Tiny houses, defined as very small, minimalistic homes (sometimes on wheels), are becoming a popular alternative to more traditional types of housing. The issue with these houses isn’t their size, but where they can be placed based on local zoning laws.
Are tiny houses allowed in NH?
There’s no law that specifically bans tiny houses in New Hampshire, but zoning ordinances and building codes are typically not designed with tiny houses in mind. This can pose a challenge to would-be tiny house dwellers. Recently, a woman who put her tiny house in the backyard of her parents' property in Hampton Falls went before the town zoning board. She has to ask for permission to maintain the home as a dwelling without being required to follow all the building codes for a traditional home.
Lawmakers want to study the issue
Since tiny houses are so different from traditional homes, lawmakers have passed a bill to study regulatory issues facing tiny houses. These can include building codes, fire codes, and conflicts with local land use ordinances.
Gov. Sununu still must sign or veto the bill, but if he approves it, the study committee will report back with its finding and recommendations in November.
A creative solution to a real problem
Proponents of tiny houses and the tiny house movement argue they are an affordable and environmentally-friendly solution to the housing shortage. With many young people saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, tiny houses offer a chance to own a home without taking out a large mortgage.
Putting home values at risk
Despite their popularity on social media, not everyone is in favor of this architectural and social movement, however. Many fear that the proliferation of tiny homes will drive down the value of surrounding traditional homes. Tiny homes are also unlikely to increase in value over time, which saddles the owners with even more debt they cannot recover.