From “Tiny House Builders” to “Tiny House Nation,” tiny homes are popping up across television channels as the next big lifestyle trend. Indeed, many people are turning to tiny homes because of affordability issues in the real estate market and to create Missing Middle housing. Others find tiny homes to be a good way to Live the Life They Choose—whether that means financing an affordable vacation home, creating communities of pocket neighborhoods, or just generally living a more minimalist lifestyle.
But if that’s the case, why aren’t we seeing more tiny homes pop up across Western North Carolina? As it turns out, there are a number of coding and zoning issues around these diminutive dwellings. To zoom in on the issue, today we ask: What is a tiny home and where can I put one near Asheville?
What is a Tiny Home?
A tiny home is, of course, a house that’s smaller than usual for permanent residence. For several years, the exact size range of tiny homes has been debated. However, that debate may be settled pretty soon.
The International Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings now considers tiny houses to be those 400 square feet in area or less. The IRC code has not yet been adopted in North Carolina, but it does provide a framework for how to code for tiny homes in the future.
Where can I Put a Tiny Home near Asheville?
“Tiny homes” as a category hold a weird standing in many local zoning and regulation codes. In Asheville, it’s best to look at tiny homes from three different uses:
Tiny Homes on Wheels
Tiny houses on wheels are not legally allowed anywhere in Asheville or Buncombe County except for campgrounds at the express discretion of the campground. A tiny home on wheels is viewed as an RV (recreational vehicle) and therefore cannot be legally used a permanent habitable dwelling. Outside of Buncombe County, the Village of Wildflowers and Highland Lake Cove, both in the Flat Rock area, are zoned for RVs and allow tiny homes. In North Carolina, the maximum continuous time you can live in an RV is 180 days.
Tiny Homes on a Foundation
A tiny house on a foundation is legal anywhere within Buncombe County, including Asheville city limits, as long as the home meets the current North Carolina building code. According to Tiny House Asheville, “When planning the size of your house, the building codes to keep in mind are the ones that pertain to minimum size requirements of specific rooms or ceiling heights. For example, there should be a living area or great room of at least 120 square feet.”
The community of High Cove in Mitchell County also currently has tiny homes on foundations, and may be open to allowing tiny homes on wheels, as well.
Accessory Dwelling Units
In 2015, the City of Asheville adopted an ordinance regulating the construction of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) within city limits. An ADU is defined by the ordinance as “a separate and complete dwelling unit that is contained on the same lot as the structure of a single-family dwelling or business.” A single ADU is allowed on residential lots with a single-family home. The size and footprint of the ADU are relative to the size of the lot and existing single-family home.
For those interested in going tiny, that means you can build a tiny home in the backyard of your existing home and rent out the main structure or otherwise use it at your discretion. The ordinance also offers “practical housing options for the elderly, empty nesters, young students, and small families,” according to the city.
Where can I Learn More about Building a Tiny Home near Asheville?
There are a number of local tiny home forums and communities across Western North Carolina. Great spots to connect with other tiny house enthusiasts on Facebook include Tiny House Asheville and Madison County Tiny/Alternative Living.
For more information about designing and building a tiny home in WNC, contact:
BREVARD TINY HOMES
WISHBONE TINY HOMES
355 Haywood Road
Asheville, NC 28806
All real estate is local. In order to make confident real estate decisions, we believe it is important for you to have timely and neighborhood-specific information. If you would like more information about tiny homes, our experts at Beverly-Hanks are here to help. Contact us today to speak with a Beverly-Hanks real estate agent about building or buying tiny homes in Western North Carolina.
Photo Copyright: tieury / 123RF Stock Photo