Tiny House Parking – Where Do You Park A Tiny House?

tiny house parkingYou don’t get too far into pursuing a tiny house build before asking the question, “Where do you park a tiny house?” That’s because tiny house parking is a major challenge. Having found two different places to park my tiny house over the years, I can tell you it’s not as easy as you’d hope. But now that I’m on the other side it, I’ve learned a lot that I want to share with you.

For the most part, I’ll be talking about how you can find a place to park a tiny house for free or for an affordable cost. Some places charge $300 to $600 a month for rent and honestly, if you have to pay a monthly fee at that level, you’re better off buying land or considering an apartment. I’ll discuss buying land too, but most folks are looking for a free or mostly free parking spot.

Where Can You Park A Tiny House?

Where Can You Park A Tiny House

There is a lot to consider when finding a parking spot for a tiny home, and despite what many folks think, you can’t always roll up on a piece of land and call it good. If you were only going to rough it in a spot for a week or two, you’d probably be fine, but much longer than that and you’ll want to think about making it sustainable for the long term.

I talk about how to setup a piece of land for a tiny house in this post, which goes into a lot of details you might never have thought about.

parking checklist

Ways To Find Tiny House Parking

Ways To Find Tiny House Parking

Below is a slew of options for you that I’ve found to work for others and myself in the past. When it comes to finding tiny house parking, you need to be creative, persistent, and open to possibilities. Finding places to park a tiny home is hard work, but with enough effort and a little luck, you can find a good home for you and your tiny house.

Tiny House Parking In Tiny House Communities

Tiny House Parking In Tiny House Communities

There are a ton of tiny house communities popping up all around the world, each with places for you to park your tiny home. Many of these are simply people looking to rent out their land, but they might be open to work shares, trading, or some other arrangement. Keep in mind that these people do have costs themselves, so you most likely will need to chip in some money along the way.

tiny house neighborhoodCommunities are set up in different ways, but the best thing to do is to connect with locals and if one doesn’t already exist, create it! Even if you don’t have the funds to buy land right now, start a group to meet people in your area and get talking — you never know what might come of it.

Since tiny houses don’t take up a lot of parking space, you can get the density pretty high. Because of this, you might consider splitting the cost of an acre or two for an affordable price.

On a single acre, you could have up to 35 tiny homes with a central corridor and a small parking spot next to each. If you were to buy some land out of town, you might be able to find a parcel for $10,000 an acre, which would cost you about $300 per person to own the land out right!

You could even have people buy double or triple lots if they wanted more space, still totaling less than $1,000 each. Not bad when you break it down.

The best way to do that is by checking out our state pages here:

tiny house builders

Tiny House Intentional Communities For Parking

Tiny House Intentional Communities For Parking

These are similar to tiny house communities, but they might not be focused solely on tiny houses. There are a ton of these around the world and you can find a lot of them at The Foundation For Intentional Communities.

foundation for intentional communities mapEach one of these communities is unique because it’s built by members based on their vision. Not all will be open to tiny houses, but some will be. Most have a new member process, which can be lengthy, and many cost at least some money, but not always.

One thing you can suggest to these communities is a trial period with your tiny home. Because it’s mobile, you can do a trial of, say, three to six months where you find out if it’s a good fit for everyone. If it doesn’t work out, then you can move on.

This is dependent on you being able to fund a move and having another place to go, but I think if you presented the trial period idea along with an exit plan and proof of funds to do so, you’re more likely to win folks over.

You may even want to consider starting your own tiny house intentional community!

Tiny Houses As Accessory Dwelling Units – Tiny House ADUs

Tiny Houses As Accessory Dwelling Units

If you’ve never heard of ADUs before, they’re essentially an extra mini house that sits in the backyard of a traditional home. This is mainly intended to be a granny flat, an in-law suite, or a rental space, but they’re also a really good legal loophole for tiny homes.

cracking the codeNow to pull this off, you’re going to need to have a piece of land with a normal house on it. That could be a run-down house, a house you rent out to tenants while you stay in the ADU, or potentially —though this is unlikely to pass approval from the city — you could build an ADU for a “future” big house to be built, but “never get around to it.”

That last one doesn’t usually fly because ADUs are defined as a building secondary to a main structure, so your mileage may vary on this one.

Check out my book on building codes for tiny houses, which gets into a lot of details and alternative strategies.

Tiny House Parking As A Nomadic Tiny House

Tiny House Parking As A Nomadic Tiny House

You can also consider not having a permanent tiny house parking spot at all and always be on the move. There are many people who have done this for years. Just keep in mind that you’ll need a very good truck to tow a tiny house because tiny houses are very heavy.

