more urgent area for this than with regard to trailer parks. This year the Colorado Legislature passed HB 22-1287, which aims to shore up residents rights and aid in buyouts. The 103 hearings on the Rulemaking begin August 1, and continue August 4, 8th and 12th, with the intent of the “permanent rulemaking hearing” to occur on September 30th. The point person is Christina Postolowski, Program Manager for the Office of Regulatory Oversight, Mobile Home Park Oversight Program.