Code Consistency is The Nail in the Coffin For Tiny Home Builders and Buyers

In a recent blog by Brynn Barger appearing in MHINSIDER Magazine titled “The Shift: Tiny House Builders Moving Toward Manufactured Homes,” echoing the seemingly imminent demise of the “tiny home movement,” as we perceived it to be, has not fulfilled the expectations of those enthralled by the expectations of living small, efficiently and inexpensively. 

Ms. Barger correctly opines that “code consistency is the nail in the coffin for many THOW (Tiny Homes On Wheels)” buyers, because there isn’t anything that clearly describes the build standards.”

In early 2019 we posted our blog addressing the legality issues plaguing tiny houses and the available “make sense” manufactured home alternatives for tiny home aficionados. The following are excerpts from that posting:  For complete text of the article, click the title:


Living Legally In A “Tiny Home” Can Be Exceedingly Difficult, But Not Necessarily

What is a “tiny home”? Most of those television depictions seem to indicate that it is a structure built upon a wheeled trailer offering under 400 square feet of living space. However, there are those of the tiny home community that suggests the definition should include any small home under 800 to 1000 square feet.

In spite of growing demand and supply for tiny homes, inspired by television’s HGTV and others, they have not boomed in the way cultural fascination with them would suggest – One reason? It’s exceedingly difficult to live in them legally.

Many local governments have minimum size requirements (often 400 to 1,000 square feet) for single-family homes, prohibiting construction and/or installations of tiny homes on their own plots. Those minimum size requirements and the absence of a national certification by the builder, eliminates habitation, except perhaps as an auxiliary dwelling unit (granny flat, guest house,etc.). 

The tiny home advocates often state the size of a tiny home is 400 square feet or less. But this threshold is subjective. There is no formal definition for tiny homes in nationally recognized building codes.

One of the motivations of tiny home purchasers is the perceived mobility of the tiny homes on wheels as a recreational vehicle (RV). That also creates frustrations from three limitations: (1) Most of those tiny homes garnering interest from television depictions are not RVIA certified for safety, health or roadworthiness. Many RV campgrounds will not accept tiny homes without a certification by the builder. (2) Tiny homes that are certified as recreational vehicles are not intended for permanent habitation. (3) Non-code tiny home financing is typically not available from traditional lenders, as there isn’t a conventional way to perfect a collateral lien on a non recognized structure. There are a limited number of independent tiny home builders offering personal property financing. However, most buyers pay cash or make their purchase utilizing credit cards.

The manufactured housing industry produces “make sense” alternatives for those seeking the “tiny home” lifestyle



Today’s modern manufactured homes are the only form of residential housing built to a federally mandated national building code: The Manufactured Home Construction and Standards Act of 1974 (HUD Code). HUD Code applies only to homes with a minimum of 400 square feet of living space

Major recognized manufactured home builders also build under 400 sq.ft. PARK Model RV’s that should be included in the “tiny home” conversation. These homes are generally constructed to a national recreational vehicle code that certifies builder’s stringent adherence to health, safety roadworthy requirements.

Park models produced by manufactured home builders are skillfully designed to maximize comfortable living space and incorporate the same quality of building materials, appliances, amenities, and workmanship utilized in the construction of the larger HUD Code manufactured homes and site-built homes.

Quality constructed Park Models are welcome in recreational park communities, campgrounds and are ideal for guest homes, accessory dwelling units, vacation homes, second homes, etc. However, there are no known under 400 square feet of homes or recreational vehicles that will meet requirements as continuing permanent housing.



The only form of small living homes that check all the boxes for living legally full time, comfortably, inexpensively, with financing options, are HUD Code manufactured homes with over 400 square feet of living space.

Manufactured home manufacturers offer high quality “tiny” 400 square feet + value oriented single section homes that will appeal to those seeking to downsize and simplify their lifestyle – and do so legally, and often less expensive and of higher quality than many of the tiny homes portrayed by television reality shows.

Tiny home seekers are encouraged to explore here at  1000’s of small well built Hud Code homes available across the nation. Simply type your town onto search bar to explore floor plans, construction specifications and 3D virtual tours of selected models near you. You also may request a no-obligation – Custom Price Quote – for any of the homes displayed, all from the privacy and comfort of home.

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