Clearing Up the Confusion
Tiny house people are not confused about what a tiny house is. State and local governments, insurance companies, land developers, and lenders are confused. HUD’s ruling helps parse the language for us all. Tiny houses can take different forms and fill the needs for several types of uses. The two distinct applications are recreational uses versus full-time dwelling. And as the tiny house movement expands this is where the confusion begins. Questions about insurance, parking, and financing take shape.
For a tiny house RV the debate has always been that it looks like a house, but can it be lived in full-time? The answer is yes, it seems like a house. And yes, technically – a person can willfully choose to live in it full time. The federal government, through HUD, does not regulate whether it is legal or illegal to live in an RV full time. It only acknowledges that the intent of a recreational vehicle is for recreational use, and because it’s a vehicle (on wheels), it falls under the jurisdiction of The Department of Transporation. State and local governments may or may not recognize RVs as acceptable for full-time dwellings.
The new HUD ruling doesn’t legalize full-time tiny house RV living, and it doesn’t make it more illegal. What it also doesn’t do, is make it illegal for you to self-build one. The only new thing the ruling does is makes it illegal to enter into a transaction with a buyer for the structure – if there is no “manufacturer’s notice” as to what the intent of the structure is. Whether they are buying an RV or a manufactured house, is now a matter of law.