Learn how tiny houses can make your business dreams come true!
What are portable luxury restrooms and where are they going?
What is sustainability? How does it affect me? What does it have to do with tiny living?
How tiny offices are changing our perspectives on the working environment
What is Minimalism & what does it mean for you?
Where Can You Put A Tiny House in Massachusetts?
With your help, we’re compiling a list of every city and town in Massachusetts and its attitude toward tiny houses on wheels and on foundations. This is part of a larger initiative by the American Tiny House Association to gather tiny house information for every state in the US. (Katie at B&B Tiny Houses is also ATHA’s northeast regional director.)
As you’ll see in the chart, most cities and towns don’t already have a policy on tiny houses, whether on foundations or on wheels, so their stance on tiny houses is currently unknown. Municipalities probably won’t consider whether to allow tiny houses unless someone brings it up with them! As we’ve seen in Nantucket and Auburn, all it takes is one person to ask.
What Does Tiny House Appendix Q Mean For Tiny Houses On Foundations?
Tiny House Appendix Q has been adopted in Massachusetts, effective January 1, 2020. Appendix Q: Tiny Houses provides building safety standards for houses on foundations that are 400 sq. ft. and under. However, the appendix doesn’t mean you can build a tiny house on a foundation wherever you want in Massachusetts: you’ll still have to adhere to your municipality’s zoning code. Here’s more info on the Tiny House Appendix.
Please add to the list:
If you have spoken with your municipality’s government (zoning board, building inspector, or someone else) about tiny houses on wheels or on foundations, we would love to add your info to the list. There’s even a column for rumors, if you’ve heard a town might be amenable to tiny house living but haven’t spoken with them directly yourself.
How to find out if your city or town allows tiny houses:
Zoning codes for many municipalities can be found on your town’s website or on ecode360.com.
If you haven’t spoken with anyone in your city or town government yet but would like to know whether a tiny house on wheels or on a foundation would be legal, send a quick email to your town’s zoning board (you can find their contact info on your town’s website).
Be sure to include the following information:
- What kind of tiny house you’re inquiring about (on a foundation or on wheels?)
- What code the house would be built to (if it’s on a foundation, does it comply with Massachusetts residential building code? If it’s a tiny house on wheels, is it certified by the RVIA or another third-party inspector?)
- A description of where you’d like to put it (in a backyard, on its own lot, or in a community) and the address so your zone can be confirmed. If you don’t have an address in the town but would like to move there, let them know that as well.
Someone on the zoning board be able to tell you right away whether tiny houses are already approved. If tiny houses are not currently mentioned in the zoning bylaws, they’ll be able to advise you whether it’s worth pursuing a change.
If you have info on a specific municipality, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get your info added to the list.
Here are some tips to use the spreadsheet effectively:
- The spreadsheet retains its formatting if you’re on a computer rather than on a mobile . If you’re on a mobile you won’t be able to sort columns.
- To sort a column, right-click the letter at the top of the column and select “Sort A-Z”. For example, if you want to see all the towns in Hampden County, right-click “B” at the top of the second column (or click the small triangle next to “B”) and select “Sort A-Z”. Then scroll down to where the Hampden County section starts. If you only want to see towns with information added about tiny houses on foundations, you may select that column, which is “D”, and sort. Scroll to where the info starts.
- To see all the information in a cell, click the cell. The full text will show up in the bar above the sheet.
The planning & zoning board of the town of Great Barrington, MA is considering allowing tiny houses on wheels, or movable tiny houses, as Accessory Dwelling Units in the back yards of existing houses.
The tiny house amendment has gone through all the previous stages of approval: registered voters in Great Barrington will vote on whether to allow them at the annual town meeting on May 6.
Katie Jackson of B&B Tiny Houses was asked to do a presentation at a planning board meeting on what tiny houses are, how they work, and how other cities have written them into their zoning code. Katie is also the Northeast Regional Director of the American Tiny House Association, which is hosting the open house on May 5.
- Who buys tiny houses?
- Why do people want tiny houses?
- Why don’t more people have tiny houses?
Backyard tiny houses will add density without having to change the infrastructure of the town; it’s the quickest, easiest solution (and one of many) that will address the housing crisis.
