Skip to main content

Tiny House Residents Evicted by Housing Regulations

Apr 10, 2015

A Virginia couple that tried to circumvent the rising costs of homeownership by moving into a tiny house set up in their backyard has run into an unexpected web of bureaucratic thickets regarding whether their micro-sized residence constitutes the legal definition of housing.

According to a WRIC-TV report, Michael and Amy Lacey of Chesterfield, Va., purchased a custom-built tiny house measuring 8.5 feet by 21 feet for $25,000 out of pocket and erected it last fall in the backyard of their traditional home, which they rented out to a tenant. The Laceys quickly found that living mortgage-free in their new little residence helped cut their monthly bills from $1,400 to $300.

However, the County inspectors learned about the Laceys’ tiny house a few months later and informed them that they could not live in that structure. Because the local building codes have not been updated to accommodate tiny houses the Laceys’ XS-sized property needed to meet standards created years ago for traditional housing.

Complicating matters further was having the structure built on wheels: because the coupled titled their tiny house through the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, it is considered a recreational vehicle and local zoning ordinances prevent them from using it as their full-time residence or connecting to local utilities. And simply moving the tiny house elsewhere would then change its classification to being an industrialized building that needs to meet safety regulations from Virginia’s Department of Housing and Community Development.

At the moment, the Laceys are scrambling to find a rental to serve as temporary shelter. The county government is sympathetic, but acknowledges they are behind the times.

“Both the building code and the zoning ordinances probably have some catching up to do,” said Ron Clements, Chesterfield’s assistant director for building inspection, adding the Laceys’ dilemma is now being reviewed to update local ordinances.

About the author
Published
Apr 10, 2015
Rocket Companies Reports Decline in Fourth Quarter Revenue, Projects Optimism for Future Growth

Despite revenue dip, mortgage giant sees increase in market share and advances in AI technology.

Feb 22, 2024
Broker Action Coalition Unveils Inaugural Board Of Directors

Newly formed nonprofit organization BAC announces industry professionals to guide its mission of legislative change and educational initiatives in the mortgage industry.

Feb 21, 2024
GSEs Report Strong Earnings

Robust performance marks growth for both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, despite a dip in home purchases.

Feb 15, 2024
Friendly Competition Joins Forces

The merger aims to enhance local fulfillment and sales support, marking Guild’s sixth acquisition since 2021 and expanding its licensed originators to over 2,100 amidst a challenging market.

Feb 14, 2024
Guild Mortgage Announces Acquisition Of Competitor Academy Mortgage, Bolsters National Presence

The strategic move will see Guild Mortgage enhance its market share and become the 8th largest non-bank retail lender in the U.S., welcoming over 600 loan officers from Academy.

Feb 13, 2024
Proprietary Capital-Led Group Acquires Multichannel Lender AFR

Colorado-based fund manager Proprietary Capital finalizes acquisition of American Financial Resources.

Feb 13, 2024