Those who know me know what a dim outlook I have regarding building codes. Most municipal and local codes have gone far beyond the original intent of community safety. In some places the codes almost amount to a legal “taking” of property in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The notion of a “taking” is a legal principle that if one’s control of a property is so hindered as to render the property devalued, substantially diminished or unusable then proper compensation must be given. Unfortunately, the progressive nature of the Supreme Court since the first half of the 20th century to the present has left this definition so weak as to allow local governments to do just about anything.
A good example of a pernicious code that is not Constitutional in my opinion is the creation of so-called “historic” districts. When a property is sold in such a district, the local government can choose colors, architectural styles and even disallow the sale of a property until certain things are done to the property. Consequently, many properties can sit, unsold because of the excessive expense, rotting and becoming an eyesore. Billions of dollars around the country are spent maintaining an army of bureaucrats, measuring every inch of grass, and forcing people to comply and conform. This is the atmosphere that the tiny house confronts; a large group of people, given the notion that they have great power and strongly conformist motivations, who think they have a right to govern the lives of those in their jurisdiction. To these bureaucrats a house can only be what they live with and expect without thinking. Some jurisdictions, in their arrogance, have even outlawed tiny houses based upon all the usual collectivist excuses that I needn’t repeat here.
One will hear all sorts of objections to what I have just stated, but for most of American history such codes did not exist and only safety was considered. There was no collectivist concept of cities managing who did what where. The city of Houston, Texas today does not have zoning codes and has grown to be the fourth largest metropolitan area in the country. One can take over a gas station and live in it, for instance. Bureaucrats all over hate this with a passion.
I object based upon the idea that more freedom is usually a good thing for everyone in the long run. Where there is great freedom, there is usually a greater level of prosperity.
At any rate, here are some resources for finding out information about tiny houses.
This is a page that includes different myths associated with tiny houses and what municipalities can do.
A video on this link gives some information about tiny houses on wheels.
Various faqs about tiny houses.
Quite a few answers about tiny houses and zoning.
Tons of information, but here a lot of information about building codes with categories by state.
General information about the legality of tiny houses.
Information about tiny houses on wheels.
Article about size and the International Residential Code.
All about the codes.