Leasing Land to a Tiny Home

Tiny home living is one of the most affordable and environmentally sustainable lifestyles there are. 

As a result, the global number of tiny homes is growing by leaps and bounds. At the same time, finding a place to locate a tiny home can be a significant challenge. 

Landowners can provide tiny homeowners a place to settle by renting them a spot on their land, benefitting both from the rental income and from building community. Leasing can also be an opportunity to trade skills, such as tending the land or home care assistance, for rent. Be creative! Find a mutually beneficial agreement. 

To learn more of the benefits of tiny home communities, see HSN’s Tiny Home Communities Resource Page.

What to Know About Locating a Tiny House

Where you can put a tiny house in WASHINGTON depends on:

  • What standard it is built to (that is, the rules governing design and construction)
  • Who permits and inspects it (which depends on where it is built)
  • Local zoning codes (the rules for what types of houses go where)

What standard it’s built to and permitting the house itself is the tiny homeowner’s responsibility.  Landowners interested in leasing should be aware of what zoning codes apply and what permits might be needed for utilities, including tying down moveable tiny homes.  (See below for place-specific information on city and county permitting and zoning requirements.) 

This information sheet identifies which building standard applies by type of tiny house and their pros and cons
This information packet from the WA State Department of Labor and Industries identifies tiny house building and permitting requirements.

Learn More About Zoning and Permitting Requirements

Both the city of Port Townsend and Jefferson County allow tiny homes, although of different types (see the above information sheet for types of tiny homes).  In general, it is easier to locate tiny-homes-on-wheels in the county, although moveable tiny homes (both tiny homes on wheels and skid-built tiny homes) built to the IRC standard and permitted as modular homes are also allowed in the city.  Site built tiny homes (tiny homes on foundations) have the same permitting requirements as any other house or ADU but more land is required in the county (outside the urban growth area of Irondale-Hadlock) than in the city. 

In Jefferson County (excluding city limits)

Tiny-homes-on-wheels are not counted towards density maximums, while site-built tiny homes are. 

Moveable Tiny Homes

Site Built Tiny Homes

aka Tiny Homes on Wheels

aka Foundation Built Tiny Homes

Approval from Environmental Health for water and septic hook-ups is required.  Contact EH at 360-385-9444 for more information.

Building permit required from Dept. of Community Development.  Call 360 379 4450 for Customer Assistance or visit during walk-in hours (see brochure). 

See Brochure #16 for additional info.

See Brochure #19 for additional info.

In Port Townsend

Tiny homes built to IRC standards, either site built or modular homes, are allowed anywhere a conventional home is.  Site-built tiny houses are permitted and inspected by the City’s Building Services.  The forms can be found at:  https://cityofpt.us/development-services/page/building.  Moveable tiny homes are permitted by the state’s Department of Labor and Industries but the tie down and water and sewer hook-ups are permitted by the city. 

How to Connect

Word of mouth, friends-of-friends, and networking are all good ways to find out who might have land to lease or who might be looking for a space to place their tiny home.  Tell your friends and community you are looking and ask them to keep their ears open.

You can also place a notice that you are looking for a place to rent or a tenant in local media.  We suggest:

  • Housing Link: Housing Solutions Network hosts a web page connecting people seeking homes and people providing them.
  • Jefferson County, WA Rentals: This is a private Facebook group for home and rental searches.
  • Next Door: Next Door is a social app for neighbors where you can connect around housing needs and more.

 

Learn More About Land Leases

Land leases vary in their length of time. Some are up for renewal renew every month while others renew every year. Longer land leases are more suited to foundation-built tiny houses. 

There are a number of reasons to consider a land lease agreement (similar to a rental agreement) which outlines rules and obligations for the lessee when it comes to the use of the land.  Whether you decide to formalize the agreement, it is important to know each other’s expectations (the do’s and dont’s) when it comes to the use of the land. It’s helpful for both sides and getting it in writing can provide security. 

Need Additional Information?

This page will be developed over the Spring of 2022 to help guide land-owners with how they can lease land to tiny home owners, so continue checking back to see more additions and resources. 

Also, check out our Tiny Home Communities Resource Page for more information that is available about tiny homes and tiny home communities. 

If you have any questions or want to learn more, please reach out to the volunteers in our Tiny Homes Community HAT (Housing Action Team): at tiny-home-community-hat@googlegroups.com