Here’s Great Barrington’s proposed zoning language pertaining to tiny houses:
MTH: Movable Tiny House
THOW: Tiny House on Wheels
ADU: Accessory Dwelling Unit
There will be two tiny house events in Great Barrington:
-Tiny House Open House in the backyard of 65 Anderson Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230. Sunday, May 5, 10am-4pm.
Sunday’s tiny house open house is in advance of Monday’s Great Barrington Annual Meeting, where a proposed zoning amendment allowing Movable Tiny Houses as accessory dwelling units will be voted upon, among other topics. The open house is hosted by Amy Turnbull who is on the leadership team of the American Tiny House Association, with a movable tiny house built by Tony Indino of East Granby, Connecticut (this house is shown in the event flyer). This open house will give a glimpse into what backyard tiny houses might look like in Great Barrington if the Movable Tiny House Amendment passes.
-Great Barrington Annual Meeting & Vote at Monument Mountain High School Auditorium, 600 Stockbridge Rd, Great Barrington, MA 01230. Monday, May 6, 6:00pm.
Please attend the Annual Meeting on Monday in support of allowing movable tiny houses in Great Barrington backyards. The proposed amendment language is posted in the comments. All those who are registered to vote in Great Barrington may vote on the amendments.
Williamstown, MA had its planning board meeting last night, discussing whether to allow backyard cottages and second apartments to homes in certain zones of town. It was a full house, with others who couldn’t get seats standing in the hallway.
In the photo, Amy Jeschawitz, Chair of the Planning Board, sits under the town flag, depicting Williamstown’s beloved 1753 House. The 1753 House was originally called a “Regulation House” by the early European settlers, who, in order to be considered land owners, had to build a house that was at least 15’ x 18’ and 7’ tall. At 270 sq ft, this would certainly be considered a “tiny house” by today’s standards!
The size of the detached ADUs (backyard cottages) in the current proposed bylaw would be limited to between 900 and 1200 square feet, determined by the size of the existing home and its lot.
Also addressed was allowing a second unit to an existing single family home, either within or added on to the existing building. These two bylaws would mean that a single unit property within certain zones could ostensibly turn into a three-unit property.
The planning board voted 3-1 in favor of recommending the proposed bylaws, with the additional restriction of a five year wait between adding a second unit to a property and adding a third.
The bylaws will now be taken to Town Meeting.
Read more on the meeting from iBerkshires: https://www.iberkshires.com/story/59488/Williamstown-Planners-Recommend-Dwelling-Bylaw-Amendments.html
Last week’s public hearing in Great Barrington, MA addressed using tiny houses on wheels as backyard cottages. (If you haven’t already seen it or need a refresher, refer back to this blog post).
After the meeting, I spoke with Jonathan Hankin who is the president of the Planning Board. Here’s his recap:
- The meeting was 3 hours long and had lots of controversial items to cover! The proposed tiny house ADUs weren’t discussed, negatively or positively.
- Public comments remain open until next week’s meeting, which is on Thursday. However, since there hasn’t been any negative feedback, Jonathan seems confident it should pass without issue.
- Next week’s meeting is when all the proposed changes to Great Barrington’s Zoning Bylaws should be put on a warrant. Those changes will officially pass (or not) at the Town Meeting, which takes place the last week in May.
- All the changes that pass in Town Meeting will go to the Attorney General for review. Her report should come back in August or September. All changes that she approves will be retroactively in effect back to next week’s meeting (get your Delorean ready).
As a side note, the Massachusetts Attorney General, Maura Healey, visited the B&B Tiny Houses workshop last year and said, in front of many members of the press, that she feels tiny houses are a good affordable housing option. She has also signed the Nantucket, MA zoning bylaw allowing tiny houses, so we feel good about Atty. Gen. Healey signing Great Barrington’s as well.
Pictured from left: B&B Tiny Houses Owners Chris St. Cyr, Jason Koperniak, Mitch Bressett, and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey outside the Arcadia Tiny House. Photo from iBerkshires.com.
What is a tiny house hotel?