Parking Options For Boondocking With A Tiny House:

  • Stay at campgrounds – often 14 to 30 day limits
  • Stay on Bureau of Land Management land (BLM) – stay 14 days in 28-day period
  • Stay in Federal Parks – often 14 to 30 day limits
  • Parking lots overnight in some Walmarts, Bass Pros, etc.
  • Street parking in some areas

Tiny Home Parking In RV Parks

Tiny Home Parking In RV Parks

RV parks are another great place for tiny house parking, if you can find the right one. Some RV parks operate year-round while others are only seasonal. Some have great communities that are well maintained and safe, but others you realize aren’t a place you really want to stay.

Many of these parks will require that you have an RVIA manufacturer plate, which means your tiny house has been built by a certified RVIA manufacturer to certain specifications. This is often an insurance thing, but I’ve found it’s also not a magic bullet. There is way too much emphasis put on this certification by builders and I think it’s largely overblown in value.

Parking In Campgrounds With A Tiny House

Parking In Campgrounds With A Tiny House

Much like RV parks, these are hit or miss on the quality and if they’ll even let you have a parking spot for your tiny home. Most have limits on how long you can stay. The best approach here is to find an independently owned campground and talk with the owner.

If you’re a good tenant, they aren’t too busy, and you can make a deal with them, you might be able to stay long term — these are business people after all. If you’re able to pay rent consistently and they aren’t always fully booked, it might be a good deal for both of you.

Become A Campground Host In A Tiny House

Become A Campground Host In A Tiny House

If you don’t know, many campgrounds have hosts that stay on site, usually in their camper, to handle the day-to-day operations of checking people in, cleaning the bathrooms, etc. Many places only allow RVs, but you could potentially find a work-trade option where you are the host and can stay for free.

It’s important to note that these can be hard to come by because retirees like this option and are often seasonal.

Craigslist And Other Online Listings

Craigslist And Other Online Listings

A good place to look is Craigslist and other online listings for land that is for sale or for rent. This is especially true of land that is for sale by owner, who might be open to a rent-to-own arrangement.

If a place has been on the market for a long time, you might also be able to offer to rent the land with the agreement that if they sell it, you get 60 days’ notice. You can also find good deals to buy land online, which is what we’ll get into next.

Buying Land For A Tiny House

Buying Land For A Tiny House

Buying land can be a challenge too because you’re most likely going to need to pay with cash or owner finance it. That said, you can find good deals on lots that other people couldn’t build on at all because the lot is too small for a big house or other reasons.

You still need to consider building codes and zoning because you’re making an investment in a piece of land, but with some hard work, you can make it happen.

Partner with Land Owners

Partner with Land Owners

In some cases, you don’t need to own the land or even rent the land and you can instead barter for a place to park. I do this now, where I help keep an eye on the land because the owner lives far away.

I also have a friend who lives on a multi-million-dollar estate overlooking the San Francisco Bay who stays there for cheap (relative to the bay area) because she helps take care of their horses.

Tips To Pitching Land Owners

  • Consider what is in it for them, how can they benefit?
  • How can you mitigate risks they might be worried about?
  • What if it doesn’t work out? Discuss the exit plan
  • Consider if the land and owner is a good fit or not

Land Owner Types To Seek Out

  • Elderly people who need help around the house
  • Farmers who have an unused field
  • Vacant land that isn’t being actively developed
  • Land that has been listed for sale for a long time

Find Local Tiny House Parking By Connecting On Social Media

Find Local Tiny House Parking By Connecting On Social Media

Social media was intended to help real people connect, and that is true when it comes to finding a tiny house parking space. There are several ways you can do this, but some good examples of this are finding local Facebook groups and Meetup.com groups.

Don’t Forget About Local Building Codes And Zoning

Dont Forget About Local Building Codes And Zoning

In all of this, finding a parking spot is bound to open a conversation about building codes and zoning. You can chance it and risk getting hit with a notice or even a fine or you can do it formally. I talk a lot about this in my ebook on tiny house building codes. Check it out if you’re trying to find a place to park your tiny home.

cracking the code

Your Turn!

  • Where are you thinking about parking your tiny house?
  • What tips do you have for finding local tiny house parking?
1 Comment
  1. To Ryan Mitchell thank you Ryan for posting this information. I am age 83 and my health is starting to decline. My wife of 59 years passed away a little over a year ago. My home is paid for and I do not need such a large home, over 2300 sq ft. I am weighing many options as I do not have to move but would like to get out of my large home I have been thinking of trying to go tiny or possibly squeezing a smaller trailer next to my home and setting it up in my back yard I am sure the city of **** would not approve a permit for this type of living in my modern neighborhood. I would like to rent out my home furnished. And live in the trailer. I have a three car garage so parking would not be a problem. I could also put a small trailer in one of the garage spaces and leave the door closed. I just need some smart person that could come up with some good ideas to help me. Please excuse my for wasting your time but I am curious.

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