A tiny house hotel can be a great spot for campgrounds, wedding venues, retreat venues, and much more. The possibilities are endless for what a tiny house hotel can provide. Tiny house hotels offer a more intimate experience with their environment than traditional hotels for the same price.
Tiny house hotels can usually range from $125-$300 per night. Tiny house hotels contain houses under 400 square feet, are often located in scenic places, and offer guests the chance to explore the outdoors or local attractions. Many tiny house hotels offer the features of a traditional hotel: they can sleep 5+ people, have wifi/cable, have an outdoor deck/grill, and have a full bathroom/kitchen. In addition, they can offer unforgettable experiences for weddings, dining, business retreats, and family reunions. For some examples of tiny house hotels, check out these tiny house hotels across America.
Tiny house hotels usually have the customers book their stay online and then on the day of their arrival the customer will receive a code in order to get into the tiny house. The days of traditional check in are in the past!
In addition, tiny house hotels can be formed on a smaller level. As long as you have land and one tiny house, then you can set up a cozy bread and breakfast. Read our blog post on how to make money on your personal tiny house for more information.
Choosing the Right Tiny Houses For Your Hotel
When determining the tiny house you want to use for your hotel, you want to make sure that it is fully accommodating to your customer. Will your customers be able to sleep their entire family? Is there enough built in storage for food and clothes? Does the design allow for your customers to feel connected to the scenic outdoors? Is their something unique and memorable about your hotel?
One of the great things about tiny house hotels is that it’s very easy to expand your capacity. As long as there is land and electricity/water available, tiny house hotels can add more units whenever they wish.
Attracting Tiny House Hotel Customers
The location of your tiny house hotel may be your biggest selling point. Many customers decide to stay in a tiny house because they’re looking to disconnect and spend time outdoors, so by choosing a location that is close to activities like hiking or swimming you ensure that your customers will have a great time while they’re on their vacation. In addition, customers may want to check out some cultural attractions while on their vacation. Locations that allow customers to spend time outdoors and are nearby to cultural attractions are optimal locations.
Most tiny house hotels allow customers to book through their website and through websites like AirBnB, Try it Tiny, VRBO, and Homeaway. When creating listings for AirBnB, it’s important to showcase what makes your hotel stand out. If your tiny house has a beautiful deck area with a grill, showcase it! Allow potential customers to envision what their time at your hotel would be like through pictures. In addition, social media is another tool to attract customers. Because lifestyle content is integral to social media, a tiny house hotel can attract a lot of attention on social media platforms. Social media is a great tool to garner interest in your tiny house hotel.
Figuring out where to develop a tiny house hotel can get tricky as you must make sure that local building codes and laws allow tiny houses.
After you’ve looked over the zoning and, if applicable, building codes for your specific zone of your town, you may need to ask the town permission to have a tiny house on your property. Most towns don’t already have tiny houses written into their zoning or building codes. If this is the case, don’t be discouraged: it doesn’t mean you can’t do it, it just means you’ll have to introduce the concept to the zoning board. In this blogger’s experience, zoning boards are made up of passionate people who want to find housing solutions for their towns. With tiny house TV shows and news stories all but taking over television networks, no doubt at least a couple of the folks on your town’s zoning board will already have an idea of what tiny houses are. They’ll let you know whether you need a special permit to have a tiny house on your property, and if so, guide you through the process.
For electricity, the cheapest and easiest option is to plug into an existing power source. Others choose to power their homes with solar power. Click here to learn more about solar power for tiny houses.
For fresh water and waste water, city water and sewer are one option; pieces of property in less dense locations that don’t have city water and sewer will need to use a well and septic systems.
If the land already has electricity and water hookups, you won’t need to worry about having those put in. Generally, although not always, it’s less expensive in the end to buy land that already has utilities than buying land without and then paying to have them installed.
How do I make it happen?
With determination, anyone can open their tiny house hotel. You have many options for securing funding. Read these 10 ways to get funding for your business and 6 tips for securing investments. As previously mentioned, a great aspect of tiny house hotels is the ability to grow your business whenever you please.
If you have any questions about developing a tiny house hotel, please contact us! We have experience in mass producing tiny houses for hotels.